Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO statement on Minister MacLeod's social assistance reform plan

The minister of children, community and social services, Lisa MacLeod, says her government needs to change social programs because the policies of the previous government perpetuated a cycle of poverty for those receiving assistance. The minister adds that the best social program is a job.

Nurses know that while work is everyone’s goal, not everyone can transition to a job. In their day to day practice, nurses attend to patients who can’t work because they are homeless, suffer from debilitating mental and physical illness, can’t afford day care or suffer daily from utter poverty.

Minister MacLeod promises to provide wrap-around support for those receiving social assistance, including housing, life skills and treatment for addiction and mental health – all things RNAO strongly supports. But the minister also says she will change eligibility rules for future applicants seeking disability support, and that she will do so using federal rules. Nurses say doing so will mean fewer people will receive support.

RNAO and its 42,000 RNs, NPs and nursing students urge the minister and Premier Doug Ford to consult with people who rely upon disability pay and social assistance, as well as with health-care and social service providers. RNAO also calls on the government to not to change Ontario’s definition of disability.


For more information, or to interview a nurse, please contact:

Marion Zych
Director of Communications RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Office: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209

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