DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Needs Reform!



Income Support for People with Disabilities

chart - Income Support for People with Disabilities


Financial assistance for persons with physical, intellectual and/or mental health disabilities.


1. Benefits are grossly inadequate causing poverty

  • People cannot afford their most basic needs of rent, utilities, food, transportation, clothing and medical expenses.
  • Rates have been frozen for 10 years during a time when the cost of living has soared by 18%.
  • Benefits for a single person with a disability ($930/mo) and families with children are little more than about ½ of the poverty line.

    2. Denial of access to disability benefits

  • Thousands of deserving people with disabilities are denied access to assistance.
  • Only about 35% of people who start the application process succeed in getting assistance.
  • Application process is too complicated and lacks accommoda tions for special needs e.g. visual/hearing impairments, literacy, itellectual problems.
  • No personal assistance available to complete application and to navigate system - system by it's design, denies access.

    3. Barriers to employment and rehabilitation

  • Earnings cap for a single ODSP recipient of $160/mo fails miserably to close the poverty gap
  • Employment rules, earnings cap and harsh penalties impose undue hardship and barriers to work and rehabilitation.
  • Therefore unemployment rate for people with disabilities is unacceptably high.

4. Inadequate/poor quality client services

  • People are unable to receive help from individual caseworkers - bounced from one worker to the next.
  • Local ODSP offices are not designed to be responsive to per sons with disabilities and fails to meet their unique needs.


  1. Raise the ODSP income support rates.

  2. Simplify the application and adjudication process: provide help to guide applicants through it.

  3. Enhance the approach to work with higher earnings exemptions, better reinstatement rules and avoidance of work related overpayments.

  4. Restructure local offices so clients receive better service. Bring back individual workers.

Source: Peterborough ODSP Action Coalition

Relevant Links

NOTE: External links open in a new browser window

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) - Fact Sheet

Access to ODSP Campaign - Ontario Disability Support Program
Summary of Forum Reports


Denial by Design - Ontario Disability Support Program
© Income Security Advocacy Centre 2003

Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) Committee

Inquest into the Death of Kimberly Rogers

Recommendations of the Rogers Inquest Jury

Ontario Election 2003 Information & Resources



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Page last updated September 12, 2003