The Honourable Todd Smith Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services
Hepburn Block 6th Floor 80 Grosvenor St. Toronto, ON M7A 1E9
September 16, 2019
Dear Minister Smith,
We are writing to you today with regard to the Transition Child Benefit (TCB).
Earlier this summer, it came to light that your government was planning to axe the TCB, effective November 1st, 2019. Given the inevitable and devastating repercussions of this decision for vulnerable families, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath, asked the former Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa MacLeod, about her decision to cancel the TCB in Question Period on May 27. Ms. Horwath highlighted that cancelling this income supplement would directly impact parents’ ability to provide the necessities of life for their children. It would force families to choose between putting food on the table, and paying their rent. The former Minister confirmed that the program would end, but would not explain how vulnerable families would be able to survive without this vital income support, or how the government would ensure that their children would continue to be supported.
As you know, the TCB was introduced in 2008, and as a monthly income supplement, it supports some of the most vulnerable families in Ontario. It is meant to be a transition, while parents wait to receive the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB). The TCB helps families who do not receive the OCB, including low-income families, newcomers, parents with newborns, parents waiting for the OCB to kick in, families who have sudden changes in their income, or have an outstanding issue with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Your cut will throw these families into immediate chaos. Recent reports from the Income Security Advocacy Centre tell us that this means approximately 32,000 children will be denied basic needs when the TCB is cut.
Families can receive up to $230 per child per month with the TCB, so as you can imagine, eliminating this support without putting anything in its place would be devastating for these parents. It would force already low-income and low-resource families deeper into poverty. We have been contacted multiple times by parents who rely on this benefit, and who are scared for their future. We have also been contacted by support agencies and municipal services, who are concerned about the inevitable influx in demand when more families can’t afford the necessities of life. We want to be able to assure them that the government will not leave them without support when the TCB ends on November 1st.
We are asking you, as the new Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, to please answer questions that the former minister would not back in May:
Has your government given any consideration to the implications of this cut for vulnerable Ontarians and their children? Can you explain why the government is ending the Transition Child Benefit, which provides supports to Ontario’s most vulnerable children? Will you cancel this cut immediately, so that tens of thousands of children are not forced into deep poverty?
We anticipate your prompt response.
Lisa Gretzky, MPP
Laura Mae Lindo, MPP