OMSSA Shares Input on Social Assistance ReformSeptember 25, 2018
OMSSA and Board representatives met with Ontario's Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario's (AMO) Annual Conference in Ottawa on August 20, 2018. The meeting was a valuable opportunity to introduce Minister MacLeod to OMSSA and the role and value of Service System Management, and to build the foundation for ongoing work with the Province.
At the meeting, Minister MacLeod invited OMSSA to submit high-level ideas and input on opportunities for social assistance reform as the Province works towards the release of its plan for Social Assistance Reform on November 8, 2018.
OMSSA engaged with members through its Leadership Table to build consensus on high-level opportunities and recommendations for reforming Ontario's social assistance system. We also engaged and coordinated with key partners, including the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association (ONWAA), the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).
Today, OMSSA submitted a summary of recommendations and input to the Ministry based on our consultations with members. Key areas of focus included:
- Human services integration: With a view to prioritizing and enabling continued progress towards integration at the municipal level, supported by further integration of relevant provincial Ministries
- Enhancing technology: With a focus on potential enhancements and outstanding issues with key software, including SAMS
- Reducing administration and reporting: Including aligning all income tested programs, enabling and removing barriers to information-sharing, and adopting a risk-based case management approach, among other recommendations
- Better integration of Ontario Works and ODSP: Recommending a cautious approach that includes consultation with CMSMs and DSSABs, and a focus on improving services and supports
- Improving employment outcomes: Including leveraging and scaling successful local approaches, and exploring opportunities for Service System Managers to play an increased role in better integrating Employment Ontario with social assistance outcomes, where capacity and interest exists
- Mental health, addictions, housing and supportive services: Underscoring the increasingly complex needs of social assistance clients and the need for continued investment and integration in these areas
- Poverty reduction: Underscoring the economic costs of poverty and encouraging coordination across all three levels of government
- Local flexibility: Emphasizing the critical role and value of local Service System Management and the need for continued and increased flexibility in local service system management and delivery
- Municipal costs: Emphasizing that any system and program changes must be cost neutral to municipal governments
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