Increases to Ontario’s Minimum Wages starting October 1, 2016
Increases to Ontario’s minimum wages will take effect on October 1, 2016:
- general minimum wage increasing to $11.40 per house (from $11.25)
- student minimum wage increasing to $10.70 per hour (from $10.55)
- liquor server minimum wage increasing to $9.90 per hour (from $9.80)
- homeworker minimum wage increasing to $12.55 per hour (from $12.40)
New Canada Child Benefit
In late July 2016, the government of Canada started paying the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to families with children. The CCB replaces the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit. Low and middle-income families will see an increase in their monthly benefits compared to the old child benefit system.
The CCB does not affect the Canada Child Disability Benefit.
In June, Ontario became the first province in Canada to confirm that the new CCB will not be clawed back from Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. So 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, or housing supports in Ontario.
Other provinces and territories have also confirmed that the CCB will not be clawed back from children on social assistance.
Child Support will no longer be deducted from OW and ODSP
Currently, child support payments are treated as income for OW and ODSP and are deducted dollar-for-dollar. Starting with the OW and ODSP benefits issued in late January 2017, both child support payments and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) orphan benefit payments will no longer be considered as income.
Social Assistance Rate Increases
Some OW and ODSP rates are increasing. Recipients will see these increases in the benefits that they receive at the end of October 2016. Some of the increases include:
- $18.00 per month increase to basic needs allowance for people with disabilities who receive ODSP (e.g. from $631 to $649 for a single recipient). No increase for their non-disabled family members and no increase to maximum ODSP shelter amounts.
- 1.5 – 2% increase to Remote Communities Allowance, Special Boarder Allowance, and guide dog benefit.
- $10 increase to maximum Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) from $470 to $480 per month.
- $25 per month increase to maximum basic needs amount for single adult OW recipients without children (from $305 to $330). No increase to maximum shelter allowance for single recipients.
- 1.5% increase to basic needs, shelter maximums, and board and lodge rates for adult OW recipients with spouses and/or children.
- 1.5 – 2% increase to Remote Communities Allowance, Advanced Age Allowance, Temporary Care Assistance, Special Boarder Allowance and guide dog benefit.
OW and ODSP amounts that continue to be frozen include:
- ODSP basic needs for non-disabled family members
- ODSP shelter maximums
- Special Diet Allowances and Infant Special Diet Allowances, which have not changed in many years.
Income Security Reform
Income Security Reform Working Group
In late June 2016, the Ontario government announces the establishment of a new Income Security Reform Working Group, stating:
Ontario has established an Income Security Reform Working Group to help guide the province’s efforts to reduce poverty, support people in their efforts to participate in the economy, and provide services in a way that makes sense to the people who need them. The province is working to move away from a complex system of social assistance, to a more holistic, client-centred approach to a broader income security system.
The group, which held its meeting on June 30, will report to the government with recommendations by the summer of 2017. You can find more information on the Ontario government website.
Basic Income Pilot
The Ontario government announced a “basic income pilot” in the 2016 Ontario budget. In June, the government announced that former Senator, the Honourable Hugh Segal, has been appointed to develop a discussion paper to be presented in the fall. The news release states:
Basic income, or guaranteed annual income, is a payment to eligible families or individuals that ensures a minimum level of income. Ontario will design and implement a pilot program to test the growing view that a basic income could help deliver income support more efficiently, while improving health, employment and housing outcomes for Ontarians. You can find more information on the Ontario government website.