May 22, 2013

Removing barriers and increasing opportunities for everyone to participate in the workforce contributes to a stronger economy and supports the government’s efforts to build a fair society. The 2013 Budget includes measures to help people who rely on social assistance by:

Supporting employment

  • Enabling people who receive Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits to earn up to $200 through employment each month without reducing their social assistance support. This would make it easier for people who face barriers to gain experience that could lead to full-time employment.
  • Working with partners on employment-related benefits to develop a simpler, more effective and flexible structure to help social assistance recipients find jobs.
  • Removing barriers for Ontario Works recipients who want to pursue self-employment by treating such income the same as employment earnings.
  • Streamlining rules so that more high school students in families receiving social assistance are able to keep their earnings from part-time jobs.
  • Engaging First Nation communities, municipalities and employment service providers on better ways to connect social assistance recipients with services provided by Employment Ontario.
  • Establishing a Partnership Council on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities to encourage more businesses to hire people with disabilities.

Improving financial security

The government would also support social assistance recipients by improving their financial security, so they can find greater independence and stability. Proposed measures include:

  • Giving Ontario Works recipients and persons with disabilities receiving ODSP a one per cent increase in their benefits.
  • Single Ontario Works adults without children would also receive an additional top-up of 
    $14 per month. The top-up and the one per cent increase mean an additional $20 per month, or an increase of more than three per cent. If the Budget is passed and proclaimed, benefit rate increases would take effect in September 2013 for ODSP and in October 2013 for Ontario Works.
  • Increasing the Ontario Works asset limits to $2,500 for singles and $5,000 for couples to allow recipients to seek help earlier and give them a chance to keep a small financial cushion that would make it easier for them to transition back to work.
  • Developing a plan to better promote Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) to people with disabilities, which are now exempted from impacting eligibility for social assistance and other income-tested benefits.
  • Introducing a simplified process for accessing and administering medical travel supports for social assistance recipients living in Northern Ontario.

Other measures

The government is deepening its commitment to reducing poverty by developing the second Poverty Reduction Strategy, under the leadership of a new Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction. Other measures include:

  • As announced in the 2012 Budget, the government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Ontario Child Benefit to $1,210 per eligible child in July 2013 and to $1,310 in July 2014. Together, these increases will extend benefits to an additional 90,000 children.
  • Developing a comprehensive Youth Jobs Strategy. The strategy would promote employment opportunities, entrepreneurship and innovation for youth in Ontario, including youth with disabilities.

Media inquiries

Rob Newman, Minister’s Office, 416-325-5219
Charlotte Wilkinson, Communications, 416-325-5760