Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Ford government announces social assistance overhaul

Ontario's Children Community and Social Services Minister Lisa Macleod attends Question Period at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday Ford government announces social assistance overhaul
Charlie Simmons | 06 August, 2018, 07:26

And in unveiling those moves, Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said she has asked the province's Auditor-General to investigate "hundreds of millions of dollars" in fraud in social-assistance payments.

The first steps of the new government of Ontario will be aiming at the abolition of the Liberal party proposed a plan to increase payments to social programs Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works 3%.

The new Progressive Conservative government announced Tuesday the increase would be reduced to 1.5 per cent.

Lisa MacLeod, the Progressive Conservative minister of children, community and social services, said the program "clearly not the answer for Ontario families" when she made the announcement at a Queen's Park news conference.

"The Liberals presided over a disjointed, patchwork system, with no interest at all in whether these programs delivered results", she said.

MacLeod also said Thursday that the program would have cost $17 billion and caused a six per cent increase in the HST. "The price of gas going down is not going to make a difference to them", Garvey said.

By the numbers: About 4,000 people in Ontario, Canada began getting monthly stipends last October to boost them to at least 75 percent of the poverty line. "My commitment to the people of Ontario, particularly the people who are most vulnerable, is that we will get it right".

Ontario's pilot project was launched in April 2017 and offered 4,000 low-income residents in three communities nearly $14,000 a year to individuals or $24,000 to couples, and an extra $6,000 for the disabled.

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"I knew it was coming every month", she said. "It will support people with disabilities to work when they are able", she said, adding that the planned changes would "get them on their feet and restore dignity in their lives".

Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said cancelling "the unfinished and promising basic income pilot project is a waste and a shame".

The group predicted the government's pledge to reform social assistance was nothing but a thinly veiled return to cuts brought in by former Tory premier Mike Harris, and vowed to oppose what it called Premier Doug Ford's "war on the poor".

How did the program work?

MacLeod later admitted that the cancellation of the pilot was a broken campaign promise.

But just a little less than halfway through the pilot, the government of Ontario is scrapping the program.

One program recipient, who has lived in poverty for 15 years, told Business Insider that the basic income pilot was "a huge ray of hope", and that the future is now uncertain.

"When you're encouraging people to accept money without strings attached, it really doesn't send the message that I think our ministry and our government wants to send".

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