Ministry of Community and Social Services
The Ministry of Community and Social Services in the Canadian province of Ontario is responsible for social services such as welfare, the Ontario Disability Support Program, and community service programs to address homelessness, domestic violence, spousal support, adoption, and assisted housing for people with disabilities. The Minister of Community and Social Services in the provincial cabinet is the Honourable Helena Jaczek.
Ontario Works is a last-resort income support program for the poor. Prior to 1997, persons requiring this assistance received support under the General Welfare Assistance Act. While the Ontario Works program purports to better respect peoples dignity, build self-esteem and promote independence, its origins are in the Ontario Works Act, 1997 as a workfare programme under the Mike Harris government. Each of its participants is encouraged to be involved more in the community and find suitable employment.
Ontario Works is a program that provides income and employment assistance for people who are in financial need by developing an Action Plan in certain agencies. In other agencies participants are referred to other resources. This Plan identifies and addresses an individual's barriers to employment. It is a benefit for persons 18 years and older and by exception for peoples 16 to 18 and also single parents regardless of age. In order to qualify for Ontario Works, an applicant must be a resident of the province of Ontario, in immediate need of financial help, not have excessive assets and be a willing participant in employment assistance programs and activities.
There are exceptions to participating in employment related activities if the participant is unable to work due to medical reasons or if is the primary caregiver for a relative. The amount of money received from Ontario Works will depend on family size, income, assets, and housing costs. Those eligible for Ontario Works may be able to receive other benefits such as medical and dental coverage, eyeglasses, moving or eviction costs and employment-related costs.
Ontario Works also assists applicants for the Ontario Disability Supports Program (ODSP) by providing immediate financial assistance, application for ODSP and advocacy in the appeal process. Applications for Social Assistance in Ontario can now be completed online at; https://saapply.mcss.gov.on.ca/CitizenPortal/cw/PlayerPage.do. Eligibility can also be determined at the same link without directly applying.
In 2014, a $240-million Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) software platform deployed by IBM's Cúram Software caused $20 million of overpayments to 17,000 Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (OW/ODSP) recipients, while thousands of others received token $5 monthly payments or nothing at all. Some were unable to pay for rent or electricity, in some cases leading to their eviction. Others were manually issued paper cheques.
List of ministers
- William Martin, 1930-1934
- David Croll, 1934-1937
- Mitchell Hepburn, 1937 (April–October)
- Eric Cross, 1937-1940
- Farquhar Oliver, 1941-1942
- Harold James Kirby, 1942-1943
- Farquhar Oliver, 1943 (May–August)
- Reginald Percival Vivian, 1943-1946
- Bill Goodfellow, 1946-1955
- Louis-Pierre Cécile, 1955-1966
- John Yaremko, 1966-1967
Social and Family Services
Community and Social Services
- René Brunelle, 1972-1975
- James A. Taylor, 1975–1977
- Keith Norton, 1977–1981
- Frank Drea, 1981–1985
- Bruce McCaffrey, 1983–1983
- Robert Elgie, 1985 (Feb 8 – May 17)
- Ernie Eves, 1985 (May 17 – June 26)
- John Sweeney, 1985–1989
- Charles Beer, 1989–1990
- Zanana Akande, 1990–1991
- Marion Boyd, 1991–1993
- Tony Silipo, 1993–1995
- David Tsubouchi, 1995–1996
- Janet Ecker, 1996–1999
- John Baird, 1999–2002
- Brenda Elliott, 2002–2003 (as Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services)
- Sandra Pupatello, 2003–2006
- Madeleine Meilleur, 2006–2011
- John Milloy, 2011–2013
- Ted McMeekin, 2013–2014
- Helena Jaczek, 2014–
- "Hamilton residents evicted due to faulty software: Whitehead". CBC Hamilton. 18 December 2014.