Kathleen Wynne has announced that the Liberals won’t be getting rid of ODSP. I’ve written previously about how this threat and how devastating it would be. This is a really important victory. People organized against it and we won!
Sadly, this doesn’t mean that ODSP is in the clear. The Tories plan to eliminate ODSP and push most of the people on it onto welfare. They could be elected very soon.
Also, the Liberals haven’t said that they won’t reassess people on ODSP – another thing that the report that calls for the merger of ODSP and welfare calls for. This was done in British Columbia where 14,000 people were forced to reapply for disability. This process, according to one report, found that “The level of fear and anxiety that the 2002 reassessment created was unprecedented and severely damaged the physical and mental health of many, many people.”
Even if everything stays the same, there people on social assistance are losing every day because the rates do not keep step with inflation. This is why the Raise the Rates Campaign is calling for a raise of 55% for social assistance just to restore welfare to 1995 levels (inflation + 21.6% cut the Tories made). The Liberals have also slashed really important benefits like the special diet allowance and community start-up meaning that folks are worse off today than they were a few years ago.
This is a really important victory but only one step in a very important struggle.