Income Security Fund Shuffle

Aug 2 2014

It has been reported that the basic needs allowance of single parents on social assistance will be reduced by $8 dollars starting August 1, due to the increase in Ontario Child Benefit bound to happen on October 1 (Carol Goar, The Star, July 31, 2014). In a context where the cost of living raises much faster than the social assistance rates, which are already ​gravely inadequate, reducing basic needs allowance when raising the Ontario Child Benefit is simply wrong policy. The continuing fund shuffle is confusing and negatively impacts confidence and the feeling of safety of parents on social assistance. It can actually prevent people from going out and looking for work, if that is the objective of the rate restructuring.

The Child Benefit is supposed to be universal and tied to the tax returns, not the social assistance income. The shuffle must have a cost that is not reported in budget discussions but is reasonably expected to be eliminated with the Social Assistance Reform. Does it not make better sense to shore up those who are most disadvantaged by increasing the child benefit and increasing the social assistance rates making it possible for families to house, feed and clothe their children to give them a truly decent start in life?