Low-Income Ontarians To Get Help With Electricity Costs

Archived Release

Low-Income Ontarians To Get Help With Electricity Costs

Ministry of Finance

Program Would Assist Almost 1.5 Million Low-Income Families TORONTO, April 12 - The Ontario government will introduce legislation that would, if passed, provide $100 million in assistance to low-income Ontarians, up to $120 per family, to help them with rising electricity costs, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced today. "We're providing this assistance to low-income families, because we know they spend a greater share of their income on electricity costs," Duncan said. "We're proposing a one-time payment that builds on our Budget commitments to support the most vulnerable in our province." It is anticipated that families consuming about 10,000 KWh/year will face an average increase of about $10 per month. Under the proposed Ontario Home Electricity Relief program, single people would receive one-time payments of up to $60, while families would receive up to $120. To qualify for the relief, those eligible would have to file their 2005 tax returns on or before December 31, 2006. The following chart shows the amount of the proposed relief payment based on family type and net income: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- INDIVIDUALS FAMILIES ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Net Income Proposed Relief Family Net Income Proposed Relief ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Up to $14,000 $60 Up to $23,000 $120 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- $15,000 $50 $25,000 $100 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- $16,000 $40 $27,000 $80 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- $17,000 $30 $29,000 $60 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- $18,000 $20 $31,000 $40 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- $19,000 $10 $33,000 $20 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- $20,000 and up $0 $35,000 and up $0 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Ministry of Finance estimates that almost 1.5 million families would be eligible for this payment. If the legislation is proclaimed, relief payments will begin in the fall of 2006. The program would build on initiatives proposed in the 2006 Budget, including: - Making permanent the flow-through of the July 2004, 2005 and 2006 increases to the National Child Benefit Supplement; - Two per cent increase in social assistance rates for recipients of Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program, in addition to the three per cent increase in 2004-05; - Enrichment of the Ontario Property and Sales Tax Credits so that seniors who receive the guaranteed minimum level of income from governments would get the full benefit of the credits; - Additional support for at-risk youth; and - Other key investments in developmental services, other supports for the vulnerable and affordable housing. In addition, the government is doubling the provincial Emergency Energy Fund to $4.2 million, including $500,000 for First Nations members living on reserve. The fund helps social assistance recipients and other low-income households pay for utility arrears, security deposits and reconnection costs for electricity, natural gas, oil and other forms of energy. "Our government recognizes that even a small change in energy costs can have a significant impact on people with low incomes," said Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services. "This increase to the Emergency Energy Fund is another way we are working to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens." Disponible en français www.fin.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------ INCREASING ONTARIO'S EMERGENCY ENERGY FUND FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES The McGuinty government is doubling the Emergency Energy Fund to $4.2 million to help low-income Ontarians facing energy-related emergencies. This includes $500,000 for First Nations members living on reserve. The Emergency Energy Fund was created in 2004 to help social assistance recipients and other low-income households pay for utility arrears, security deposits and reconnection costs for electricity, hydro, natural gas, oil and other forms of energy. The program is run by municipalities across the province and by the Ontario Native Welfare Administrator's Association on behalf of First Nations. Between June 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005, the Emergency Energy Fund helped more than 2,700 households in Ontario, providing an average of $467 in assistance. During the same period, the fund provided an average of $201 in assistance to 244 First Nations households. The amount provided depends on many factors, including the number of months that the energy is disconnected and the variable cost of reconnection fees. The fund pays emergency assistance directly to energy providers. People are entitled to emergency assistance from this fund once, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Funded entirely by the province, the Emergency Energy Fund is part of a comprehensive plan designed to help low-income families in Ontario. Disponible en français www.mcss.gov.on.ca Contact Info For further information: Sean Hamilton, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8679; Scott Blodgett, Ministry of Finance, (416) 325-0324; Paul Doig, Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5187; Public Inquiries: Toronto area: (416) 325-5666, Toll-free: 1-888-789-4199, TTY: 1-800-387-5559 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Sean Hamilton, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8679; Scott Blodgett, Ministry of Finance, (416) 325-0324; Paul Doig, Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5187; Public Inquiries: Toronto area: (416) 325-5666, Toll-free: 1-888-789-4199, TTY: 1-800-387-5559