ODSP definition change will pose difficulties for persons with mental health disabilities

  • December 7, 2018
  • Anoop Kalsi

Ontario’s recent change to the definition of disability will result in difficulties for those who suffer from mental health disabilities to qualify for assistance under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

The government’s change includes aligning the definition of disability with the federal government’s definition under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

However, the federal definition is intended for those with a permanent disability. The federal government’s CPP Disability program has a different purpose than ODSP and presumes that ODSP exists – backstopping those who don’t meet the criteria.

The Liberals have “strong concerns” regarding the definition change, indicating that the CPP definition of disability and the threshold are much higher in order to gain access.

Historically, those suffering from mental health disabilities have struggled to get over the federal criteria, even where their issues are chronic. Now, those who cannot become self-supporting in the foreseeable future are going to be cut off from ODSP support. This difficulty in qualifying for ODSP support also affects people with mental health disabilities coming out of children’s services at the age of 18 and trying to support themselves in post-secondary education.

Bakerlaw believes this is a systemic violation of sections 15 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code. If you feel that you have been adversely impacted as a result of the ODSP definition change, please contact Anoop Kalsi at ext. 230 or akalsi@bakerlaw.ca.

You can read more about the ODSP definition change here (link) and here (link).

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