Social assistance recipients can’t wait any longer.
In July 2022, ISAC, along with over 250 social service providers and community organizations, called on Premier Ford to double social assistance rates ahead of the August 2022 Budget. Read the open letter here (PDF).
The government’s response? A 5% increase to ODSP base rates only (amounting to about $60 more per month for individuals), despite reporting billions of surplus funds.
OW rates received a 0% increase. Individuals on OW receive $733 a month, a rate that has remained stagnant since 2018, even while inflation has made the cost of living much more expensive. In October 2022, ISAC and the ODSP Action Coalition wrote a Toronto Star Op-Ed about how Premier Ford’s social assistance math doesn’t add up.
In November 2022, the province made more changes to ODSP, indexing the rate to inflation starting in July 2023, and increasing the earnings exemption for individuals. These small changes were not applied to OW recipients either, and come with their own problems for ODSP recipients, especially those who can’t work, or who have spouses who are not receiving ODSP.
OW and ODSP recipients live on incomes that are up to 60% below the poverty line. This is not acceptable!
Incremental, unpredictable, small bumps to social assistance rates are not going to bring social assistance incomes anywhere close to a liveable rate. The longer people living on social assistance rates are forced to wait for rate increases, the more they will be forced to suffer food insecurity, ill health effects, housing precarity, risk of abuse, and increased vulnerability to violence.
What you can do right now:
Write to your MPP
Send the letter to your MPP and let them know that you support doubling the rates.
You can find your MPP and their contact info using your postal code here: https://www.ola.org/en/members
Join the ODSP Action Coalition
The ODSP Action Coalition is led by ODSP recipients and meets regularly to plan advocacy and community actions. Check out the Coalition’s website and Twitter, or email email@example.com to find out more about membership.
Invite ISAC to speak to your community group or class about the Double the Rates Campaign
ISAC staff can speak to the history of social assistance rates, policy advocacy methods, or getting your community members organized and mobilized to advocate for change.
Join us at our next Double the Rates coalition meeting
No upcoming meeting is scheduled at the moment. To get on the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Check back here for updates, or follow us on Twitter.