Yesterday’s Provincial Budget release focused on fiscal restructuring – with an emphasis on several initiatives that would see the increase of skill building and employment, addressing issues of provincial financial security and improvements to infrastructure. Last year was a significant win for our sector which was promised $810 million over the next 3 years. This year focused on the progress being made as a result of last year’s investment.
We were very pleased to see one of our members LiveWorkPlay being mentioned in the budget as an outstanding example of the many ways in which last year’s investment has enabled our sector to provide better services.
The Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy was implemented in 2013 as an effort to reduce youth unemployment in Ontario which currently sits at 14.9%. The program has been renewed with $250 million committed over the next two years. However, the focus seems to have shifted on youth who struggle with accessing the program. While no specific details have been given in terms of how the program will be reworked – the government recognizes the critical need of support and skill development programs for the most vulnerable job seekers. The Youth Job Connection is an intensive employment support program to help youth who experience multiple barriers to employment – no specific details were released about the framework of this program.
ODSP Income Support and Ontario Works rates will both be increased by 1% commencing October for ODSP recipients and November for Ontario Works recipients. Ontario Works adult single rates will also be topped up by just over $18 so that the total combined increase, including the 1% will equal $25 per month. The inadequacy of ODSP income support continues to be a concern for people with disabilities and Community Living Ontario and will remain a focus of our advocacy.
Aside from the renewal of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy which will now place a larger focus on youth with several barriers to employment and the annual increase of ODSP supports – there are no major changes in this year’s Provincial Budget.
The Provincial Budget recap was a part of last weeks Update Friday E-Newsletter – if you missed it, check it out & subscribe here http://eblast.gotenzing.com/t/r-734E69EEE986CF002540EF23F30FEDED