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CAMH welcomes the final report from the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario

People with mental illness and addictions need income and employment supports to live their best lives

For Immediate Release - October 24, 2012 – (Toronto) –Today CAMH welcomed the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario’s final report “Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario” especially those proposals that would improve the lives of people with mental health issues.

“Many of our clients struggle to navigate the current social assistance program and experience challenges in finding and sustaining employment”, said CAMH President and CEO, Dr. Catherine Zahn.  “With 60 per cent of ODSP recipients having a mental disorder, we know we have a significant economic and societal challenge to overcome.”   

CAMH contributed research and clinical expertise to the development of the report, particularly related to best practices for the employment of people with mental health issues.  The report highlights the importance of sustainable employment for all social assistance recipients, including those with disabilities, while also recognizing that a stable income is necessary for those who cannot work.  

The majority of the report’s recommendations focus on enabling employment and building a better benefit structure – key components of recovery for those with mental illness and addictions. Dr. Zahn noted that of the report’s recommendations, accelerating Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to include employment as a key outcome is crucial to moving forward.

Other important recommendations include:

  • Supporting alternative forms of employment (e.g. self-employment, social purpose enterprises);
  • Introducing collaborative employment planning between recipients and case workers;
  • Strengthening and improving access to employment services and supports;
  • Creating a standard rate for all adults (based on real costs of living), with disability benefits, children’s benefits and extended health benefits available outside of social assistance; 
  • Allowing an additional $200/month in employment earnings without an impact on benefits

For more information, view a copy of the full Brighter Prospects Report.

Media Contact:  Michael Torres, CAMH Public Affairs, 416 595-6015.


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.

CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

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