WINDSOR – NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) MPP, Official Opposition Critic for Community and Social Services, released the following statement on top-up payments for people receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW), which the Ford government is planning to remove at the end of July:
“The Ford government has completely neglected people with disabilities and those living in poverty throughout the pandemic. Despite the fact that these individuals are more vulnerable, often dealing with food insecurity, precarious housing, and chronic illness, Doug Ford’s only assistance was a paltry $100 per month top-up payment, that was not even automatically applied. Individuals living on an income below the poverty line had to plead for the top-up.
To make the situation even worse, Ford insisted on taking half of all CERB payments from social assistance recipients. Now that small monthly top-up is coming to an end, even though the pandemic continues. Yesterday in the government’s own press release, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said, ‘the risk posed by COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time to come’. If the Ford government truly believes that, they should ensure that the most vulnerable people in Ontario – people with disabilities who are overwhelmingly forced to live in poverty – should get the income assistance they need to be healthy and safe while the pandemic continues.
People who receive ODSP and OW deserve so much more than the pitiful assistance that they currently receive. The bare minimum that the Ford government could do for these individuals and their families would be to extend the top-up in the months until the pandemic is over. The Official Opposition NDP is calling for ODSP and OW rates to be increased permanently, and for the Ford government to put an end to punitive clawbacks on income.”