On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
July 2023
A round-up of inflation supports and a new benefit for people with disabilities
Starting July 1, 2023, Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates increased by 6.5% and will be adjusted yearly based on inflation. And the federal government sent out a Grocery Rebate on July 5 with people’s GST/HST tax credit.
While these changes are aimed at helping people with the increased cost of living, they fall short of what advocates have been asking for.
The federal government has also just passed the Canada Disability Benefit Act, which creates a new benefit for working-age people with disabilities. Over the next year, the government will be working out details like who’ll be eligible and how much the benefit will be.
ODSP increase
ODSP increased by 6.5% on July 1, 2023. The basic ODSP rate for a single person with the maximum shelter allowance is now $1,308 a month. This is up from $1,228.
The 6.5% raise applies only to the core amounts like:
  • basic needs for singles and families
  • shelter maximums for singles and families
  • board and lodge amounts for singles and families
  • the maximum amount provided for a couple where both have disabilities
The 6.5% increase does not apply to several other benefits that ODSP recipients often get. This includes the Remote Communities Allowance, Special Diet Allowance, and the Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Nutritional Allowance.
There are no increases to Ontario Works (OW). If people have questions about their OW benefits, they should contact their caseworker. If they're having problems getting benefits, they can contact their local community legal clinic.
ODSP tied to inflation
ODSP rates are now indexed to the annual inflation rate. This means that once a year, ODSP rates go up by however much inflation went up that year. If there’s no change to inflation or if inflation rates go down, ODSP rates stay the same.
Inflation is calculated using the Consumer Price Index for Ontario, which measures how much the cost of things like food and housing have gone up or down.
New benefit to help Canadians with disabilities
The Canada Disability Benefit Act is now law. The Act sets out the framework for a new national benefit for working-age people with disabilities who are living on a low income.
The benefit will be added to existing federal and provincial disability supports.
The government has until June 2024 to make the regulations for how the benefit will work, including:
  • who is eligible
  • how to apply
  • how much the benefit will be
  • the appeal process
While these regulations should be made by June 2024, it will likely take longer before anyone can apply for and start getting the benefit.
Grocery Rebate
The Canadian government sent out a one-time Grocery Rebate on July 5, 2023. The rebate went to people who were eligible to get the GST/HST credit in January 2023.
People do not have to apply for the Grocery Rebate. But they need to have filed their 2021 tax return.
The amount of the Grocery Rebate is double what someone's GST/HST credit was in January 2023. For example, if someone got $117 as a GST/HST credit in January, their rebate will be $234.
People get the rebate and the GST/HST credit that they normally get.
Someone may be eligible for the Grocery Rebate, but not for July's GST/HST credit or the other way around. This is because the Grocery Rebate is based on their 2021 tax return. But the July GST/HST credit is based on their 2022 tax return.
People do not have to spend their Grocery Rebate on groceries. They can spend the money on whatever they choose.
If someone thinks they should have gotten a Grocery Rebate but did not get a payment on July 5, they should wait 10 days before contacting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for help.
Help filling out tax returns
For people who cannot afford to pay for help to fill out their income tax returns, there are free volunteer tax preparation clinics.
Community legal clinics may be able to refer people to local free tax clinics. People can also contact 211 Ontario.
Steps to Justice logo
Related resources
Double OW and ODSP Rates Now!
Income Security Advocacy Clinic (ISAC)
New Grocery Rebate
Government of Canada
Income support from ODSP
Government of Ontario
Canada Disability Benefit
Disability Without Poverty
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