Between August 1 and September 1, 2017, the Government of Ontario announced two rounds of changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works, social aid plans that provide financial benefits and employment assistance to people living with disabilities. Ontario personal injury lawyers have responded positively to both changes.
The first came into effect on August 1 and pertained to exemption limits on compensation awards from personal injury lawsuits. Prior to the change, ODSP recipients could receive a limit of $100,000 in compensation for injuries and loss before seeing their benefits clawed back, and Ontario Works recipients could receive a limit of $25,000. In both cases, the exemption applied to awards for pain and suffering; expenses incurred from the injury or death of a family member; and loss of care, companionship and guidance from the injury or death of a family member.
The new regulations eliminate limits on awards for ODSP recipients and double the limit for recipients of Ontario Works benefits, making it easier for Ontario personal injury lawyers to access fair and equitable compensation for some of the province’s most vulnerable residents.
“The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association strongly supports this initiative by the Ontario Government that will provide increased support for some of the most vulnerable Ontarians who have suffered loss or injury,” said OTLA President Claire Wilkinson in a release. “These measures work directly towards our purpose to promote access to justice for all Ontarians, preserve and improve the civil justice system, and advocate for the rights of those who have suffered as the result of wrongdoing by others.”
The second major change, announced September 1, increased the amount of money ODSP and Ontario Works recipients are allowed to possess before experiencing cuts to their benefits. Single ODSP recipients saw their asset limit grow from $5,000 to $40,000, and couples’ limit grew from $7,500 to $50,000. Ontario Works limits grew from $2,500 to $10,000 for singles and from $5,000 to $15,000 for couples.
Ontario personal injury lawyers and rights advocates praised the second round of changes as a step in the right direction, even if room for improvement remains.
“We are grateful for what we’re getting and for the changes that are being made,” Kyle Vose, chair of the ODSP Action Coalition, told the CBC.
If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury resulting in a long-term disability, contact the Ontario personal injury lawyers at Nanda & Associate today. Our team can help you access compensation for your loss.