The Commission intends to provide the government with well-grounded, evidence-based recommendations consistent with this mandate by:
- Drawing on the perspectives and input of various stakeholders and communities acrossOntario, including people with lived experience, advocacy groups, labour organizations, business and other levels of government. Separate discussions are being held with First Nations to ensure reforms meet their needs and priorities.
- Implementing a research agenda and developing a knowledge base that captures key research findings and the experience of other jurisdictions, and engages researchers, academics and technical experts to address gaps in our current understanding.
In February 2012 the Commission released Discussion Paper 2: Approaches for Reform, which discusses different approaches to improving some of the key areas of the social assistance system. Through this paper, the Commission is seeking further input and advice from stakeholders and communities by March 16 to help frame recommendations to the government.
This second discussion paper advances the dialogue that began last June, with the release of A Discussion Paper: Issues and Ideas. Over the summer the Commission encouraged people acrossOntario to come together in groups to engage in a discussion on the pressing issues facing social assistance, so that proposed solutions reflect the unique perspectives of different regions and communities. The Commissioners joined these “community conversations” in 11 communities: Windsor,London,Hamilton, Niagara Region, Peel Region,Toronto,Peterborough,Kingston,Ottawa,Thunder Bay andTimmins. In each community the Commission invited local organizations to come together to convene a series of sessions and site visits involving a wide range of stakeholders, In all, more than 2000 individuals were engaged through the visits.
Input from community conversations, other stakeholder meetings and the more than 700 submissions received in response to Issues and Ideas has been integrated with findings from the research agenda and incorporated into the different approaches outlined in Approaches for Reform.