McGuinty Government Expands Opportunity For Low-Income Families



    New Ontario Child Benefit Gives Everyone A Fair Chance

    CORNWALL, ON, Aug. 2 /CNW/ - Families who are eligible for the Ontario
Child Benefit have begun receiving their one-time down payment cheques,
Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur announced today.
    "Investing in our most vulnerable is about giving everyone an opportunity
to succeed in life," said Meilleur. "Our government has made steady progress
each and every year to help people and families get the supports they need to
break away from poverty - and we have no intention of slowing down."
    This year, the Ontario Child Benefit will provide eligible low-income
families with a down payment of up to $250 per child. The benefit will grow to
a maximum of $1,100 per child by 2011, with regular monthly payments beginning
in July 2008.
    The Ontario Child Benefit will help more than 600,000 families and nearly
1.3 million children every year, at maturity. To be eligible, a parent needs
to file his or her income tax return, register for the Canada Child Tax
Benefit, and meet other requirements such as Ontario residency and an income
test.
    "Our government has demonstrated how much it cares about families in this
province, and is especially committed to helping families who are struggling
on a low income," said Jim Brownell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh.
"The Ontario Child Benefit is a significant investment that will give more
children in Ontario the chance to succeed."
    Since taking office, the McGuinty government has been transforming social
assistance programs to create a simplified system that treats Ontario's most
vulnerable citizens with fairness and dignity, and makes it easier for people
to move from social assistance to employment.
    By providing benefits for children outside of the social assistance
system, the government is helping more people leave social assistance for
work. Other improvements to help low-income families in Ontario include:

    
    -  Increasing social assistance rates for the third consecutive year:
       3 per cent in 2005, 2 per cent in 2006 and 2 per cent in 2007
    -  Raising the minimum wage to $10.25 per hour by early 2010
    -  Extending health benefits for people exiting social assistance for
       employment
    -  Allowing social assistance recipients to keep registered education
       savings plan (RESP) funds so that their children can get an education
       and escape the cycle of financial dependency.

    "This is the right thing to do for our society and for the economy," said
Meilleur. "The strength of our province lies in its people - that's why we're
working hard to help them succeed."

    Disponible en français

                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca

                         www.OntarioChildBenefit.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

               ONTARIO CHILD BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY STEP-BY-STEP

    Depending on your family income, you may be eligible for the Ontario Child
Benefit down payment of up to $250 per child if you meet these requirements:

    1.  You are a primary caregiver of one or more children under 18 years
        old, born on or before June 30, 2007.

    2.  You (and your spouse or common-law partner) have filed your 2006
        income tax return and it has been assessed.

        If you have not filed a tax return, you can download an Income Tax
        and Benefit Package from the Canada Revenue Agency website at
        www.cra.gc.ca/forms. You can also call the Canada Revenue Agency
        toll-free at 1-800-959-8281.

    3.  You have registered for the federal Canada Child Tax Benefit.

        If you have not registered, application forms are available from the
        Canada Revenue Agency on their website at
        www.cra-arc.gc.ca/benefits/cctb or by calling the Canada Revenue
        Agency toll-free at 1-800-387-1193.

    4.  You are a resident of Ontario as of July 1, 2007.

    If you meet all of the requirements above, a cheque for the Ontario Child
Benefit down payment will be mailed out to you by the Canada Revenue Agency.
    Beginning in July 2008, if you qualify and file your yearly tax return,
monthly payments will be included with your Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)
and National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) payments.

    Disponible en français

                         www.OntarioChildBenefit.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Marc Despatie, Minister's Office, (416)
325-5219; John Letherby, Communications and Marketing Branch, (416) 325-5187

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