Sunday, February 2, 2014

Unfair treatment of spouses of those living with disabilities

Do you believe that if a non-disabled person marries someone with a disability that they should still be able to save for their retirement? Hopefully every one’s answer to this question would be yes. So it may surprise you that here in the province of Ontario, Canada our government would answer no to this very same question. You see here in Ontario our government offers people living with disabilities income support through something known as the Ontario Disability Supports Program. It surely has it's benefits but as you will soon find out it also has one major flaw.

First I will start by asking you; do you believe that if a non-disabled person marries someone with a disability that they should be able to save for their retirement? You may answer this question with a yes - absolutely, but yet again the Ontario government would say no. Unfortunately rules set out by the Ontario government that govern the Ontario Disability Supports Program forbid non-disabled spouses from saving for their retirement. You see here in Canada if someone wishes to save for their retirement they get something known as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan - also known as an RRSP. Currently the only way for a non-disabled spouse of someone on ODSP to be allowed to have an RRSP is if it is locked in by their employer, this means that they would only be unable to access the funds when they reach the age of 65. Sadly here in Canada a large majority of employers don’t offer locked in RRSP’s. This means that non-disabled spouses of those on ODSP who work and whose employers don’t offer locked in RRSP’s as an option are unable to save for their retirement. It may come as a surprise but this would mean that anyone who marries someone with a disability who relies on ODSP in Ontario will reach the age of 65 with no retirement savings. So I have to ask the question; shouldn’t everyone even those who start a relationship or marry someone with a disability on ODSP still have the right to save for their retirement?
You can help - Please copy and paste this blog post and send it to the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne by Clicking Here or on the image below.

After all on the webpage she has made this promise to the residents of Ontario: “Our government will build Ontario up. Ontario will be the best place to live, from childhood to retirement.” She may need to be reminded that it is time that this actually became a reality.


  1. My daughter was cut off ODSP because she married and her spouse had money saved in his RRSP before he met her. Is he required to cash out his RRSP because he married a disabled person? He now has to submit monthly reports to ODSP. He has lost his privacy rights because he married a disabled person. I think this is disgusting how disabled people are treated by a program that is supposed to support them. Treat them as lesser people with these rules. The ODSP uses many of the same rules as for Ontario Works ( welfare) But disabled people have much more obstacles thant people who are on Welfare. Its not the same.
    Anyways, I have submitted a grievance with human rights on her behalf. I have found a loophole . However, being up against these corporate lawyers, I don't think I have a chance. i went to CBC about this, but they don't care.
    Where is the forum where we can complain and be heard.
    I see big injustices here and there seems to be nothing that can be done.
    I wrote to the onbudsman, but no help there.
    I wrote to Eva Janecek , but no help there.. especially there. Her response was pathetic.. implying that advances have been made.
    Sorry guys.. if you are disabled, you have so many obstacles to deal with .
    I wish I had more power to advocate for you all.
    I will keep fighting.
    We need a politician who has a disabled child who may be able to bring about some change.

    1. Plain and simple we are punished for being married, yes the CBC doesn't care about sharing our stories, no many forums to complain just a few Facebook pages is all I know of, I have sent over 20 letters to various MPP's with no luck. My local MPP who was thankfully voted out in the last election refused to see me to talk about the issues with ODSP. Yes something needs to change. The ODSP Coalition is supposed to fight for us but could honestly care less about the flaw in ODSP that punishes us for being married. Also look into the Basic Income Pilot Project that is launching as this is something we need to fight for, making it an important issues in the upcoming election, maybe we need to start a campaign to make this an election issue.

    This is my daughter's story if anyone is interested
    See above link.

    1. Read your daughters story, think we need to join together to get the word out, please email me using the contact found on the right hand side of my blog.