Taking Action to Help People on the Margins
Fighting to save the ODSP
When the Provincial government proposed to narrow the definition of disability in the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), people were worried to say the least. Life was tough enough with the current benefit amount but the proposed change would result in a nearly 60% drop in income. The choice between paying for rent, food and medicine would become impossible.
At The Neighbourhood Group, the choice was simple: Fight to maintain the ODSP. The campaign started with the Corner Drop-in Member Advocacy Committee (MAC). MAC members like Marie worked tirelessly to create and administer a survey to drop-in users across Toronto. “For new people trying to get on ODSP, it could be a problem. People we surveyed were very worried they would become destitute and fall into depression, crime and suicide.” MAC members spread the word by writing letters to MPPs and Provincial Ministers. Media took up the case and the Toronto Star published a story about the survey and the effect of the cuts.
But the survey was only one tactic: Working with coalitions like Defend Disability and the ODSP Action Coalition, we were able to strengthen our collective voice. We spoke to a network of local physicians and nurses called the Mid-West Sub-Region Primary and Community Care Committee, and urged them to speak to the Province.
Our actions were only one part of the push to restore the ODSP. The voices of thousands of organizations and people continue to reverberate across the Province to help people on ODSP maintain their health and dignity.
Read more stories / Read more stories from the 2019/2020 Annual Report