minimal actions

the current Ford government wants to narrow down the ODSP definition of disability

this plan was announced on November 22nd, 2018, amongst other measures which have now been paused after efforts by advocates, by the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services of the time, Minister Lisa MacLeod (she has been replaced since by Minister Todd Smith).

narrowing down the ODSP definition of disability would be totally fine if we were living in an equal society with true "access", equal distribution of wealth, and if, for a start, the allowances on OW would be at least as much as the allowances on ODSP. but this is not the case. so, a narrowing down of the definition means exclusion and it is an austerity measure that is downloaded on the poorest of those who have no time and energy, and probably not the health neither to show up at protests or trusting any advocacy action to be a bubble of hope.

the topic of a disabiity definition narrowing down would need a long introduction to be given a respect that would correspond to the anxiety it has created in current ODSP recipients who could loose their allowances. imagine living with disability and being told that well, you seem fit to work to sustain yourself, while you plainly know it is not possible for your condition and/or in the current job market. imagine loosing your home as a consequence of not being able to pay your rent anymore, with no family and a long list of lost friends who just could not witness your sliding down anymore and are themselves struggling for survival.

- "How will they eat?" Alarm raised over revamp of Ontario's welfare program for disabled, by Laurie Monsebraaten, May 11, 2019
- ODSP: The Risk of a Narrower Definition: A survey of 86 people on social assistance by the Member Advocacy Committee of St. Stephen's Community House, May 2019

narrowing down our common defnition of disability is not something that should happen without a serious discussion on process and rights. disability is a very tricky and contradictory concept that both gives some access to benefits, but also comes with a load of strings attached and stigmatization. changing how we define that, is a major society change.

there is huge anxiety in service providers too, who witness how some groups of poor people, such as those living with what is called/diagnosed as "mental illness" or "episodic disability", MS, HIV, cancer are systematically marginalized by the social assistance system, thought as lazy individuals who need support/training/discipline to be "put back on track", i.e. work or work more. a narrowing of definition is an attack on such groups and as a member of the medical profession said, it is "1000 deaths by 1000 cuts".

- Changing disability definition a dangerous mistake that will harm thousands, by Gary Bloch, April 8, 2019
- Health care, social service groups unite to fight Ford government's proposed welfare changes
- Ford government cancels planned cuts to social assistance payments
- Ford's reversals just the start