In November of last year, Minister MacLeod announced her intention to change the definition of disability that her ministry uses to determine if a low-income person is eligible for ODSP benefits.
This is just one of a number of other changes that were announced at that time.
Minister MacLeod’s proposal would make the definition more like federal disability income programs, such as CPP-D, which are much more stringent.
If this change goes through, fewer low-income people with disabilities will be able to qualify for ODSP in the future. When they apply, they will be denied and will have to rely on the much lower incomes and more stringent rules of Ontario Works.
This change will be especially bad for people with a number of different episodic disabilities, like multiple sclerosis, mental health disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, migraine, and some forms of cancer.
Late last year we created a backgrounder to explain the proposed change and what it will mean: http://incomesecurity.org/public-education/changing-the-odsp-definition-of-disability/.
Since then we have been working with other legal clinics, health care providers, and disability advocates to fight back against this misguided and punitive change.
The Ministry is now holding consultations about the change to the ODSP definition of disability. But these consultations are by invitation only.
So take some time now to let the Minister know this is a bad proposal that will hurt low income people with disabilities in Ontario.
If you are a health care provider, social worker, or member of a community group, click here to see what you can do to speak out against this misguided change: https://defenddisability.ca/action/
Sign this online petition to urge Minister MacLeod to leave the ODSP definition of disability as it is: https://rnao.ca/policy/action-alerts/Help_stop_changes_to_ODSP
Make sure to share this information with your networks.
More information about this issue and what’s at stake is here: https://defenddisability.ca/about/
Read about how this will impact real people in Dr. Gary Bloch’s Toronto Star opinion piece here: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2019/04/08/changing-disability-definition-a-dangerous-mistake-that-will-harm-thousands.html