Special Diet Allowance Eliminated

Special Diet Allowance Eliminated

Postby CLS » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:54 am

In a move that has been highly criticized by advocates for the poor and marginalised, the provincial government has announced that the 2010 budget will end the Special Diet Allowance benefit under both the Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Programs . The decision to scrap the benefit comes on the heels of an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decision which found that the Special Diet Allowance program was being administered in a discriminatory way with regard to the three lead complainants in a human rights complaint regarding the program.

As announced on the website of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/budget_social.aspx):

"What the 2010 Ontario Budget means for Ontario’s social assistance programs

The 2010 Provincial Budget announced on March 25, 2010, included changes that will affect both Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program:

* The elimination of the Special Diet Allowance
* The creation of a new nutritional supplement program, administered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, for individuals on social assistance with severe medical needs, and
* A 1% social assistance rate increase.

Elimination of the Special Diet Allowance and the creation of the Nutritional Supplement Program

The government has announced that the Special Diet Allowance will be eliminated and a medically based nutritional supplement program for individuals on social assistance with severe medical needs will be created. The new program will be administered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The government noted in the Budget that the allowance is not sustainable and is not achieving its intended results.

Last fall, the Auditor General of Ontario reported that many applications for the Special Diet Allowance were associated with questionable circumstances and recommended that the government review the allowance so as to limit its possible abuse.

There will be a transition period for the implementation of the nutritional supplement program and the elimination of the Special Diet Allowance.

The Special Diet Allowance will continue to be provided until further notice.

Further details on the elimination of the Special Diet Allowance and the implementation of the nutritional supplement program will be announced in the coming months."

Advocates working with clients who are currently receiving the Special Diet Allowance should be prepared for significant changes and possible loss of the diet-related benefits in their entirety.

Kathryn M. Bullon
Associate Legal Education Coordinator,
Community Law School
Kathryn M. Bullon, B.Sc., J.D., M.Ad.Ed.
Legal Education Co-Coordinator
Community Law School
CLS
Site Admin
 
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