ISAC calls for the government to defer all overpayment collection for social assistance recipients.
Social assistance recipients are under unprecedented pressure because of the ongoing pandemic and emergency measures. They have plunged deeper into debt, increased costs due to the pandemic, difficulty accessing services due to lockdown measures and deteriorated in their physical and mental health.
As a result of the pandemic, there are three reasons that an immediate and emergency deferral of collection of all social assistance overpayments is necessary.
- COVID-19 and lockdown measures have had a devastating effect on the physical and mental health of social assistance recipients.
- Social assistance recipients experience profound and increased hurdles in access to services, food and housing.
- The pandemic has caused the financial situation of social assistance recipients to worsen, as a result of increased costs of living.
Social assistance is a safety net for people who fall on difficult times. Never has that help been more imperative than it is now, during a global pandemic. Yet, at a time when support from social assistance is most needed, the program has doubled the rate of overpayment recovery in many cases. The current prescribed 10% rate of recovery of many new overpayments has compounded and exacerbated the hardship recipients are already facing due to the pandemic.
Information about the ODSP overpayments is available on the Ministry’s website here:
Information about OW overpayments is available on the Ministry’s website here:
More information about OW/ODSP overpayments is available on Steps to Justice here: https://stepstojustice.ca/questions/income-assistance/what-can-i-do-about-odsp-overpayment/
A McMaster Study found that social assistance recipients are disproportionally experiencing economic and social effects of the pandemic including increased debt, less access to services, deteriorating health, difficulty navigating the digital world and increased costs. The study is available here: https://labourstudies.mcmaster.ca/research/covid19-impact