QUEEN'S PARK – In light of the ever-increasing cost of living in Ontario, NDP MPP for Sudbury, Jamie West, used today's Question Period to propose a meaningful solution for Ontarians who rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
West pointed out that current ODSP rates are thousands of dollars below the poverty line and fail to provide individuals with enough money to cover basic necessities, such as rent and food. “Everyone knows that ODSP payments have never been enough.” Said West. To protect disabled Ontarians from legislated poverty, West proposed immediately doubling ODSP rates.
Currently, the average monthly rent in MPP West's riding of Sudbury is $1,549 - higher than the maximum monthly ODSP payment of $1228. This means that individuals on ODSP are forced to choose between paying for their basic needs and being homeless. West has received letters from members of his community on ODSP, like Kyle, who struggle with the weight of inflation.
West explained that Kyle is facing homelessness because he can longer afford food and rent.
When the Conservative Minister of Children, Community and Social Services responded by speaking about the recent small ODSP adjustments, West responded by saying: “Kyle predicted you would brag about the 5% increase and the Increase to the earning cap”. He then read a message to the Premier from his constituent, Kyle:
“The 5% increase was never enough. And the increase in wage earnings will never affect those who cannot work. Those are Band-Aid solutions that miss the mark of the greater problem at hand. Many disabled Canadians – myself included - are struggling to find any work, while others have conditions that render working impossible.”
West finished by saying, “It’s time for the Premier to admit that ODSP has never been enough.” And asked, “Will the Premier listen to the NDP and immediately double ODSP rates so that disabled Canadians, like Kyle, can afford food and rent?”