Ontario Government Launches Major Attack on ODSP
The Wynne Government has begun a Province wide drive to review the entitlement to benefits of thousands of people on ODSP. The Lankin Sheikh Report that the Government commissioned urges that a 'backlog' of 30,000 cases should be subject to an accelerated medical review process and it appears that this is being acted upon. Staff have been transferred for this purpose and the reviews may move at a rate of 600 cases a month.
ODSP offices are sending forms out that people are expected to take to their doctors to be filled in for review by Ministry officials. People who do not return the forms or whose doctors do not provide enough information may be subject to cut off. Obviously, this is about removing as many as possible from ODSP.
This is a very serious attack. There is a whole international move to undermine social benefits for disabled people that this is part of. In the UK, a Work Capability Assessment has been put in place that has been used to deem tens of thousands of people 'fit for work' and cut them off benefits. Severely disabled people, in some cases, even the terminally ill have been robbed of their income in this fashion and forced to scramble for the lowest paying jobs on offer. The reviews that are now being implemented in Ontario are part of this trend and, if they are able to take these measures, we can expect further attacks on even greater numbers of disabled people. The Government has placed new powers and responsibilities in the hands of the President of the Treasury Board to ensure that cost saving measures are found. ODSP will be a key target for this new 'Minister of Austerity' and the attack is only beginning.
The Raise the Rates Campaign will be taking action to challenge these new reviews and to defend ODSP. If you are directly affected by this or, if you are part of a community organization or agency, that advocates for people on ODSP, please contact us right away.