Ontario PCs Release Social Assistance White Paper

January 17, 2013

CORNWALL – The Ontario PC Caucus released today their new White Paper called Paths to Prosperity – Welfare to Work. It outlines a vision to bring a greater number of Ontarians currently trapped in social assistance back into the workforce and provide greater opportunities for people with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives.

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell outlined the difficulties faced by both the economy and social assistance recipients: “We have more than half a million unemployed and a huge pool of untapped talent. But even if the economy were growing, the complex bureaucracies and rules that tangle up our welfare system are costly and unsustainable. We need to help people rebuild their lives, develop skills and break free from poverty to jobs, charity or public service work – all through a more affordable government.”

The White Paper tackles unmanageable regulations and the mire of eligibility criteria created over the years. MPP McDonell explained the principle behind the proposals: “There are too many government barriers standing in the way of people’s self-worth, dignity and independence. Social assistance recipients want to return to the workforce. Ontarians with a disability want to be able to contribute to their community through volunteering and part-time work. At the same time, taxpayers want to see their money used more sensibly, to help people find jobs.”

Welfare to Work proposes to recognize and reward those employers who take extra measures to hire people with disabilities. Welfare to Work would also prioritize funding for community college programs that make post-secondary education more accessible to people with disabilities.

MPP McDonell advocates a new approach to disability support: “The Government has equated disability with an inability to work. People with disabilities want to find jobs. But they face walls, when what they need are bridges. By breaking down red tape in the bureaucracy, our reforms will give them the opportunities they need, while preserving valued social programs as we balance the budget.”

Paths to Prosperity – Welfare to Work can be read at www.ontariopc.com/paths-to-prosperity/welfare-to-work