Recently, the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario announced that their report would be delayed until September.
Since submitting our formal responses– one on how to build a social assistance system that enables health equity and the other a response to the Commission’s second discussion paper – the Wellesley Institute has been working with the Commission and with community and professional partners to develop options that would advance population health in the social assistance system.
We are hopeful that the Commission will start from a vision of a high-performing social assistance system that enables good health. Social assistance should be:
- Adequate, so that people on social assistance can maintain a healthy standard of living. For example, being able to afford decent housing, transportation, and good food.
- Flexible, to recognize that even when people leave the social assistance system, they may still need some support. For example, retaining health benefits or having access to subsidized child care when people move into employment.
- Person-centred, so that services are provided based on what people on social assistance need to succeed. For example, providing supports that are appropriate for each individual, like career counselling, skills training, and support for newcomers.
- Health-enabling, so that ensuring good health is at the forefront of the social assistance system.
The Wellesley Institute will respond to the Commission’s recommendations once they are released and have made ourselves available to the Commissioners to assist their deliberations. In the meantime, take a look at our blog series about creating a vision of a high-performing social assistance system, building a basket of essential supports, supporting people on social assistance into training and employment, building on health promotion and primary care initiatives, and collaborative solutions to fixing social assistance.