Reforms to simplify the social assistance system, address systemic inequalities in our programs, better reward work, increase rates for the lowest-income Ontarians and pilot a basic income in communities throughout the province
Ontario’s economy is strong, but not everyone is doing well. Ontario Liberals believe that caring for one another means helping the most vulnerable in our society as they try to get ahead.
In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has enhanced social assistance, increased the minimum wage, made prescription drugs free for children and youth and expanded access to affordable housing. In 2017 it launched an internationally recognized three-year pilot to examine whether a basic income is a better way to support people through a changing and dynamic labour market.
But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. We can make changes to the income security system that will treat those receiving support with dignity and respect and transform their lives.
That’s why the Ontario Liberals will reform income security through a four-year plan focused on those living in the deepest poverty and design the next Poverty Reduction Strategy. Our plan will:
- Increase social assistance rates for both Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program by three per cent a year for the next three years
- Move toward a system that will support homeless and vulnerably housed people fairly by replacing the current rate structure with a standard flat rate
- Ensure that people receiving support are able to keep more of their employment income by increasing the earnings exemption, exempting other sources of income and moving toward an annual calculation
- Simplify the many rules governing our social assistance programs to make the system more respectful and less intrusive
- Work with Indigenous partners to improve access to culturally appropriate social assistance services
- Continue to evaluate the impact of the basic income pilot in Hamilton and the surrounding area, Thunder Bay and Lindsay
- Begin consultations on the next Poverty Reduction Strategy within 100 days of a Liberal government returning to office