Daily Bread Food Bank applauds the announcement made by the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services today that the government will not be moving forward with two of their proposed changes to social assistance:
- The Transitional Child Benefit, which provides money to cover the basic needs of children who are temporarily or permanently ineligible for the Ontario Child Benefit, will no longer be eliminated
- The amount of benefits clawed back when someone has part-time employment earnings will no longer be increased from 50% to 75%
Along with organizations across Ontario, Daily Bread Food Bank has been actively advocating against these changes, as they would have ultimately led to less money in the pockets of social assistance recipients, further fuelling the cycle of poverty.
Our 2018 Who’s Hungry report revealed that 68% of food bank clients receive social assistance as their primary source of income and the amount is already too low to meet their most basic needs, like food.
In September, food banks across Ontario asked their clients how the proposed changes to social assistance would impact their lives.
This is what they said:
“I would lose my apartment.”
“My children go to bed hungry already. I have no money for lunch at school.”
“I will get less money and have to skip meals.”
“I would not be able to pay my bills or rent.”
“It would put me on the street.”
“I won’t be able to pay my medical bills.”
“I will have to choose between rent or groceries”
On September 26, 2019, Daily Bread Food Bank met with Todd Smith, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services to discuss our research on the potential impact of these changes on food bank clients.
We are very pleased to hear that the Ministry has responded to our concerns and acted on our recommendations to not move forward with the proposed changes to employment earnings and child benefits.
The Ministry has not commented on whether they still plan to move forward with making the definition of disability more restrictive to determine eligibility for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). We will continue to advocate for an inclusive definition of disability to ensure all people who face barriers to employment have an adequate standard of living.
The government has announced that they are looking to develop a broader plan to enhance social assistance and employment services. We look forward to working in close collaboration with the government to identify innovative ways to enhance social assistance service delivery and ensure benefits are reflective of the cost of living.