Open Letter: Ontario Budget 2012

By Alan Shaw

Dear Andrea Horwath Provincial NDP Leader,

On Tuesday March 27, 2012 the Provincial Liberal government will introduce the new Ontario 2012/2013 fiscal budget which as Premier, Dalton McGuinty has stated represents his most difficult budget ever, however it appears
many others are going to feel the pain, especially the most vulnerable members of Ontario, of which I’m one.

Premier, Dalton McGuinty has indicated that this budget will postpone the increase to social programs such as the Ontario Disability Support Program, which was initially designed under the Mike Harris led Conservative party of the mid 90’s in which he gutted the Ontario social programs which we as recipients still haven’t recovered from.

The Ontario Disability Support Program of the 90’s is simply no longer viable and requires a significant restructuring in order to recognize the economic and financial realities of 2012.

If Premier, Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal party are going to postpone or delay any increases to social programs such as the ODSP, then we demand something in return.


  • The average Canadian earns approximately $45,000 per year.
  • According to 2005 data, the poverty line for a single person living in communities of 500,000+ was $17,219 adjusted to inflation approximately $22,000 in 2012 terms with many studies placing this at $25,000 per year.
  • A single ODSP recipient maximum benefit in 2012 is $12,700 per year.

Additionally, an ODSP recipient who earns any income, their pension is reduced by $0.50 for every $1.00 of earnings effectively reducing the minimum wage of an ODSP recipient to $5.12per hour.

With the upcoming budget, you and the NDP party are in a position to effect change and begin the process of breaking the cycle of poverty by leveraging your position and enabling those receiving social assistance to help
ourselves and restore dignity an self-confidence.

Here are the changes we require, and it won’t cost the province a single penny!

  • 1. Enable a recipient of social assistance such as ODSP to earn up to the Personal Basic Exemption ($10,822 in 2012) prior to any claw back of assistance taking place retroactive to January 1, 2012.
  • 2. Raise the asset limit from $5,000 to $10,000 and indexed to inflation retroactive to January 1, 2012.

The above 2 items, will not solve all the problems with Ontario’s social programs, but while government drags its feet

accomplishing nothing, at least those receiving social assistance have a chance to break the cycle and it will also lay the foundation for future changes in future budgets.

You can’t build a house all at once, it takes one brick at a time and it’s long overdue that we start building a truly Accessible Ontario.

Benefits to the above proposal:

  • 1. An increase in disposable income generates increase taxes through consumer purchases.
  • 2. Reduction in child poverty, children live in poverty because household incomes are insufficient.
  • 3. Reduction to provincial health cost, increased income allows for better nutrition and thus better health.
  • 4. Service animal health, did you know that ODSP doesn’t cover the costs of maintaining the health of a service animal only provides $74 per month to cover food and ignores that these are living, breathing creatures and have
    the same type of health needs as a child.

On behalf of those Ontarian’s wishing to actively participate in all that society has to offer, we ask that you and the NDP party leverage your position of power and hold the Liberal government feet to the fire and effect change. If their unwilling to see the light, then toss their sorry asses to the curb and lets elect someone who can and will effect change.

Allan Shaw