ODSP Action Coalition, Media Arts Network Of Ontario, Workman Arts, ACTRA Toronto, and Tangled Art + Disability
ODSP and Arts Grants Questionnaire
Are you an artist and a recipient of ODSP? We need your help!
The ODSP Action Coalition, Media Arts Network Of Ontario, Workman Arts, ACTRA Toronto, and Tangled Art + Disability are working together to gather stories and experiences of being both an artist and a recipient of ODSP.
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is a social assistance program run by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. It provides income support and employment support to people who receive it.
In order to qualify for ODSP your income and assets cannot be above certain amounts. All payments to a person receiving ODSP are considered income, unless they are specifically exempted by the rules governing ODSP.
Different kinds of income for ODSP recipients are treated differently. For example, employment or self-employment income is partially exempt, meaning you can keep some of it but part of it is deducted from ODSP. But you can keep 100% of gifts or money that people give you voluntarily, up to $6000 per year. And you can keep all income that is intended for disability-related expenses, but must get approval from the ODSP office for this. Because there are so many different rules, it is not clear how arts grants will be treated.
Some artists who receive ODSP support are concerned that if they are awarded arts council grants their ODSP payments will be reduced, or cut off completely. They may also be concerned that they will no longer qualify for the health benefits they currently receive. Since ODSP support is not enough to cover living expenses and the costs of making art they face barriers to advancing as artists.
The ODSP Policy on Canada Council of the Arts Grants and Ontario Arts Council Grants states: These grants are not specifically exempt under ODSP…The details of the specific grant should be reviewed to determine the nature of the grant, how it is paid and the circumstances under which the grant is provided. (Directive 5.1)
These reviews are conducted by ODSP case workers and individual recipients have had a range of experiences.
This is where you come in.
If you’re an artist and are or have been recipient of ODSP, please fill out the questionnaire. The questionnaire is voluntary and confidential.
The information we gather will help us to seek changes that would allow artists who receive ODSP to develop and thrive as professionals.
That means we could see more plays, films, books, songs, etc. created by and about people with disabilities.
If you have any questions about this questionnaire, please contact:
Eliza Chandler, Tangled Art + Disability