Advocacy groups are calling on the Ontario government to double social assistance rates.

TORONTO — More than 200 advocacy groups have signed an open letter calling on the Ontario government to double the rate of disability benefits and ensure they keep up with the rising cost of living. put it.

The government’s plan to increase disability benefit payment rates in next month’s budget is far from enough to “survive” financial support recipients, says a letter released by the Income Security Advocacy Centre. need of

In the recent provincial election, the Progressive Conservatives promised to introduce legislation to increase Ontario Disability Support Program rates by five per cent and link annual increases to inflation.

ISAC says the proposal is an extra $58 a month for ODSP recipients and does not cover the 458,000 low-income people who receive support through Ontario Works.

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Doug Ford says a campaign promise to increase disability support will be in the 2022 Budget.

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Social assistance rates have been stagnant since 2018, with an individual receiving up to $1,169 a month on ODSP and up to $733 on OW – well below the poverty line.

ISAC says record-breaking inflation has pushed up costs to the point where it is “impossible” for social assistance recipients to pay for basic needs, including housing, food and medicine.

“Persistent inflation, and the associated increase in the cost of living, is not enough to sustain a rate increase of 5 percent,” ISAC wrote. “We call on this government to double both OW and ODSP rates, and to adjust these rates to inflation.”

The letter was written to Premier Doug Ford, Finance Minister Peter Bethlen Falvey and Social Services Minister Marylee Fullerton, and was signed by more than 200 nonprofits that advocate for poverty reduction and income protection. Signatories include legal clinics, health organizations, social service providers and community groups.

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