By LENNOX FARRELL
Are you aware that if your child, under age 17, is involved in a sport like soccer, or an activity like painting, you can have available tax benefits? Or if your teen needs dental work and you’re unable to afford it, and meet the provincial, eligibility criteria? Again, what is available to you is justly yours as part of our country’s social contract. It is one between the governed: those electing and paying taxes; and the governing: those elected and wisely budgeting according to need and eligibility.
It is part of the character of the country; part of the expectations of justice we take for granted; part of the reasons why Toronto is one of the few cities in the world with the distinction of being a Sanctuary City! A city in which both legal residents and the undocumented can be blessed by our combined efforts and contributions. Of course, major challenges remain; one being the iniquitous challenge of anti-Black racism. However, are you not part of a community which has changed this country, province and city for the better? Take a bow, and read on.
And the read is well worth the effort, especially if you are serving the needs of others. A real gem is finding everything in one website, like the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/financialhelp/ocb/index.aspx
Since there are many more services offered under the above topic than can fully be listed, the following will form the bulk of the info carried here; again by category and contacts. Most of the following is lifted verbatim. Thus, since there are also deletions, summations etc., for want of space, it is more useful if you are able to visit the site, and/or call the linked phone contacts. And especially for those not computer savvy, and/or without the necessary assistance, here goes:
- Child Rearing Drop-out Provision (CRDP). This program allows for periods of low or zero Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contribution to be excluded from the calculation of CPP benefits when these periods are spent caring for a child under the age of seven. Toll-Free: 1-800-277-9914
- Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYC): A network of early learning/parenting centres, these provide early years programs and services accessible to children, parents, caregivers. Toll-Free: 1-800-206-7218
- Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB): This provides financial assistance to all Canadian families with young children. This is regardless of where they live; family circumstances, or preferences. Parents receive this per month, per child under age six. 1-800-387-1193
- Employment Insurance Family Supplement (EIFS): This is a feature of Unemployment Insurance (EI). It provides additional benefits to low-income families with children. Toll-Free Free 1-866-821-7770;
- Mental Health Services: Child and youth mental health services/supports provide a range of planned interventions for children, youth and families. Toll- Ontario Child Benefit: Free: 1-866-821-7770
- Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits are for the following: individuals who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are adopting a child, or are caring for a new-born. Toll-Free: 1-800-206-7218
- Financial support for low-income families to assist in providing for their children. Toll-Free: 1-866-821-7770
- viii. Children’s Activity Tax Credit: For children enrolled in activities such as painting classes, soccer, music lessons, etc., You can claim for each, a designated amount in eligible expenses for each child under age 16; with a disability age 18. Adjusted each subsequent year for inflation. Toll-Free: 1-866-668-8297;
- ix. Applying for a birth, marriage or death certificate in Ontario. Toll-Free 1-800-461-2156;
- x. Ontario Child Care Supplement for Working Families: Awards benefits to eligible low/moderate-income families with dependent children under age seven. To be eligible you must also be receiving Canada Child Tax Benefit. Toll-Free: 1-877-533-2188;
- Children’s Rehabilitation Services: This provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy for children with physical disabilities and/or communication disorders. Toll-Free: 1-866-821-7770;
- xii. Child Care Bursary (CCB): A non-repayable bursary assists students who have child-care costs for three or more children (see child-care assessment costs for first and second children in Student Loans/Study Grants). Toll-Free: 1-800-387-5514;
- Healthy Smiles Ontario: provides for youth 17 and under without access to any form of dental coverage. If eligible regular dental services available at no cost to you. Toll-Free: 1-866-532-3161;
- Ontario’s Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program: Designed to give children born blind or with low vision assistance. Toll-Free: 1-866-821-7770;
- Infant Hearing Program: Provides for deaf or hard of hearing to develop language and communication skills. 1-800-268-1154;
- Nobody’s Perfect: Provides parenting education and support for parents of children from birth to age five. Enquiries: 613-952-1220;
- Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD): Offers funding to eligible students with disabilities who are enrolled in a recognized post-secondary institution. Toll-Free: 1-800-387-5514;
- Developmental Disabilities: Provides early intervention services to children who have a developmental disability, or are at risk of developmental delay. Toll-Free: 1-866-821-7770.
There is a great deal more. Best of all would be if your organization or family appoints someone with the responsibility to call these government agencies and request material you can scope and use, as you should.
To be continued: I am a student in Canada.