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Over 100 Participate in Social Planning Toronto Forum on Social Assistance Review

On Thursday, July 14 Social Planning Toronto hosted a session for the Social Assistance Review Commission.

Over a hundred people, largely SPT members from all over the city, the community support sector and the community at large came to provide their input for the commission.

The input was comprehensive and wide ranging and provided an abundance of information for the commission to consider. The responses were visibly well-received by the two commissioners, Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh.

Those present dealt with the five topics selected by the commission’s initial report. The initial report had identified the primary social assistance concerns as issues of: the necessary supports and expectations associated with access to employment; the ease of navigating the system; the appropriateness of benefits provided; the long-term viability of the system; and the integration of the Ontario system with other orders of government.

Each issue saw multiple conversations with diverse opinions clearly a reflection of the wealth of experience in the room.

Some highlights of the discussion include a focus on centralizing the dignity of social assistance recipients in efforts to reform the system. Concern was also raised with the over-emphasis on return to employment, especially given the continuing effects of the recession.

(Reproduced from SPT Soundbites, July 22, 2011)


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