The "Welfareization" of Disability Incomes in Ontario

Submitted by Amy Zoethout on August 12, 2016 - 12:43am

Ontario's Disability Support Program (ODSP) is the single largest and fastest growing of all disability benefit programs, a trend Metcalf Foundation Innovation Fellow and VC regular blogger John Stapleton calls the "welfareization" of disability incomes.

Between 2005 and 2010, ODSP expenditures increased by close to 45% and in Stapleton's recently released report, The "Welfareization" of Disability Incomes in Ontario, he explores what is causing this alarming trend.

As he reviews the eight disability income support programs available to Ontarians and explores regional variations, Stapleton proposes that the changing labour market may be the biggest influencer of this trend. These changes have resulted in a growing number of part-time and temporary workers who have no access to or eligibility for employer-triggered disability incomes, leaving ODSP as the only option for on-going income.

"This results in a shift of coverage and responsibility from employee-based disability income programs to the public purse in the form of social assistance," Stapleton wrote, calling for reform of the entire income disability system supported by all levels of government, private and non-profit sectors.

Access the full report here.