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LETTER: Lack of compassion humiliating when trying to find affordable housing

Letter writer compares ODSP amounts to Canadian Emergency Response Benefit
2021-03-20 Letter

The following letter was submitted in response to our story entitled Collingwood 'Nanna' is homeless but determined in impossible search for a home. Letters can be submitted to Please include your full name, address, and phone number for verification. 


Those people who rely on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) for support, must truly wonder at how their worth is measured by the provincial government. They must also be humiliated by the lack of compassion when trying to find affordable housing.

So many are turned down when they declare their source of income is from ODSP.

Most people on ODSP are, in fact, disabled. Most do not want to be receiving provincial support. Most would prefer to work but because a disability, the cannot.

Social assistance rates are not indexed to inflation, so while the cost of living continues to rise, those on social assistance are left further behind. Ontario Works and ODSP rates are lower today than they were in the 1990s when adjusted for inflation.

How then did the federal government decide that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, established during the COVID-19 lock downs, should be $2,000? That's more money than people on ODSP receive each month. 

The benefit was available to workers:

  • residing in Canada, who were at least 15 years old
  • who stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or were eligible for Employment Insurance, regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
  • who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application, and
  • who did not quit their job voluntarily

Read that last bullet point again!

The majority of ODSP recipients didn't leave their jobs voluntarily - they left because a disability prevented them from continuing to function in their jobs sufficiently.

Why must those who need help the most, struggle so much to have their basic rights be considered worthy of being set at an acceptable rate?

Debbie Hickey
Meaford, ON