Today’s recommendations by the Commission for the Review of
Social Assistance to download the Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP) and
integrate it into Ontario Works will leave thousands of vulnerable Ontarians
without long-term income support and force people with disabilities into
precarious, low-wage jobs says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that these
recommendations are a disaster for people with disabilities and are a giant step
backwards in improving services.
“When you look at these recommendations, it is plain that the
only goal here is to take money out of the pockets of those who are the most
vulnerable and can least afford it,” Thomas said.
The Commission’s recommendations include that ODSP services be
individually controlled by municipalities who could set their own client asset
limits, and puts an emphasis on forcing persons with disabilities into what will
likely be minimum-wage, part-time jobs.
“What we are going to wind up with is a mishmash of services and
rates across Ontario with no central oversight and a system that cares less
about the individual and more about budgets,” Thomas said. “It will also become
another bureaucrat job-hiring program as each municipality puts in their own
management structure. This is Local Health Integration Networks all over again.”
Thomas is asking the government to set aside these
recommendations and continue the current overhaul of ODSP that was designed to
end delays and provide long-term seamless support to clients.
“The Ontario government must retain provincial control of a
program that cares for our most at-risk people,” Thomas said. “Duplicating
services and bureaucracies across the province will only result in the loss of
these services for those who desperately need them.”
Roxanne Barnes, Chair, OPSEU Central Enforcement and Renewal Committee:
416-809-2791 Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931
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