September 2016

5.1 Employment Supports Funding

Summary of Directive

To outline the ODSP employment supports outcomes-based funding framework.

Legislative Authority

Sections 48 (1), 48 (2) of the ODSP Act

Intent of Policy

To provide eligible clients with access to the employment supports needed to assist them in preparing for, obtaining and retaining sustainable, competitive employment by providing funding to service providers for job placement and retention services and supports.

To outline how payments to service providers for job placement (including job placement milestones), job retention and advancement, and exceptional work-related disability supports are determined.

Application of Policy

Contracting with Service Providers

ODSP employment supports is delivered across the province through a network of third party service providers. Regional offices are responsible for developing and negotiating funding agreements and contracting with community-based service providers to provide employment supports to eligible clients.

Contracts and renewals are based on outcomes achieved for competitive job placement (including job placement milestones) and retention targets.

In reviewing contract proposals from both current and new service providers, regional offices will consider the following key criteria:

  • Projections/expectations for current and future service levels;
  • Expertise and/or demonstrated history of providing employment supports to and obtaining successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities;
  • Strong track record of providing excellent customer service;
  • Demonstrated compliance with accessibility laws and standards to ensure that employment supports are barrier free;
  • Willingness to work/merge with other agencies or service providers to provide tailored services to meet clients’ unique needs;
  • Demonstration of a cost effective delivery model, including cost saving measures such as partnering with other service providers; and
  • Outreach, communications, and marketing to clients and employers.

Service provider proposals must include the expectation/assurance that they will work with other service providers and organizations in the community that provide training and employment services to ensure that each client receives the services needed for him/her to succeed in reaching their employment goal.

Other programs such as the federal government's Opportunities Fund, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development’s Employment Ontario may provide training or specialized services to best support the clients’ employment pathways. By maintaining and fostering these linkages, clients are provided the best possible services from the appropriate source while eliminating possible duplication of services and/or funding.

Targets for Job Placement and Retention

Job placement targets are established annually for each regional office, based on the previous year's performance. Regional offices will negotiate job placement, job placement milestones and job retention targets with individual service providers based on outcomes achieved the previous year, to meet the overall regional office target. While funding will flow monthly to service providers (i.e., in advance of outcomes achieved), the funding is earned when the service provider is successful in meeting their agreed upon targets.

To promote a focus on the placement of clients in competitive, sustainable employment, a service provider can only earn up to a maximum of two times the number of job placement milestones as their negotiated job placement target. For example, if the service provider's annual job placement target is 50, the maximum number of job placement milestone payments the service provider can earn in that fiscal year is 100.

Service providers will provide reports to regional offices, as requested, to demonstrate how successful they have been in achieving job placement targets, including job placement milestones.

Where a service provider does not meet the established targets at fiscal year-end, the Regional Office may:

  • accept the service provider’s proposed plan to achieve their targets in the following year,
  • renegotiate the service contract for reduced targets and adjust the funding levels accordingly, or
  • end the funding relationship with the service provider.

Where the service provider is expecting to exceed their job placement and retention targets the regional office may re-negotiate the service contract in-year and adjust the annual target maximum accordingly, if funding is available.

In situations where the job placement target is re-negotiated within the fiscal year, the annual milestone maximum will be adjusted to reflect the new job placement target.

(Note: The adjusted maximum allowable job placement milestone amount cannot be less than the number of job placement milestone payments the service provider has already earned for the fiscal year.)

Funding Components and Payments

The following funding components will be used as the basis for negotiating service contracts/funding agreements with service providers:

  • Job placement milestones;
  • Job placements for employment and self-employment;
  • Job retention and advancement;
  • Completion of a business plan for clients pursuing self-employment;
  • Exceptional work-related disability supports; and
  • Employment projects (optional).

Funding for job placement milestones, job placement, and job retention and advancement will be negotiated based on the service provider’s targets.

Funding for exceptional work-related disability supports will be negotiated based on the expected number of clients to be served by a service provider who may require these types of supports and the nature/estimated cost of supports.

ODSP employment supports service providers who have service contracts/funding agreements to provide job placement and retention may not charge employment supports applicants/clients for services and supports provided.

6 Week Job Placement Milestone Payment

Service providers earn $1,000 when a client has been placed in competitive employment earning minimum wage or better for 6 cumulative weeks.

Service providers will earn the 6 week job placement milestone payment for clients who achieve the 6 week milestone, regardless of whether the client is subsequently able to accumulate an additional 7 weeks of employment to reach the 13 week placement payment criteria.

13 Week Job Placement Payment

Service providers earn $6,000 when a client has been placed in competitive employment earning minimum wage or better for 13 cumulative weeks (including the 6 weeks that qualify for the 6 week job placement milestone payment).
Service providers will not receive job placement funding for participants placed in employment through Employment Projects as these projects are funded differently.

Note: job placements as a result of participation in an employment project count towards achievement of regional job placement targets if they meet the required criteria.

(See Directive 5.2: Employment Projects Funding)

Payment for Job Retention and Advancement

Clients whose employment goal is retention or advancement should have this documented in their employment plan, along with any retention or advancement activities or supports provided.

