ODSP: Making cuts that support system changes, as well as people

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We, the citizens of Ontario, put forth that effective January 1, 2020, the ODSP Employment Report become an ANNUAL report, to be completed in line with doing federal income tax submissions.

Currently, the ODSP Employment Report must be submitted by every ODSP recipient who earns any amount of income during the previous month. The Employment Report must be submitted by the 7th of each month. When the recipient earns income, they are entitled to receive the Work Related Benefit of $100. A person who is employed year-round is currently required to submit 12 Employment Reports each year. Even people who have been gainfully employed for many years are required to prove each month that their disability still exists, and that they are still earning income.

The current system of monthly reporting presumes falsely that people who live with disabilities will not maintain at least some level of employment, month to month, so must report monthly to prove they are still disabled and earning income, and therefore qualify for the $100 Benefit. Instead of requiring the person to report when employment ceases, they are required to prove that it continues. 

If the Employment Report is not processed in time, with all relevant information (including Employment-Related Work Expenses), the ODSP recipient will receive a letter requesting the person contact their ODSP client service representative to provide the necessary information. Often, the recipient is at risk of having their pension suspended, due to their on-time submission not being processed in a timely manner, by their client service representative. The onus is then put on the ODSP recipient or their agent to trouble shoot and problem solve. With many expenses paid by automated withdrawal, this places the recipient at risk of not having rent paid on time, and not having bills paid on time, as well as incurring often multiple NSF charges. 

Monthly reporting of employment income is an unnecessary burden to both the system and ODSP recipients and their agents.

We the undersigned recommend that the burdensome monthly reporting of employment income by ODSP recipients be changed to a once-a-year reporting of annual income (including submission of copies of pay stubs), based on the amount of income declared to Canada Revenue Agency; and, that, should employment cease for any reason, ODSP recipients be required to advise ODSP of their change in employment status, in order to trigger the suspension of the Work Related Benefit. This would decrease the amount of administrative work being done each month by ODSP client service representatives, and ODSP recipients and their agents. It would also respect the growing body of evidence that employed people who live with disabilities improve productivity and innovation, lower turnover and absenteeism, reduce workplace injuries, and enhance customer and employee loyalty. (Reference ODENetwork)