Can my ODSP benefits be cut off because of a “medical review”?


2.   If you have a review date, you should make sure that you continue to see your doctor regularly for treatment.  Make sure your doctor understands how your medical problems affect your day-to-day living.

3.   If you get a notice that your medical status is being reviewed you should contact the Legal Clinic right away for help.


What will happen if I have a medical review?

     ODSP will give you 90 days to complete the entire Disability Determination Package – this is the same amount of time you had to complete the package when you first applied.

     This means that you will have to get all the required forms and letters completed and submitted within that time.  You will also have to notify ODSP of any delays in getting the paperwork done.   

     You should make sure that the doctor completing your form has a copy of your first application for ODSP so that they can include any conditions that you still have from that time; they should also include any new medical conditions that may have arisen since you first applied for ODSP.

        If you are reviewed and they decide you are no longer eligible for ODSP:


1.     Contact the Renfrew County Legal Clinic right away for help appealing the decision.  You have 30 days to ask for an internal review which you have to do before appealing the decision to the Social Benefits Tribunal.

2.     You can choose to stay on ODSP benefits until your appeal is heard. This is called interim assistance.  You must ask for interim assistance from the Social Benefits Tribunal when you appeal your decision.

3.      If you lose the appeal, however, you may be required to pay back all the interim assistance you got while you were waiting for your appeal.  

4.     If you do not appeal or your appeal is denied, you will be allowed to stay on benefits for three months from the time ODSP first decided you were no longer disabled in order to “aid transition” off ODSP. You may have to apply for Ontario Works once your ODSP finishes; you should contact the Legal Clinic if you are denied Ontario Works assistance.


**With files from the Peterborough Legal   Centre and Income Security Advocacy Centre

Laura Hunter, Staff Lawyer

     Medical reviews are a normal part of the ODSP system.  Many people are given a “review date” when they are found eligible for ODSP benefits because their medical condition is expected to improve. However, medical reviews were not being done on a regular basis for many years.  ODSP has now started doing medical reviews again.  People receiving ODSP who have reached (or passed) their review date are being selected randomly across the province.

     Not everyone receiving ODSP will be reviewed.   If you were transferred from the old Family Benefits program, or do not have a “review date” on your disability benefits, you do not have to be concerned about medical reviews.  Also, those people who receive both CPP disability benefits and ODSP benefits will not be reviewed.

     We are told that ODSP is doing 100 new reviews each month. This is only a small number out of the total number of people getting ODSP in the province of Ontario right now.  However, if you are selected, you must take steps to respond right away.



What is the process for the review?

     The review process will require people to have their doctor fill out another Disability Determination Package (DDP).  This means that people who are having their file reviewed will have to go through the entire ODSP application and disability assessment process all over again.  

     This is a matter of concern to the Renfrew County Legal Clinic and other advocates for the disabled because we believe the law says ODSP should be considering whether or not a person has improved since they were last found to be disabled, not starting again from the beginning.


 What should I do now?

1.   You should check to see if you have a review date.  The letter that you received from ODSP when you were first granted benefits may set out a date. Or, if you were granted benefits after appealing to the Social Benefits Tribunal, the Tribunal decision may specify a  review date. If you are not sure, you can contact the Legal Clinic for help.





New Location at the Renfrew Armouries


Hours of Operation:

The last three Tuesdays of the month:

The first Tuesday - 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The middle Tuesday - 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The last Tuesday - 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.


Please mail donations to:

339 Raglan Street, P.O. Box 30022, Renfrew, ON K7V 1R6

Your donation helps Food Bank volunteers keep the shelves full. 

Thank you.


Attention Tenants!!


Are You Facing Eviction?

             If you receive a Notice of Hearing you should go to your Hearing!   We may be able to help stop the eviction whether it is because of rental arrears or any other reason. Call us. Our legal services are free!

             We can advise you, negotiate a settlement, and represent you at Landlord and Tenant Board if needed.  


Did you receive a Notice of Eviction?  

             It does not mean that you have to move out! You can only be evicted by an Order of the Landlord and Tenant Board. If you decide not to move out by the date on the Notice, a Hearing will be scheduled before the Landlord and Tenant Board. 


Did you receive a Notice of a Hearing? 

             You should always go to your Landlord and Tenant Board Hearing even if you have decided that you want to move out. Duty Counsel for tenants is always at the Landlord and Tenant Board Hearings and they may be able to help you delay or stop the eviction or negotiate an agreement with your landlord.   

Free Money For The Disabled Through Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) 


By Amy Scholten, Staff Lawyer  

     A registered disability savings plan (RDSP) is a savings plan that is intended to help people with disabilities or their families save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. 

      Your contributions to an RDSP are not tax deductible. You can make contributions to the RDSP until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59 years of age. 

     Anyone can contribute to the plan with written permission from the account holder. There is a lifetime contribution limit of $200,000.00. The deadline for contributions is December 31 of that year.


     The Government will match your contribution with a grant up to $3,500.00 in one year and $70,000.00 over a lifetime (up to age 49) depending on your family income and the amount you contributed. If you are a low-income or modest income Canadian, then the Government also pays a bond up to $1,000.00 a year into your RDSP with a lifetime limit of $20,000.00 (up to age 49). You are not required to make any contributions to receive the annual bond. 

     To encourage savings, the grants and bonds must remain in the RDSP for at least 10 years.  This means that whenever money is withdrawn from the RDSP, all grants and bonds paid into the RDSP during the ten years before the withdrawal must be repaid to the government.  When you do eventually withdraw money from the RDSP, some of that income will be taxable. Regular withdrawals must begin by 60 years of age, but amounts can sometimes be withdrawn before then if needed.

