This paper provides a foundational tool to begin the discussion of assessing existing programs and envisioning future directives that include eligibility criteria developed in a principled manner. It is premised on the evolution of society’s understanding of disability as well as national and international legal and policy developments that have taken place over the last thirty years. Canada’s recent ratification of the CPRD, in March 2010, provides a progressive step towards integrating such principles into the design, development and delivery of income support programs for persons with disabilities.
Our application of the Rights-Outcome Lens to ODSP eligibility criteria identified the positive aspects of the program as well as areas that require immediate attention. The application of this theoretical framework that includes base principles and outcome measures is a starting point for creating a fuller means of moving forward with disability policy in the Province of Ontario. Next steps may include the derivation of key performance indicators to be used to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of disability-related income support programs.
It is important that the relationship among programs be taken into account, and any contemplated changes should be examined from a systemic rather than a program-specific perspective. Tightening eligibility criteria in one program most likely will lead to increased costs in another, or worse, will let individuals who use and need these programs fall between the cracks.
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