August 9, 2010
The Ontario Legislature is adjourned for the summer but Ontario’s registered nurses continue to be deeply concerned about the unremitting need and fear experienced by our patients, clients, and neighbours who require access to nutritional resources currently provided by the Special Diet Allowance Program.
When Ontario’s 2010 Budget was revealed on March 25, it stated that the Special Diet Allowance Program would be replaced with a new nutritional supplement program to be administered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care rather than the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
This announcement has caused many vulnerable Ontarians who currently receive the Special Diet Allowance as part of the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program to worry that they will no longer be able to meet their nutritional needs that are exacerbated by health challenges. The government’s decision to change the program has been interpreted as a disturbing sign about the degree to which it is committed to poverty reduction and the importance of protecting the human rights of people with disabilities.
These concerns were communicated in a letter from the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, the ODSP Action Coalition, and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario to the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, on May 25, along with Five Principles for a New Nutritional Supplement Program.
The full text of the letter to Minister Matthews and the Five Principles for a New Nutritional Supplement Program may be downloaded here and at the bottom of the page.
As of early August, no consultation process has been announced.
Please Act Now! Here are three things you can do:
- Endorse the Five Principles for a New Nutritional Supplement (Organizations and Individual Endorsements welcome) at the 25 in 5 website
- Email the letter below to Premier Dalton McGuinty. Copies will also automatically be sent to Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth, Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance, Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition, and Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party. You can edit the letter to include illustrations from nursing practice on the importance of access to nutritious food for health, especially for those faced with chronic health challenges in low-income contexts.
- Share this action alert with your colleagues, neighbours, friends, and family. Invite them to take action through the Take Action page at the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction and/or through this action alert.
Addison, Webster, M. (2010). Save Ontario’s diet allowance. Toronto Star. August 7, 2010.
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, ODSP Action Coalition, and Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. Five Principles for a New Nutritional Supplement Program . Toronto: Authors. May 2010.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. (2010) Five Principles for a New Nutritional Supplement Program , August 3, 2010
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. (2010) . Put Food in the Budget Joint Statement: Implications of 2010 Ontario Budget for Food Security and Health of People Receiving Social Assistance , August 3, 2010
Creek, M., Grinspun, D., & Vose, K. (2010). Letter to Minister Deb Matthews. Toronto: 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and ODSP Action Coalition. May 25, 2010
Toronto Public Health (2010) Update on Proposed Changes to the Special Diet Allowance, June 22, 2010
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
ODSP Action Coalition