Two recent announcements from the Ministry of Community and Social Services will be positive for people with children who receive Ontario Works and ODSP benefits.
Parents to keep full amount of child support payments
As promised in the 2016 Ontario Budget, the Ministry of Community and Social Services has taken steps to end the dollar-for-dollar clawback of child support payments from social assistance benefits.
In an announcement on June 29, the Ministry said that parents who get benefits from both Ontario Works and ODSP will be able to keep the full amount of any child support they receive.
The Ministry is also eliminating the requirement for parents to pursue child support from their child’s other parent, which often meant a difficult and adversarial process in the courts. This will allow parents to make their own decisions about how to reach financial settlements for child support.
These changes will start in early 2017 and will benefit nearly 19,000 Ontario families, most of whom are single parents.
This is very good news for parents on social assistance and their allies, like ISAC, who have been advocating for these changes for many years. It signals a new willingness on the part of the Ministry to eliminate punitive rules and find ways to increase the incomes of people receiving social assistance.
The government’s announcement is available here: https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2016/06/ontario-ensuring-that-vulnerable-families-keep-child-support-payments.html
No clawback of new Canada Child Benefit
The new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will start being paid later this month. Low- and middle-income families will see an increase in their monthly benefits compared to the old child benefit system, which included the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement, and the Universal Child Care Benefit.
On June 17, Ontario became the first province in Canada to confirm that no clawbacks will be made to social assistance benefits as a result of the new CCB.
ISAC and other advocates were concerned that Ontario might take advantage of federal rules that allow the provinces and territories to hold back portions of federal child benefits from people receiving social assistance.
This announcement confirms that families on social assistance in Ontario will receive the full amount of the increased payments. In addition, the CCB will not affect eligibility for social assistance, child care subsidies, children’s dental benefits, and housing supports.
ISAC pushed hard for government to make this commitment. Campaign 2000 partners in other provinces have had similar victories. As of today, eight provinces and two territories have confirmed they will not claw back the CCB from children on social assistance.
You can read the government’s announcement here: https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2016/06/ontario-ensuring-vulnerable-families-keep-full-canada-child-benefit.html.
You can find out which provinces and territories have committed to no clawbacks here: http://campaign2000.ca/campaign-2000-welcomes-new-canada-child-benefit/.
You can use the Canada Revenue Agency’s Child and Family Benefits Calculator to determine how much your payments may be:
General information about the Canada Child Benefit is available from CLEO here: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=acaece29df8d07c95ef84a763&id=3f35d311f8.