The Ontario budget will have a large negative impact on people on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Direct benefits to people on OW and ODSP are being cut by the largest amount since the current government was elected in 2003.
The Budget process was different than usual this year, because the Government holds a minority of seats in the Ontario Legislature and had to negotiate with the Opposition to get support for the Budget.
Here’s a chronology of what happened this year, and what ISAC did to respond.
We appeared before the Minister of Finance at his annual Pre-Budget Roundtable consultations. We told him that tax cuts and austerity weren’t working, and that 2012 should be the year to significantly increase the incomes of people on OW and ODSP:
Signs were pointing to big cuts coming in Budget 2012, so we circulated an e-action from our partner, Ontario Campaign 2000, to call on the Government to end the austerity agenda and find ways to increase revenues to pay for the important programs and services we all need:
Just before the Liberals presented their budget, they announced in the media that OW and ODSP rates would be frozen this year, and that the implementation of the maximum Ontario Child Benefit would be delayed by a year. We responded:
On the same day that the Liberals presented their budget in the Ontario legislature, we created and circulated an initial analysis:
We joined with our sister clinic, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), to make an oral submission to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs about the negative impacts of Budget 2012:
We also launched a campaign with ACTO to save the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit and the Home Repairs Benefit.
We encouraged people to have their say on the Budget by providing feedback to both the Government and the Opposition:
After the NDP and the Liberals negotiated a deal around the Budget, we made comment in the Toronto Star on April 24, 2012:
And, after the dust settled from these negotiations, we circulated a final, updated analysis of the impact of the Budget on people on OW and ODSP: