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05 Nov

Two new policy papers from Ontario 360 on social assistance and skills-training reforms

November 5, 2019 | By |

Ontario 360 has published two new policy papers as part part of an independent, non-partisan series aimed at supporting provincial decision-makers.

November 5, 2019: Skills-Training Reform in Ontario: Creating a Demand-Driven Training Ecosystem, by Karen Myers, Kelly Pasolli, and Simon Harding

From the overview:

The world of work is changing. Changes in technology, demographics, and the environment are shaping the jobs of the future and the skills that workers will need to succeed in these jobs. While many early predictions about automation and mass layoffs were exaggerated, there is little doubt that the changing labour market is putting new pressures on Ontario’s employment and training system.

Is the system ready to meet these challenges? In this paper we argue that significant changes are needed to make Ontario’s employment and training system more flexible, responsive, and resilient to the future world of work. Our goal is to ensure that all Ontarians, including especially those most likely to be affected by technological changes and other disruptive trends, receive the support they need to navigate the changing world of work – while also making the system more responsive to the rapidly changing needs of employers and local economies.

October 29, 2019: Resetting Social Assistance Reform, by Noah Zon and Thomas Granofsky

From the overview:

Ontario’s social assistance program is intended to ensure that everyone has access to the necessities of life and to provide Ontarians in need with support to improve their lives. At a cost of $9.4 billion in 2018-19, it represents nearly 6 percent of the provincial budget and, behind health and education, it is the province’s third-largest social investment.

But as it stands, this investment isn’t producing the results that it should. Its shortcomings carry major costs for Ontario’s economy, the government’s budget, and for people’s well-being. The program was designed for financial emergencies, as a tool to keep people out of poverty, or lift them out of it. But instead it is the primary source of income for 6.7 percent of Ontarians. The average length of time a recipient relies on Ontario Works has doubled from 1.5 to 3 years over the past decade.

The goal of this paper for Ontario 360 is to provide advice on how the Government of Ontario can undertake reform that both improves outcomes for Ontarians with low incomes and is consistent with the government’s priorities. This report provides six key recommendations for social assistance reform.