- Social Assistance Review Commission Report
- on June 15th, 2012
Ontario is currently undergoing a review of the social assistance system. In April, SCP met with the Review’s Commissioners to share our recommendations related to employment services for social assistance recipients. The result of this review will be a report released by the Commission sometime this summer.
At the heart of all our recommendations is a simple but radical idea: the social assistance system specifically (and all government funded employment programs generally) must be transformed from one that is primarily supply-based, to one that is much more demand-based. Or put into more understandable terms, we think the current system is effectively operated and funded to view the individual on social assistance seeking employment as the customer (the supply side) but doesn’t make it easy or productive for employers (the demand side) to hire them. The system rarely either explicitly or implicitly treats employers as customers.
What would a more demand or employer focused system look like? Employers would be involved in the design of pre-employment training so that it was explicitly linked to their needs; workforce development strategies would be based on identified future labour shortages; the placement function would be delivered by organizations that speak the language of employers, understand their requirements, offer one point of contact and treat them as a valued customer; and, system funding and performance would be linked to successful employment and retention outcomes and overall employer satisfaction from hiring through this channel. Our recommendations address each of these areas.
The following objectives are at the heart of our recommendations to the Commission:
1. Reduce the number of people who are on social assistance and return to social assistance within the year
2. Involve business as partners in the design of employment and training programs
3. Link skills training with employer and industry needs (demand-led workforce development)
4. Deliver services through agencies that understand employer requirements
5. Create long-term public savings through a reduction in the number of people in receipt of social assistance and increased economic productivity