      An RDSP is treated as exempt income and assets by the Ontario Disability Support Program. It also has no impact on your federal benefits such as the Child Tax Benefit, GST, Old Age Security, and Employment Insurance.         

     In order to qualify to open a RDSP you need:

  1. To have a long-term disability;
  2. Be under 60 years of age;
  3. Be a resident of Canada with a Social Insurance Number;
  4. Be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit; and, 
  5. Be prepared to have a long-term savings plan (minimum of 10 years). 

     To apply for the grant and bond, fill out an application form. You can find one at participating banks, credit unions or other financial organizations or at www.disabilitysavings.gc.ca. The completed form must be given to your bank, credit union or other financial organization for grants and bonds to be paid.


Do you know about the Canada Learning Bond?


What is it?

     Money from the Government of Canada to help you start saving early for your child’s education after high school. 

     Your child could get $500 NOW to help you start saving early for your child's education after high school, and an extra $100 each year up to age 15. That’s up to $2,000 (plus interest) in bonds for your child’s education. And you don’t have to put any of your own money into the RESP to get this bond. 

     An extra $25 will be paid with the first $500 bond to help cover the cost of opening an RESP. 

     The bond can be used to pay for full- or part-time studies in an apprenticeship program, a CEGEP, trade school, college or university. 


Who can get the bond?

     Your child can get the $500 Canada Learning Bond plus an extra $100 per year up to age 15 if:

  • your child was born after December 31, 2003, and 
  • you get the National Child Benefit Supplement as part of the Canada Child Tax Benefit, commonly known as “family allowance” or “baby bonus.” 



How do you apply?

It's a simple 2-step process.

  1. Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for yourself and your child. There's no fee. However, certain documents, such as a birth certificate, are required. 
  2. Open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) account with an RESP Provider that offers the Canada Learning Bond.

     You don’t even have to put money into the RESP. Your RESP provider will apply for the bond, which will be deposited directly into your child’s RESP account.

For more information:

  • Contact 1 800 O-Canada (1 800-622-6232). 
  • If you use a TTY, call 1 800 926-9105. 

Or visit a Service Canada Centre near you.


And you should know »»»»»

RESPs held by any member of the benefit unit for persons related to them by blood, marriage or adoption (e.g. son, daughter, nephew, grandchild, etc.) are not counted as assets by ODSP or Ontario Works.  


What is the Renfrew County Legal Clinic?

We are a non-profit community legal clinic dedicated to promoting access to justice for low–income people in our County.   We are a staff of five— three lawyers and two support staff.  We are funded by Legal Aid Ontario and are governed by an elected board of directors made up of Clinic members from across  Renfrew County. 


What does the Clinic do?

►Provides free legal advice by telephone or in-person;

►Provides representation to low income residents on a case-by-case basis;

►Provides speakers and educational materials;

►Acts as a resource to groups that help low income residents;

►Participates in law reform.


Would you like us to speak to your group?

We provide presentations on a number of topics to groups and organizations in the County.   

Here are some examples:

  • “What Tenants Need to Know”
  • “Your Rights at Work”
  • “Ontario Works and Ontario Disability—Navigating the System”
  • “When the Collection Agent Calls”

Please call us if you would like to arrange a free presentation.    


How can you become involved?

People who live or work in Renfrew County may become members of the Clinic and may attend and vote at all members meetings.   If you would like to become a member, please click on Membership Tab above or call us for a membership application.  Membership is free.



© 2008 Renfrew County Legal Clinic


 Renfrew County Legal Clinic                                                             


Inside this issue:


  • ODSP Medical Reviews


  • Food Bank Notice


  • Tenants: Are You Being Evicted?


  • Registered Disability Savings Plan


  • Do You Know About the Canada Learning Bond


  • What is the Renfrew County Legal Clinic?


Newsletter Spring 2011 

Your Rights When Dealing With Collection Agencies

The Collection Agencies Act does not allow collection agencies to do certain things.

A collection agency may not:

►Contact you until six days have passed from sending you written notice of the following:

  •      The name of the creditor
  •      The balance owing
  •      The name of the agency and its authority to demand payment

►Continue to contact you if you did not receive the notice unless a second copy of the written notice is sent to an address provided by you, and then contact may only be made six days after sending notice.

►Contact you if you send a registered letter to the agency saying that you dispute the debt and suggest the matter be taken to court.

►Contact you if you and/or your lawyer notify the agency by registered mail to communicate only with your lawyer, and you provide the lawyer's name, address and telephone number.

►Contact you on Sunday, except between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on a holiday.

►Contact you other than by ordinary mail more than three times in a seven-day period without your consent, once the agency has actually spoken with you.

►Use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language, or use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure.

►Continue to contact you if you have told them that you are not the person they are looking for unless they take reasonable precautions to ensure you are that person.

►Give false or misleading information to any person.

Recommend to a creditor that a legal action be commenced against you without first sending you notice.

►Contact your employer except on one occasion to obtain your employment information, unless your employer has guaranteed the debt, the call is in respect of a court order or wage assignment or if you have provided written authorization to contact your employer.

►Contact your spouse, a member of your family or household, or a relative, neighbour or acquaintance except to obtain your address and telephone number unless the person contacted has guaranteed the debt or you have given permission for the person to be contacted.

If a collection agency has done any of these things, file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Branch. The legal clinic can help you do this. Please call us.


**with files from the Ministry of Consumer Services  



Newsletter Spring 2012 Coming Soon!!!
Newsletter Spring 2012 Coming Soon!!!