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02 2019

How Changes to Social Assistance Impact Food Bank Clients

Syndicated from: Daily Bread Food Bank

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. The government of Ontario has proposed a number of changes that will make it more difficult for people in need to receive social assistance and will also reduce benefits for those receiving Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Some of the proposed changes include: Changing the eligibility criteria for ODSP to use a more restrictive definition of disability;Increasing the amount of benefits that are clawed back when someone has part-time employment earnings; andEliminating the transitional child benefit that provides money to cover the basic needs of children who are temporarily or permanently ineligible for the Ontario Child Benefit.  Daily Bread Food Bank has joined two dozen organizations from across Ontario in a Campaign Against the Cuts to Social Assistance. Throughout September, Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies asked food bank 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” If social assistance is further eroded, we will likely see an increase in hunger in our city. On September 26, 2019, Daily Bread Food Bank met with the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services to discuss the potential impact of these changes on food bank clients. We were pleased that the Minister and this staff were very receptive to hearing our recommendations for strengthening social assistance. 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.  To find out how you can get involved, click here. For more information about the proposed changes to social assistance, read the Social Assistance Changes Summary.

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