1. What changes to social assistance are proposed in the 2013 Budget?

The government is investing more than $400 million over 3 years to:

  • Increase support by 1 per cent for families receiving Ontario Works and people with disabilities who rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
  • Provide single adults without children receiving Ontario Works with a top-up of $14 a month, for a total increase of $20 a month.
  • Allow all social assistance clients to earn up to $200 a month without affecting the level of their assistance. This will allow them to gain a foothold in the labour force, improve their incomes and move toward greater independence.
  • Promote financial independence and security among social assistance clients by increasing the amount of assets they are allowed to retain, such as bank savings or a car, so clients won’t have to give up all they own before they can get help.
  • Simplify the rules on self-employment earnings and treatment of gifts.
  • Enhance flexibility in how assets are treated in First Nation and remote northern communities to reflect their unique realities.
  • Establish a Partnership Council on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities to champion hiring people with disabilities.

2. When will these changes go into effect?

The proposed changes to earnings exemption and asset rules would take effect in September 2013. The proposed rate increases would take effect September 1, 2013 for ODSP and October 1, 2013 for Ontario Works.

It takes time for the ministry to make the necessary preparations -- with our staff, delivery agents and technology -- to ensure the changes roll out smoothly.

Further details will be communicated to clients and on this website as soon as they are available.

3. Why is the government making these changes?

Reforming Social Assistance is one key part of the government’s commitment to greater economic opportunities and fairness for all Ontarians.

We are starting with an investment that focuses on improving incomes, promoting better employment outcomes and increasing fairness.

4. What about the other recommendations made by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario?

Social assistance is a complex system affecting almost 900,000 vulnerable adults and children every day. The government is taking a first step in beginning to address adequacy and increase fairness in the system, and overall investment in social assistance will set the foundation for continuing reform and future improvements.

The government looks forward to engaging clients and our partners to determine how best to improve social assistance, as well as about the choices required for a long-term and sustainable plan for reform.