The Response to the Social Assistance Review Discussion Paper is the second formal submission that the Wellesley Institute, in partnership with a number of health sector leaders, has made to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario. In this paper, we argue 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.