ODSP and Arts Grants Questionnaire

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