Building a health-enabling social assistance system: Our latest submission to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance

Over the last year, the Wellesley Institute has been working with community and health sector partners to provide expert advice on how to build a health-enabling social assistance system to inform the work of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.

On Friday, we made our second formal submission to the Commission: a response to the Discussion Paper that was released in February 2012.

In our response, we argued that:

  • The Commission must further specify a comprehensive vision of a high-performing social assistance system that is adequate, flexible, person-centred, and health-enabling;
  • The Commission should ensure that social assistance rates are adequate and that people on social assistance have opportunities to participate in employment and training;
  • The key to an easy-to-understand social assistance system is to make the system person-centred:
    • The social assistance system must treat people with dignity and respect; and
    • Social assistance must be flexible enough to recognize that different people have different needs, and that the supports that each individual requires are also different. This is especially true for people with disabilities; and
  • The Commission must look to other promising directions, including recommending improved access to primary care for people on social assistance, building community capacities, identifying collaborative program and policy development opportunities, and improving measurement and reporting on the social assistance system.

The Commission will report its findings to the government in June. Stay tuned between now and then as we blog on key elements of our submissions and any updates from the Commission.

In the meantime, check out our previous social assistance blogs on: