Helping Ontario Families
The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario is part of the McGuinty government's Poverty Reduction Strategy. Since 2003, the government has made significant investments in children and families including:
- Raising social assistance rates by nearly 15 per cent since 2003. This year's increase will provide an additional $55 million in benefits to families and individuals receiving social assistance.
- Creating the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB), which currently provides up to $1,100 per child to more than one million children each year. Families receiving the OCB will see their benefit increase up to $1,210 per child next year and $1,310 the following year. An additional 90,000 children and 46,000 families will benefit from the increase.
- Introducing the Ontario Trillium Benefit in 2012, which provides regular monthly assistance to low- and moderate-income families.
- Raising the minimum wage from $6.85 per hour in 2003 to $10.25 per hour in 2010.
- Introducing full-day kindergarten. Up to 120,000 of Ontario's four- and five-year olds at 1,700 schools are benefiting this year. This means families save up to $6,500 per year in child care costs by enrolling their child in full-day kindergarten.
- Investing in the Student Nutrition Program. By investing $17.9 million this year and partnering with charities, businesses, school boards and other levels of government, 660,000 children will receive healthy food in Ontario schools.
- Signing a three-year Investment in Affordable Housing agreement with the federal government. This has added almost half a billion more dollars in new funding over the next four years, in addition to the $2.5 billion already invested in the largest affordable housing program in Ontario's history.
- Offering programs such as Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children and Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Child Nutrition, and providing $22.4 million this year for child well-being and prevention services to First Nations communities.
- Introducing important changes to social assistance to better connect clients to the workforce such as:
- Simplifying rules around earnings exemptions so that the more you work, the more money you keep.
- Extending drug, dental and vision care benefits for people leaving social assistance for employment.
- Increasing the maximum deduction for informal child care costs from $390 to $600 per month per child to provide another child care option for working parents.
- Exempting earnings for recipients attending post-secondary education full-time.
The McGuinty government's plan already has made a difference for families. For example, a single parent with two children ages five and seven receiving Ontario Works and the Ontario Child Benefit will see their annualized income increase by $7,175 in 2012 compared to 2003 -- an increase of 42 per cent.