Publications, opinions, and speeches

Policy brief

What Ontario can learn from the UK on reforming social assistance

Published on 29/10/2018

Download the policy brief (PDF)

The Ontario government is nearing the end of a 100-day review of social assistance and a plan that will “help get people back to work and keep them working, while supporting people with disabilities to work when they are able and participate in their communities.” It’s aiming to identify how it can tackle issues such as:

  • the amount of time spent by social assistance staff on paperwork;
  • the proportion of long-term claimants of Ontario Works;
  • the proportion of people returning to Ontario Works after a short period off it; and
  • the rising number of people on the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Over the past decade, the UK embarked on a series of welfare reforms with similar aims — to cut red tape while getting more long-term welfare recipients into sustained work. This paper summarizes the assessments of independent reviewers and auditors on the impact of those reforms and their value for money. It aims to identify lessons for Ontario as it pursues the same goals.

Download the policy brief (PDF)


Income security


As the Ontario government nears the end of a 100-day review of social assistance, we take a look at the UK's experience of a series of welfare reforms with similar goals.