TOGETHER, LET'S GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK!

New Report: "What stops us from working?"

TORONTO, June 29, 2011 /CNW/ - The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP) would like to announce the launch of "What stops us from working?" a report produced in partnership by The Dream Team, Houselink Community Homes, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). A community celebration of the report's launch will take place at 10:00am on Wednesday June 29 at College Street United Church on 454 College Street West in Toronto. The report acknowledges the need to increase work participation for people living with mental health and addiction issues that are recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

"What stops us from working?" addresses the challenges of transitioning back to work for people with mental health and addiction issues that are receiving ODSP. Several limitations exist, such as the negative interaction between ODSP and other programs, an onerous system of reporting, and insufficient supports for people leaving ODSP. For many, employment becomes overwhelming as ODSP retains a 50 per cent clawback of employment earnings, and also puts individuals at risk of rent-geared-to-income that they are unable to afford. ODSP provides a $100 work-related benefit, but the roadblocks are devastating. As a result, many people remain unemployed to maintain their OSDP.

The report advocates policy change to fix the treatment of earnings under the Ontario Disability Support Program. It acknowledges that instead of penalizing people, it should be rewarding them for working.

"What stops us from working?" proposes several changes to ODSP including:

  • An improvement of work incentives
  • An improvement in administration
  • To integrate the treatment of earnings by ODSP and other programs so that policies better support work
  • Making structural changes to ODSP that will support recipients who want to leave the program and become financially independent

With these structural changes to ODSP, the report advocates the following:

  • Increasing the work-related benefit to $150
  • Assessing earnings on an annual basis in the same way that housing subsidies are moving towards annual reviews
  • Expanding ODSP employment supports to incorporate training and on the job supports
  • Raising asset limits

Policy change will encourage recovery, and help people with mental health and addiction issues move towards independence, and become financially self-sufficient. More people will be employed, and will be able to find fulfillment through ODSP, and will achieve better health outcomes through productive employment.

To access the full report please click on the following link:
http://www.ofcmhap.on.ca/node/512

OFCMHAP would like to acknowledge The Dream Team, Houselink Community Homes, and CAMH for releasing this report. The Dream Team is a psychiatric survivor/consumer movement that advocates for supportive housing in Ontario. Houselink Community Homes are a non-profit organization that provides supportive housing for people with mental health issues. CAMH is Canada's largest teaching hospital in mental health and addictions that specializes in research, clinical, education, policy and health promotion.

About OFCMHAP

OFCMHAP brings together community mental health and addiction services in the province of Ontario to help members provide effective, high-quality services through information sharing, education, advocacy and unified effort


SOURCE Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs

For further information:

To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact:

David Kelly
Executive Director
Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs
Work: (416) 490-8900
Cell: (416) 822-0712

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Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs

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