That is Yvonne Spicer’s reaction to news that income support through the Ontario Disability Support Program will increase by 2 per cent, beginning in September. The planned hike was detailed as part of last week’s 2017 Budget announcement at Queen’s Park.
Currently, people who are single and living on their own receive $1110 a month for living expenses and food. In the fall, they will receive an additional $22.
Spicer, who lives in Milton and is a member of the Council of Community Living Ontario, says the government doesn’t understand what ODSP recipients must go through on a daily basis. For her, she lives in a subsidized apartment and sometimes doesn’t have enough money to pay her bills or purchase food and she uses a food bank to get groceries.
Next month, Spicer will graduate from Conestoga College after having completed the Business Studies and the Community Integration through Cooperative Education programs. She is currently looking for work.
She would like to see the ODSP income support raised above the poverty line, something that will be studied as part of the Basic Income Pilot Project that was announced last month by Premier Kathleen Wynne.
As part of the three-year pilot project that begins this summer in Hamilton, Brant County, Thunder Bay and Lindsay, people who have a disability that participate will receive $22,989 a year or approximately $1915 a month.
Spicer says that some people can’t wait three years for the pilot project to be studied, “because they need that money right now.”
James Taylor doesn’t believe the two per cent increase to ODSP income support is enough “to get people out of poverty, to afford bus passes, food expenses, and living expenses.”
Like Spicer, the London resident would like to see financial assistance through ODSP match the cost of living, so that “people wouldn’t have to rely on food banks and their family members to help them out.”
The Chair of the Council of Community Living Ontario intends to raise the issue of poverty as part of his remarks during Community Living Day at the Legislature on May 9th at Queen’s Park.
Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario