Report Released: A Roadmap for Change – Engage in the public consultation process and add your ideas by January 2, 2018!

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Author: Hayley Green

Posted: December 5, 2017

Categories: GoodFoodBites

In 2016, Ontario asked three working groups to look at income security system and make recommendations on how to improve it. The three groups included:

  • Income Security Reform Working Group
  • First Nations Income Security Reform Working Group
  • Urban Indigenous Table on Income Security Reform

Read the details of the groups Report and recommendations for improving income security for people receiving support through programs like Ontario Works and ODSP. The report is called “Income Security: A Road map for Change“.The three working groups were invited by the province to recommend a 10-year road map. The goal of the road map is to see a clear path forward, one that sets out major steps over multiple years with the goal being a modern, responsive and effective system.

Overarching Themes

The Working Groups found three main overarching themes. The following information is taken directly from the report.

Investing in People: People are Ontario’s most important resource. All elements of the income security system need to work effectively together to meet a diverse range of needs and experiences, in support of better financial stability, health and well-being for all individuals and families. People’s interactions with the income security system are too often focused on transactional activities and the enforcement of rules, particularly within social assistance. There is a critical need to change the way in which programs are designed, how they intersect, and how they connect people to relevant support from the very first point of contact.

Addressing Adequacy – It is unacceptable that so many people live in deep poverty and critical need in Ontario. It is vital that the Province establish and commit to a floor below which no one should fall. Success requires that all parts of the income security system, a mix of federal, provincial and municipal income supports and benefits, work together to improve people’s lives. Urgent and immediate action and significant investments are required in the income security system, including social assistance, to make this a reality over the next 10 years.

Recognizing the Experience of Indigenous Peoples – Income security reform must support the Province’s commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through its Journey Together framework, and help rebuild relationships with Indigenous peoples. This will require the income security system to actively address and guard against systemic and institutional racism and recognize the profound impact of colonization, residential schools and intergenerational trauma. Reform must respect First Nations’ right to self-governance and respond to the unique needs and perspectives of all Indigenous peoples, including those who are not members of a First Nation. Due to challenges related to data collection both within and outside of First Nations communities, it is difficult to accurately ascertain the number of Indigenous peoples who live in towns and cities across the province. One source is an Ontario Ministry of Finance document, 2011 National Household Survey Highlights: Aboriginal Peoples of Ontario, that uses federal data to cite that about 84% footnote 3 of Indigenous people live outside of First Nations communities. First Nations note this information is skewed as many First Nations people do not participate in the data collection/survey.

The Summary of Recommendations is broken down into a lengthy report seen here. The main headings and subheadings include:

  • Achieving Income Adequacy
  • Engaging The Whole Income Security System: Ontario Housing Benefit, Income Support For Children, Working Income Tax Benefit, Core Health Benefits, Access To Justice
  • Transforming Social Assistance: Legislative Framework, A Culture Of Trust, Collaboration And Problem-Solving, Supporting People With Disabilities, An Assured Income Approach For People With Disabilities, A Transformed Social Assistance Structure, Helping Those In Deepest Poverty, Self-Governance And Respect For First Nations Jurisdiction, Adequate Funding For First Nations, Implementing And Measuring Change


It is encouraged for everyone to read the Roadmap, engage with its recommendations, and participate in the public consultation process. Public consultation will take place until January 2, 2018.

The Roadmap is available here:

The government’s press release is here:

The government is asking people to provide feedback in writing. Information about the feedback process is here: