More than 1,100 individual Ontarians and nearly 100 organizations call on Minister MacLeod to use Five Principles as basis for changes to social assistance

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) is releasing an Open Letter that was sent to Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod today. The letter calls on the Minister to use “Five Principles for an Effective and Compassionate Social Assistance System” as the basis for any changes she may make as a result of her 100-day review of social assistance in Ontario.

“More than 1,100 Ontarians and nearly 100 organizations from across the province agree that the current system needs to be fixed,” said Mary Marrone, Director of Advocacy & Legal Services at ISAC. “We all believe that making social assistance work in ways that will improve the lives of low-income people, and accomplish the goals that the Minister has set out, will depend on using these Five Principles as the foundation for change.”

The Five Principles are:

  • Income Adequacy: Providing enough money in basic benefits to cover the true costs of regular living expenses, which would allow people to stabilize their lives and act as a springboard to participation in the economy and community.
  • Economic and Social Inclusion: Prioritizing practical, individualized, trauma-informed supports and services that allow people to participate in community life as well as the economy, ensuring strong employment standards to encourage good quality employment opportunities, and improving employment supports.
  • Access and Dignity: Ensuring anyone in need can access the benefits they require and are entitled to, providing supports and services that respond to immediate and longer-term individual needs, and treating people who are in need with respect.
  • Reconciliation: Prioritizing better social and economic outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Ontario and recognizing the right of First Nations to design and deliver their own services.
  • Human rights, Equity and Fairness: Respecting internationally recognized rights and recognizing that systemic disadvantage and structural racism prevent some people from equally accessing life opportunities. 

More detail about these Principles and the list of individual and organizational signatories is available at

“The Minister has said she wants to reform social assistance in ways that will ‘help stabilize people in need and support them to succeed’,” said Marrone. “Using these principles as the basis for change will help transform the system in ways that will accomplish these goals.

Ontario’s social assistance system is made up of two programs: Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Minister MacLeod oversees the new Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, which has responsibility for these and other important social programs.

The Minister announced on July 31 that government was undertaking a 100-day review of social assistance (see

ISAC is a specialty legal clinic with a provincial mandate to improve the income security of people living in Ontario through test case litigation, policy development and advocacy, and community organizing.

Contact: Lily Manea, ISAC
416-597-5820 x 5142