On Wednesday, the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario released its final report called Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario. Chaired by former United Way CEO Frances Lankin and former Statistics Canada head Munir Sheik, the Commission made 104 recommendations intended to improve the system. The Commission’s work is the most significant review of the social assistance system in more than two decades.
Daily Bread’s executive director Gail Nyberg chaired the 11 member committee that was set up in December 2009 to make recommendations on the structure and mandate of the review. As such, Daily Bread has been following the Commission’s work very closely.
We applaud the Commission for recognizing the growing consensus in the community regarding urgent issues for reform. These include: reorienting social assistance from a focus on surveillance to offering real supports; improving the availability and quality of employment services; fairer treatment of child support; and concrete steps that lead to increases in incomes, such as rate increases, a new housing benefit and changes in assets limits. The vision of a new system in which no one is left behind, especially people with disabilities, is one in which we share.
Daily Bread will continue to play a leading role in providing analysis and fact based policy research to support the report’s recommendations. We’ll work closely with Ontarians who are committed to rolling up their sleeves and to working with the province to develop and implement a plan for action; and none more important than low income people themselves. We look forward to seeing them integrally involved in the reform process.
We need to transform the income security system, not despite Ontario’s fiscal situation, but because of it. The province needs a plan for income security as part of its agenda for social and economic prosperity. Ontario also needs to articulate its interests and perspective to the federal government as well as other provinces and territories.
Let’s get to work!
To view the full report, go to the Commission’s website.