• January 17, 2013 1:24 PM
  • - General

Social Assistance Reform Must Protect Property Taxpayers

TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is reviewing the Ontario PC White Paper issued today on social assistance reform.

The report makes a number of recommendations including combining the provincially run Ontario Disability Support Program with the Ontario Works programs, which is delivered by municipalities and cost-shared with the Province.

"Improving how those in need receive service is a shared interest," said Russ Powers, AMO President. "One combined program may make sense for clients. But it would not make sense for property taxpayers to pick up the tab for integrating two complex benefits."

As well, the upload agreement with municipalities for Ontario Works benefits, now in its fourth year and valued at $145 million, needs to be honoured. In 2008, the Province committed to upload provincial social assistance benefits and court security costs from the municipal property tax base.

"Without those funds and the continued uploading of these cost over the next five years, property taxpayers would take a direct hit," Powers said.  "Property taxes must be used for essential services such as safe roads and clean water, not for provincial income redistribution programs."

Municipalities bring a wealth of practical experience in program delivery and will play an important role in any social assistance reform.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.

SOURCE: Association of Municipalities of Ontario

For further information:

Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca
Follow AMO on Twitter: @AMOPolicy