There are nearly one million people in Ontario who are receiving provincial social assistance.
Many have disabilities which prevent them from being able to work full time, including those receiving the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Those living on social assistance struggle with the daily costs of living. The level of income provided by social assistance has fallen so far behind inflation, that it would take a 42 per cent increase in the rate for a single person on Ontario Works and a 24 per cent increase for those on ODSP to be what they were worth in 1993.
In addition to living with low levels of income, people living on social assistance are subject to many rules which prevent them from receiving extra income, building a safety net, and trying to move forward. While a larger transformation of the system is needed, changing these rules is an opportunity in the short term to improve the quality of life for those living on social assistance in Ontario.
The upcoming provincial budget is a chance to invest in the system, and change the many of the rules that hold people back.