Queen's Research Data Centre

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Ministry of Community, Children and Social Services (MCCSS) - Ontario Social Assistance Data

July 17, 2019

Statistics Canada and Ontario Ministry of Community, Children and Social Services (MCCSS) are pleased to announce the availability of the MCCSS/Ontario Social Assistance Data derived from the case management records of the Ontario Social Assistance programs.

The Ontario’s social assistance programs provide income and employment support to single adults and families who are in financial need. There are two social assistance programs:

  • Ontario Works (OW) provides financial and employment assistance to help people move towards paid employment and independence.
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) provides financial assistance and employment support to enable people with disabilities and their families to live as independently as possible in their communities.

Social assistance policy directives can be accessed through the following link: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/directives/index.aspx

The available microdata contain de-identified client-level administrative income support information for the period 2003 to 2014 (October) organized into five (5) separate files:

  • benefit unit (family) information;
  • member information;
  • pay detail (benefit) information;
  • income/deduction information; and
  • skills information

Access to monthly time-series data on OW and ODSP provincial caseloads from 1990 to 2014 is also available consistent with the microdata.

Researchers would find the data useful in examining:

  • disability (including financial and human impacts);  
  • effects of social assistance on demographic sub-groups (e.g. urban/rural clients, immigrants,  newcomers, etc.);
  • effective, sustainable employment outcomes and motivating people to work;
  • social assistance caseloads and long-term attachments/dependency, including influence of policy instruments and external factors (i.e. socio-economic and labour market conditions); and
  • inter-jurisdictional comparisons.

For any questions related to accessing this data, please contact your local Research Data Centre.

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