Several newsworthy changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 (the “Act”), came into force last year. For estates and trusts lawyers, the most important changes were increases in cash exemption limits, as well as increases in permissible payments to ODSP recipients. Specifically:
- basic cash exemption limits were increased for a single person (from $5,000 to $40,000), and for a spouse included with the person (from $7,500 to $50,000); and
- permissible payments from a trust fund, segregated fund, gifts and other voluntary payments were increased from $6,000 to $10,000 over a twelve-month period.
This year, further to the Wynn’s Government’s 2018 Budget, a change was to have been made to subsection 43(1) of the general Regulation of the Act. Subsection 43(1) currently delineates several items that shall not be included in income, including the following at paragraph 13:
“Payments in addition to a payment under paragraphs 1 to 12 that are payments from a trust or life insurance policy or gifts or other voluntary payments up to a maximum of $10,000 for any 12-month period.” [emphasis added]
The contemplated amendment is a striking of the words: “up to a maximum of $10,000 for any 12-month period“. The attached article reviews the intended change and its significance. The author cites that with these words being removed, other paragraphs relating to certain allowable gifts and voluntary payments would also be removed. The impact would reportedly include that beneficiaries of a trust may receive unlimited monies, and that recipients of ODSP benefits could receive unlimited gifts and voluntary payments. The $40,000 and $50,000 asset limits noted above would still apply, but RRSPs and TFSAs would no longer fall within the scope of such assets.
The modification to subsection 43(1) was to have already come into force, in part, but has not further to the Ford Government’s July 31, 2018 press release announcing that:
“Over the next 100 days, Ontario will work on a plan to reform social assistance…While work is underway, people receiving support through the Ontario Disability Support Program will receive a 1.5 per cent cost of living increase on September 1, 2018…While work is underway…Ontario will not proceed with initiatives announced in Chapter 1, Section 7 of the previous government’s 2018 Budget.”
It will be interesting to see what reform will be communicated to the public next month. We will keep you posted!
Thanks for reading and have a great day,
Natalia R. Angelini