Starting in 2008, the Back-to-school and Winter Clothing allowances provided through OW and ODSP will no longer be paid out in lump sum payments, as the provincial government starts to move benefits for children out of social assistance and into the monthly Ontario Child Benefit program.
Families on OW and ODSP are expected to save up to buy winter clothes and school supplies throughout the year, despite the fact social assistance rates are so low most families can’t afford to pay rent and eat three meals a day.
In response to the community outcry, the Ministry of Community and Social Services has issued an internal bulletin to municipalities giving them the authority to use discretionary funding to provide families on OW and ODSP with assistance for this year only. The province will pay 80% of the cost. Municipalities like Toronto, London, Sudbury and Ottawa have stepped up but many other municipalities are not.
ISAC’s Action Alert and two Updates (Update May 2008 and Update July 2008) give ideas for what you can do to tell the Province, local OW/ODSP Directors and Municipalities to ensure no child goes to school without a backpack, pens and paper.
And use our press release template to get media attention.