Archive for the ‘Social Security Policy Context’ Category

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Young Barrie widow elated to see end of age discrimination

Monday, January 14th, 2019

… the legislation said if a person is under 35 and has no children, they do not qualify for a spouse’s CPP. The belief was a young widow without children could adapt financially to a loss… And now, she’s received a letter from the government asking her to reapply for CPP. “It said effective Jan. 1 you are no longer required to have dependent children”… The government estimates it will affect 40,000 people.

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Why we need to fix Canada’s new measure of poverty

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

… some vital daily costs don’t even make it into the basket; some, like child care or prescription medication, are designated as “out of pocket” expenses, not basic needs… The MBM may help Statistics Canada to show changes in poverty on tables and spreadsheets, but in its current form, it could harm the very people who live in poverty. That is because service providers across the country will use the cost of the basket, with all its flaws, to measure eligibility, meaning people may not qualify for services they need.

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Making sense of Ontario’s social assistance reforms

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Under 2018 budget measures, since scrapped by the Ford government, those on OW would have been able to work themselves well out of poverty before losing their benefits. But under the changes, a person on OW will still be almost $6,000 below the poverty line when their earnings make them ineligible for welfare… Currently, a single person on ODSP can work himself out of poverty while still receiving social assistance, but under the changes would be almost $4,000 short when becoming ineligible.

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Ontario’s social assistance reforms hint at direction, offer few specifics, and have problematic implications

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

What was entirely missing from the government’s announcement was any rationale for this change in incentive structure. We’re left to wonder whether there is any good reason to change the pattern of incentives so those working fewer hours are better off, but those working more hours are worse off… Only the tiniest fraction of ODSP recipients could possibly ever work under the proposed new definition, so the higher exemption levels will likely apply to almost no one.

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There are danger signs in Ford government plans to reform welfare

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

The biggest change is redefining disability to more closely align with federal guidelines… This change will make it harder for new people to qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program. And the obvious underlying suggestion is that there are people on the program now who shouldn’t be… once the changes take effect, every person who can be ruled ineligible for disability amounts to hundreds of dollars in monthly savings to the government

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With welfare reform plan, Ontario PCs identify an area ripe for change

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

A single person on welfare gets up to $733 a month and a person on disability support receives $1,169. These are not sums on which a person can live. The Liberals had promised three-per-cent increases in both payments for three years. The PCs have increased them 1.5 per cent and have no commitment to do more. Boil it down and what we are left with is an assertion that the PCs can make the welfare bureaucracy more effective, combined with spending that will benefit the poor less than what the Liberals would have done. That’s not a lot to cheer about.

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New federal law creates official definition of poverty line

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

The six-page bill sets targets of reducing poverty to 20 per cent below 2015 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent below 2015 levels by 2030. The target is based on a measure that lists 4.2 million Canadians as low income in 2015. Until now, discussions of poverty reduction have focused on three different ways of measuring poverty. Tuesday’s bill selects one of those – the market-basket measure – as Canada’s official poverty line… A third element of the legislation creates a national advisory council on poverty.

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What Ontario can learn from the UK on reforming social assistance

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Over the past decade, the UK embarked on a series of welfare reforms with similar aims — to cut red tape while getting more long-term welfare recipients into sustained work. This paper summarizes the assessments of independent reviewers and auditors on the impact of those reforms and their value for money. It aims to identify lessons for Ontario as it pursues the same goals.

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Open Letter to Minister MacLeod: Five Principles for the 100-day Review

Monday, October 29th, 2018

We agree that Ontario’s social assistance system doesn’t work, and that ensuring stability and providing support are what’s needed in a new system. Despite some small positive recent changes, the system is fundamentally the same as it was twenty years ago. It is based on outdated thinking and outmoded ideas about what the programs are supposed to achieve. Its continuing inadequacy of benefits and focus on punitive and coercive rules is counterproductive and simply traps people in poverty instead of providing the supports they need to stabilize and move forward in their lives.

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Cancellation of Ontario’s basic income project sparks global outrage

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

In Canada, all federally-funded social science research involving human subjects must adhere to strict ethical standards outlined in a 218-page policy document… The policy mandates respect for human dignity through three core principles of “respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice”… Provincial lawyers may have inserted “escape clauses” in contracts Ontario’s basic income participants signed, but they can’t override basic ethics

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