Job Retention: Clients in Receipt of ODSP Income Support

For employment supports clients who are also ODSP income support recipients, the job retention payment may be earned for each month that the client is competitively employed and has earnings for up to 33 consecutive months following the 13 cumulative week job placement. The total number of job retention payments cannot exceed 33.

For the first 15 months retention payments are equal to the greater of:

  • 60% of the client’s chargeable earnings per month of competitive employment, or
  • $250 per month of employment where the client receives earnings.

For the remaining 18 months, retention payments are equal to 60% of the client’s chargeable earnings per month of competitive employment where the client has earnings.

For the purposes of calculating retention payments in ODSP employment supports, chargeable earnings are determined by applying a 50% earnings exemption to net earnings (gross earnings less mandatory payroll deductions) and deducting eligible childcare and disability-related expenses.

(See the Service Delivery and Funding Guidelines for ODSP Employment Supports and ODSP Income Support Directive 5.3 - Deductions from Employment and Training Income, for examples of calculating chargeable earnings)

The job retention payment also covers:

  • Job advancement for employed clients who, with the support of the service provider, have obtained an increase in earnings, a promotion within the workplace or a move to another job that requires a higher skill set or a greater level of responsibility.
  • Job retention for employed clients at risk of losing their job and who require job retention supports from the service provider to help keep their job.

Payment for Job Retention for Secondary and Post-Secondary Students with Exempted Earnings

For ODSP income support recipients attending secondary or postsecondary education full-time and working, the employment earnings (including self-employment and farm income) and amounts paid under a training program are exempt as income.

(For further information, please refer to ODSP Income Support Directive 5.18 Exemption of Earnings of Secondary and Post-Secondary Students).

For ODSP recipients in this situation who require retention supports, service providers will receive $250 per month of employment where the client has earnings for up to 15 cumulative months at any time during the 33 month retention period.

For any months that the client has earnings and is not in secondary or postsecondary education full-time, the service provider will receive retention payments based on the regular formula for calculating job retention for income support clients as described above. Service providers are expected to continue to provide job retention supports for the full 33 month retention period, if required.

For clients not in receipt of ODSP income support, retention funding is provided at $250 per month of employment where the client has earnings for a maximum of 15 consecutive months, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in postsecondary education.   Enrollment in postsecondary education during the 15 month retention period for clients not in receipt of ODSP income support does not trigger a new 15 month retention period to begin.

Job Retention: Clients Not in Receipt of ODSP Income Support

For employment supports clients who are not ODSP income support recipients, the job retention payment is $250 per month that the client is employed and has earnings during the 15 consecutive months following the 13 week job placement payment. The total number of job retention payments cannot exceed 15.

Job Placement and Retention Payments for Clients Pursuing Self-Employment

Service providers may receive funding to provide supports required by eligible clients whose competitive employment goal is self-employment.

Funding for self-employment placement and retention is calculated in a similar manner to payments for clients who are employed in regular employment. Regional offices will negotiate service agreements with service providers who assist clients to become and stay self-employed based on targets for placement and retention.

Business Plan Payment

For clients with a goal of self-employment, service providers will earn a payment of $600 for assisting clients to complete a self-employment business plan, which is separate and distinct from an employment plan.

Job Placement Payments for Self-Employed Clients

A $1,000 milestone payment is earned when the client has started his or her business and generated a cumulative net business income of $400.

The remainder of the self-employment placement payment ($5,400) is earned when the client has generated a cumulative net business income of $800 or more.

Clients are required to submit information on their business income and expenses to their service provider on a monthly basis to calculate net business income.

(See the Service Delivery and Funding Guidelines for ODSP Employment Supports and ODSP Income Support Directive 5.4 - Treatment of Self-Employment Income, for details on calculating net business income).

Job Retention Payments for Self-Employed Clients

Once the self-employment job placement payments have been earned, self-employment retention payments can be earned for each month the client generates net positive business income.

Clients in Receipt of ODSP Income Support

Retention payments are payable for up to 33 consecutive months after job placement (i.e., when the client has generated a cumulative net business income of $800 or more) each month the client generates net positives business income.

For the first 15 months retention payments are equal to the greater of:

  • 60% of the chargeable net income from the business, or
  • $250 per month that the client generates net positive business income.

For the remaining 18 months, retention payments are equal to 60% of the chargeable net income from the business where the client generates net positive business income.

For the purposes of calculating retention payments in ODSP employment supports, chargeable net business income is determined by applying a 50% earnings exemption to net business income (gross business income less allowable business expenses) and deducting eligible childcare and disability-related expenses.

Clients Not in Receipt of ODSP Income Support

For employment supports clients who are not ODSP income support recipients, the job retention payment is $250 per month that the client is generating net positive business income during the 15 consecutive months following self-employment placement. The total number of job retention payments cannot exceed 15.

Retention Payments for Employed Applicants

Employment supports can be provided to new applicants who are employed and:

  • are at risk of losing their job and who require job retention supports to keep their job, or
  • require job advancement service(s).

