Evidence Based Social Assistance Rates
September 29, 2011 Poverty Reduction
The issue of inadequacy of social assistance rates is one that is of great importance to the Clinic as we believe that social assistance rates need to have some relation to the actual cost of rent, food and other basic necessities in communities across Ontario.
Hamilton’s Community Legal Clinics (as we then were) previously drafted legislation that proposed the idea of setting up an expert panel which would recommend on an annual basis evidence-based social assistance rates to the Provincial Government. “An Act to Establish the Ontario Social Assistance Rates Board” (Bill 235) was introduced for first reading as a private member’s bill in the Ontario Legislature by MPP Ted McMeekin on June 4, 2007. Unfortunately, the Legislature was then prorogued the next day in anticipation of a fall election, meaning the Bill was effectively discontinued. The Bill has not yet been reintroduced. We have attached a copy of that bill to this submission.
Since that time we have continued to advocate with government to implement a process for determining evidence-based social assistance rates.
Recently in the Clinic prepared a submission to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario submission. In that submission we made the following recommendation:
That the Government of Ontario establish an arm’s length body to recommend evidence-based social assistance rates on an annual basis. Those rates should be based on an analysis of the actual costs of rent, a healthy food basket, and other basic necessities in communities across Ontario, and should provide a level of assistance that will allow individuals and families to live with dignity. An example of such a body is the Ontario Social Assistance Rates Board as proposed in the former Bill 235 introduced on June 4, 2007.