ODSP and OW hike made Hamilton MPP’s first priority


Published February 15, 2024 at 1:44 pm

Sarah Jama ODSP

Hamilton Centre’s independent MPP Sarah Jama has announced her priority list for when Queen’s Park resumes business. The first item is two motions to increase the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability support programs.

Jama has had to reorient herself in Queen’s Park over the last few months after she was ousted from the NDP caucus and censured in the legislature following her commentary about the Isreal siege of the Gaza Strip.

On Feb. 13, Jama released a list of her legislative priorities.

As a result of feedback from constituents, Jama made housing, healthcare, social assistance, and the environment her core priorities. Today, she said her first actions as an independent will be to forward two motions in Queen’s Park to boost ODSP and OW.

“I’ve heard disability benefits are just not enough to meet the soaring cost of rent in this province,” Jama said in a video on Feb. 13. This, she said, prompted her motions to tie ODSP payments to the average rent in the recipient’s city and ensure benefits do not change when a recipient gets married.

The provincial government increased ODSP for 2024 with a 6.5 per cent hike. This is the first increase from the Ford government since they took in Queen’s Park in 2018. A single recipient now receives $1,308 a month, though only part of that money is designated for shelter. Per Rentals.ca, Ontario’s average one-bedroom rent is now $2,239.

Jama hosted a press conference on Feb. 15 to discuss her motions alongside members of the ODSP Action Coalition. She described ODSP as “legislating people into poverty.”

“Disabled people who cannot work are living on social assistance across this province…who just can’t make ends meet,” she continued, “The amount of money the province gives disabled people is not enough to pay for rent, room and basic necessities.”


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