The Consumer Survivor Initiative Network (CSI) presented a forum on May 3rd at the Friends Center. Our day started off with a keynote speech by David Reville reminding us that we are responsible for each other and that we can be a powerful voice for change. We came together as a group of consumer/survivors to discuss the proposed changes to ODSP and also to discuss the housing crisis in Toronto that directly affects our participants and their health. Mike and Lubna from Working for Change presented a great power point presentation on the proposed changes to ODSP. There was much fear and discussion regarding the changes. For people from our community who rely on ODSP for income and supports these changes often cause anxiety in our community. Mike and Lubna attempted to lighten people’s fears and to explain what might be taking place in the near future with the new government’s proposed changes.
Further, we also had round table discussions surrounding the housing crisis in Toronto that directly affect almost all of our participants. There continues to be a growing shortage of supportive and affordable housing for our participants, many are forced to live in unsafe and un-kept squalor as the apartment buildings, or rooming houses are often places the landlord do not care if they maintain the building. We discussed what might be done and what actions we could take as a group to make the housing crisis less of a crisis. We will reconvene later in the year to continue the discussion on both topics.
The proposed changes to ODSP around definition of disability if changes go forward will have a devastating impact on those with Mental Health disability. Those who work in Social Enterprise that employs many people from our community will also have to face more punitive measures against their income. The claw back of 75 cents on each dollar over 6,000. We hope to hold a forum in Jan or early February to look more closely at these changes.