A new applicant is someone who is not currently receiving job retention supports from a service provider.
Service providers who provide support to an already employed person to help them keep his/her job or to help them advance in their job are eligible to earn job retention funding only.

For applicants at risk of losing their job, funding for retention begins once the applicant has been accepted into service by the service provider. Retention payments are payable to service providers based on the same retention funding parameters for income support recipients and for those not in receipt of income support.

For applicants seeking job advancement service, funding for retention begins once job advancement has been achieved. Retention payments are payable to service providers based on the same retention funding parameters for income support recipients and for those not in receipt of income support.

If it is determined that the person is unable to keep his/her current job (for example, the disability precludes staying in the job and the job cannot be modified to meet the person’s needs), a new job placement may be necessary. In this situation, the service provider is eligible to receive the job placement payment upon successful placement of the client into competitive employment and job retention payments thereafter.

Before any services are provided, ODSP staff will discuss funding for employed applicants with the service provider on a case by case basis to determine the appropriate payments. Given the need to act quickly to help the applicant keep their job, these applications should be expedited as quickly as possible.

Note: this situation is distinct from a client who is receiving job retention services from a service provider but is unable to continue working in that job. In that case, the service provider will continue to assist the client in obtaining a new placement as part of the job retention and advancement services being provided.

Applicants Requiring One-time Supports to Accept or Keep a Job

Applicants who require a one-time support (e.g., hearing aid, work equipment/ tools, license fees, etc.) to keep their job or accept a firm job offer do not need to select a service provider if no other supports are required.

If the applicant is an ODSP income support recipient, they should first access the Employment and Training Start-Up Benefit (ESUB) through their ODSP caseworker, if eligible. The client may also contact the Assistive Devices Program or the employer may be able to provide support, as per the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

(See 4.2 Job Retention and Advancement) for more information about the Assistive Devices Program and the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code.)

If the person is not eligible for ESUB or if the person is not an ODSP income support recipient, eligibility for employment supports should be determined. If eligible, ministry staff may provide funding directly to the client to purchase the required item or assist them to access the support from an approved vendor.

These costs will be managed within the regional office’s allotment for ODSP employment supports. If the client requires additional supports to maintain employment, ministry staff should determine whether the client should select a service provider to receive job retention supports.

Payment for Exceptional Work-Related Disability Supports

To provide clients with disability-related employment barriers access to required supports, funding is available for exceptional work-related disability supports.

Each fiscal year, the regional offices will negotiate an amount with the service provider for exceptional work-related disability supports based on an estimated number of clients who may need these supports and the average amount of funding required by those clients.

Funding for exceptional work-related disability supports will be flowed monthly to the service provider in advance of the supports being provided as an “envelope” rather than on a client by client basis. This provides additional flexibility to service providers to meet the needs of their clients.

Funding to service providers for exceptional work-related disability supports is expenditure-based. Unspent funding is subject to recovery each year.

Service providers are required to maintain records of goods and services provided as exceptional work-related disability supports and submit reports and proof of expenditures, as requested by the regional office.

Incentive Payment for Exceeding Targets

Prior to the end of the fiscal year, service providers who reach or exceed their job placement targets for employment and self-employment can have service contracts renegotiated if there is available funding within the regional office allocation. Where targets have not been renegotiated in-year, service providers who exceed job placement targets will receive an incentive payment.

Only the job placement targets for employment and self-employment qualify for incentive payments if placement targets are exceeded (i.e., the 13 cumulative week job placement target and the cumulative net business income of $800 or more self-employment placement target). Milestone payments (i.e., the 6 cumulative week milestone, completion of a business plan, and the cumulative net business income of $400 milestone) do not qualify for incentive payments if targets are exceeded.

Where a service provider exceeds the negotiated targets for job placement at year end, and surplus funding from unearned "job retention" or "exceptional work-related disability supports" is available within the current service contract, this surplus will be applied to cover the additional job placement achievement.

Where this surplus is insufficient, a portion of the ODSP income support savings achieved as a result of placing and retaining clients in jobs will be paid to service providers as a bonus. The payment will be calculated at year-end based on the performance of the service provider and is not included in the funding agreement.

The actual payment will be determined at year-end and will equal the lesser of:

  • 50% of actual ODSP income support savings as a result of chargeable earnings achieved from all of the ODSP income support clients the service provider has placed, retained and/or advanced in employment; or,
  • $2,500 per client placed above the negotiated placement target.

Service providers who exceed negotiated job retention targets at year-end will also receive compensation. Where a service provider's job retention achievement exceeds the amount available in the approved service contract, ODSP employment supports will provide funding of up to a maximum of 15% of the annual total contracted amount for job retention, using funds from the following year's allocation.

Related Directives

4.1 Job Development and Placement
4.2 Job Retention and Advancement
4.3 Exceptional Work-Related Disability Supports
4.4 Self-Employment Supports
5.2 Employment Projects Funding
6.4 Performance Measures and Information Reporting

ODSP Income Support Directives

5.3 Deductions from Employment and Training Income
5.4 Treatment of Self-Employment Income
5.18 Exemption of Earnings of Post-Secondary Students