Being sick and disabled in Canada is hard work.
The stress and constant worry ... the uncertainty from day to day, month to month ... Please fix this Ontario. Our quality of life matters.
Below is an excerpt from the budget. Seems to differ a lot to the final release of the social assistance review, but the themes are mentioned here. But a couple of things have been announced. The Community Start UP and Maintenance Benefit will be removed and replaced with some form of "My Benefits". Rates are frozen.
The full text of the 2012 Budget is now available at http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2012/papers_all.html.
Here is excerpt related to social assistance and OCB:
Strong Children’s and Social Services
Protecting social services is smart public policy that can help people find and maintain employment, contribute to improving the health of low-income individuals and families, and subsequently reduce inequality. Realizing these benefits reduces pressures on other government program expense areas.
The government is taking important steps to ensure that the supports and social services Ontarians need are sustainable over the long term. Expense in the children’s and social services sector is projected to grow by an average annual rate of 2.7 per cent per year over the medium term. This funding will support the ongoing transformation of services.
The majority of expenditure in the sector is social assistance — the safety net that many Ontarians turned to during the recent recession. Between 2008–09 and 2012–13, social assistance program expenditures will have increased by nearly $2 billion, or 33 per cent, to provide support to over 100,000 additional clients and their families. This growth is not sustainable.
The government has asked the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario to make recommendations to transform the social assistance system to improve outcomes for clients, and ensure its long-term viability.
Moving forward, the government will:
· build on the advice of the Commission to reform the social assistance system to make it more sustainable by reducing barriers and ensuring that people who are able to work have access to the right supports to find employment while meeting employers’ needs for skilled workers;
· also informed by the Commission’s recommendations, explore opportunities to integrate Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works employment services with Employment Ontario, to avoid overlap and gaps in services and reduce administrative inefficiencies; and
· transform the delivery of income-based benefit programs according to a framework that includes:
o more efficient program administration and delivery;
o seeking to reduce duplication between levels of government;
o introducing a My Benefits Account to allow simplified access to multiple income-based benefits and programs; and
o modernizing privacy frameworks to support program transformation.
The government will also take specific action beginning in 2012–13 to moderate growth in social assistance expense:
· The Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit and Home Repair Benefit will be removed from social assistance, with housing supports delivered as part of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. Providing low-income individuals and families with access to supports locally without having to be eligible for social assistance will contribute to a lower “welfare wall.” In addition, providing fewer benefits within social assistance will help simplify rules and support program integrity and long-term sustainability.
· The government is not proposing any increases to social assistance rates at this time.
Ontario Child Benefit
The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) is a key component of the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The OCB has been particularly effective in allowing parents to continue to work or pursue employment without fear of losing their children’s benefits. The OCB has also contributed to lifting 20,000 children out of poverty.
The government remains committed to reducing poverty. To continue building on these positive results in a fiscally sustainable way, the government will increase the maximum annual OCB payment from $1,100 to $1,210 in July 2013. The maximum annual payment will be increased again to $1,310 in July 2014. Together, these increases will extend benefits to an additional 90,000 children in 46,000 families. This is a slower increase to the OCB than the government hoped for or planned.
Expanding Opportunities in Developmental Services
The government is continuing to transform the developmental disabilities services sector, including integrating Special Services at Home with the Passport program in the spring of 2012.
The government plans to shift to a more strategic approach to developmental services funding. It is examining the best way to give individuals and families more choice and encourage greater opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to participate fully in their communities while encouraging greater efficiencies in the sector.
http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2012/papers_all.html Everyone, just go to the budget link online. This forum does not allow formatting so it gets confusion. The link is available at the beginning of this post.