Eves government helps an additional 22,000 people leave welfare in 2002

Archived Release

Eves government helps an additional 22,000 people leave welfare in 2002

TORONTO, March 7 /CNW/ - Brenda Elliott, Ontario's Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services announced today that in 2002 more than 22,000 people have joined the 600,000 people who had already left Ontario's welfare system.
"The Eves government's welfare reforms are working," said Elliott. "As a result of our reforms and Ontario's strong economy, more than 620,000 people have moved from welfare to work since June 1995 - saving taxpayers more than $13 billion."
Minister Elliott made the announcement at the Massey Centre for Women, a community agency that provides housing and resources for young mothers and their children. The Massey Centre for Women offers a variety of supports to young mothers who are participating in Ontario Works through the province's Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP) program. LEAP helps young parents complete their education, learn about caring for their children and get jobs.
"I am pleased to be involved with the LEAP program which gives young parents and their children a chance at a better life," said Nancy Peters, Chief Executive Officer of the Massey Centre for Women. "This program offers supports and opportunities to those who really need them."
Under Ontario Works, more than $180 million is available to support a wide range of employment assistance activities. This includes funding for welfare recipients to upgrade their education, take advantage of job training programs, gain work experience through community and private sector placements, and participate in LEAP.
"In 1995, more than one million people in our province were on welfare - in fact, one in eight Ontarians were collecting welfare. The former system did little more than hand out cheques," said Elliott. "This government has completely transformed social assistance into a program of opportunities to help Ontario Works participants overcome barriers to getting a job."
Ontario Works also provides: literacy screening and training to help people get the basic skills they need to go on to further training or get and keep jobs; addiction treatment to help people overcome addictions that are barriers to getting jobs; and advanced training to give caseworkers the skills to better help people facing barriers to employment.
"This government remains committed to helping all Ontario Works participants move from welfare to work no matter how complex their needs," said Elliott.

Fact Sheet
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March 7, 2003

LEARNING, EARNING AND PARENTING PROGRAM

LEAP Eligibility

The Ontario Works Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP) program provides supports to young parents so that they can complete their high school education, learn to be good parents and get jobs.
LEAP is mandatory for 16 and 17 year-old parents on welfare who have not completed high school. Parents aged 18 to 21 on welfare who have not completed high school may also participate in LEAP.

LEAP Delivery

LEAP is part of Ontario Works and is delivered by established Ontario Works municipal delivery agents across the province. In 2002, $29 million was made available by the province to municipalities for LEAP supports.
LEAP builds upon existing resources and links young parents and their children with community agencies, programs and services.

Earned Incentives

LEAP provides an incentive for participants who graduate from high school and successfully complete a minimum of 35 hours of parenting courses.
Successful participants may choose either a $500 bursary to be used for their own post-secondary education or training, or $500 to be held in trust for their children's education. Participants who choose the second option are encouraged to put the money in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) so that they may be eligible for a Canada Education Savings grant of 20 per cent.

Other LEAP Supports

LEAP participants have access to the full range of supports available under Ontario Works to help them with their attendance and success at school and their parenting and earning activities. Other supports may include:

- transportation costs to get to and from school, child care, parenting
and earning activities;
- funding for additional school supplies, school clothing and
educational trips; and
- counselling.

Child Care Supports

LEAP participants may need child care to attend school and to participate in the various parts of the LEAP program. LEAP delivery agents will work with participants to help determine the most effective and appropriate child care supports.

LEAP Components

Learning

- promotes high school graduation by requiring participants to
regularly attend an educational program leading to a high school
diploma;
- provides supports for participants with second language, literacy or
numeracy problems, as well as learning or other disabilities; and
- identifies and addresses barriers to school attendance and academic
success.

Earning

- identifies opportunities to develop employment skills and become
job-ready;
- promotes participation in school co-op programs, youth apprenticeship
and other work experience programs, such as job shadowing, as well
as part-time and summer employment; and
- plans for transition to employment or further education as
participant approaches graduation.

Parenting and Child Development

- promotes children's growth and development by supporting parents to
become more effective caregivers and educators;
- focuses on the parenting needs and circumstances of the participant;
and
- parenting courses.

Disponible en fran├žais

For more information visit http://www.cfcs.gov.on.ca
For further information: Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services, (416) 325-5156; Christine Bujold, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5219