Ontario is taking steps to improve the lives of people who rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program. Here’s a summary of improvements made throughout 2017.

Increasing rates

  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates increased by two per cent starting in September 2017.

Helping people in remote and northern communities

  • The Remote Communities Allowance will increase by $50 for the first recipient and $25 for each additional family member starting in September 2017. This allowance provides extra support for people living in remote and northern communities to help address the unique challenges they face.

Increasing income and asset exemptions

  • As of December 13, 2017, arts grants, with the exception of any funds provided for living costs, are exempt as income and assets for ODSP. The portion of an arts grant that is intended to cover living costs is not exempt. Grant amounts intended to help with living costs will be spread across the time period the grant is intended to cover.
  • As of December 13, 2017, Indigenous Culture Fund grants are fully exempt as income and assets for ODSP.
  • Starting in October 2017, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disabled Contributor's Child Benefit and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) Pension for a Disabled Person's Child are fully exempt from ODSP. These benefits provide monthly financial support for the eligible child of a person receiving CPP/QPP disability benefits.
  • As of September 1, 2017, the government raised asset limits for cash and other assets:
    • from $5,000 to $40,000 for single individuals
    • from $7,500 to $50,000 for couples
  • As of September 1, 2017, the income exemption for cash gifts increased from $6,000 to $10,000.
  • As of September 1, 2017, the monthly maximum deduction for disability-related employment expenses increased from $300 to $1,000 to recognize unique costs associated with working.
  • As of August 1, 2017, compensation awards for pain and suffering for individuals receiving ODSP are fully exempt as income.
  • Effective January 1, 2017, the government ended the “clawback” of child support from ODSP payments, and is exempting the full amount of the new Canada Child Benefit for families receiving ODSP.

Making ODSP work better for people

  • As of September 1, 2017, former ODSP applicants who have been adjudicated and found to be a person with a disability - but were found ineligible for other reasons - can reapply without being re-adjudicated.
  • Effective September 1, 2017, changes also allow former ODSP recipients to be re-instated back into the program regardless of the reason they exited.
  • Starting September 1, 2017, batteries and repairs for mobility devices were added to the list of benefits provided through ODSP under the Transitional Health Benefit, which provides drug, dental and vision care benefits if individuals are no longer eligible for ODSP as a result of income from employment.
  • The ODSP medical review process was simplified in April 2017 with the introduction of a new form that is easier for ODSP recipients and health care professionals to complete. Previously, the medical review process used the same form required for a person’s initial ODSP eligibility assessment. Now, if the recipient’s medical condition has not improved and is not expected to improve, they will continue to receive ODSP support provided the person continues to meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • The government increased the ODSP Trusteeship budget by $300,000 in 2017-18 to ensure vulnerable individuals receiving social assistance can get support from community-based agencies that can act as their trustees for ODSP purposes.
  • The ODSP employment supports budget increased by $2 million annually starting in 2017-18 to ensure service offerings can continue to meet demand and help persons with disabilities reach their employment goals.
  • Medical and business travel kilometre rates in ODSP were increased in January 2017 to 41¢/km in Northern Ontario and 40¢/km in the south. The new rates apply to recipients who drive to medical appointments using personal vehicles or who use transportation agencies that do not set their own travel rates. For business travel, the new rates apply to recipients who are self-employed and use a personal vehicle for business travel.