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Changes for social assistance topic of all-day meetings

PETERBOROUGH – If someone has a disability and is having trouble finding work, a good first-step into the job market might be volunteering to gain confidence and acquire skills.

But people on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) may not have enough money to buy suitable clothing, if they’re volunteering in an office, or be able to afford transportation to get there.

Ontario should consider allowing people to get discretionary benefits — extra money outside of the regular monthly payments — for these kinds of items for volunteers, said Peterborough Social Planning Council executive director Brenda Dales.

That was one of the ideas proposed on Wednesday at Trinity United Church as about 80 people joined a review of Ontario’s social assistance.

The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario was in Peterborough on Wednesday getting ideas for reform as part of its cross-province tour in July.

The commission, which is still headed to Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Timmins and Peel before the end of the month, is to release final recommendations in June 2012.

Better transportation in rural and urban areas is needed to help alleviate poverty because some people are paying for transportation instead of buying food, said Maryam Monsef, one of the participants.

Rates for Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP also need to be raised, she said.

If a single person gets about $600 per month on OW, it’s difficult to pay market-value rent and still have money for eating and basic health needs, added Dorothy Boddy.

“The No. 1 thing is increasing the rates,” Boddy said.

Employers should also offer more part-time jobs and job-sharing for people with disabilities that want to work but struggle, for health reasons, to work a typical 40-hour work week, Boddy said.

Commission co-chairwoman Frances Lankin and co-chairman Munir Sheik were at the Peterborough event.




2 Responses to “Changes for social assistance topic of all-day meetings”

  1. http://www.youtube.com/playlandnews#p/u/4/nXNDlt7eY0g
    What gives , people in Canada are allowed to be terrorized
    Where is the money for these folks first .
    Also see the news about a lady that must live over the waft of Cat Feces. Then google Terror Parry Sound and see what some must do to eat !

    Posted by Playlandnews | August 16, 2011, 3:41 am
  2. I do not agree with increasing the allowance, the governament can give this person a part time job at home to earn any extra moneys above OW and ODSP and also be more selective on who gets it. I’ve heard of reciepents fooling our governament and playing poor and ending up with more money then the person that goes to work. We are never going to totally eliminate poverty but we could get more jobs for a lot of cases and this way it is not a financial burden to tax payers and the system becomes more sincere.

    Posted by George Tamburri | August 15, 2011, 10:06 pm

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