Kitchener-Waterloo

Ontario invests $8M to give low-income earners financial help

The Ontario government announced Tuesday it is providing funding for social groups across the province to help people living on low incomes manage their finances.
Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services Helena Jaczek was in Kitchener Tuesday to announce funding to help social groups across the province help low-income earners manage their money. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

The Ontario government will provide funding for social groups across the province to help people living on low incomes manage their finances.

Helena Jaczek, the minister of community and social services, was in Kitchener Tuesday to announce The Working Centre will be receiving $600,000 spread over four years to fund their financial empowerment and problem solving program.

"For many people living on low incomes, gaining financial literacy skills is an important step in becoming more financially secure and independent," Jaczek said of the announcement.

In total, the province is investing $8 million in programs to help low-income earners better manage their finances. The funding will support The Working Centre and five other groups: EBO Financial Education Centre in Ottawa, WoodGreen Community Service in Toronto, Family Service Thames Valley in London, Sudbury Community Service Centre and Thunder Bay Counselling Centre.

Programs boost confidence

Stephanie Mancini, the co-ordinator of The Working Centre, said the money "feels like a great gift."

Last year they helped more than 4,000 people complete their tax returns.

"They like to come and work together with someone who knows the rules, who understands how the best way to do this [is], who knows which box to tick on which form so that they can actually get the tax credits that are there for them," she said.

We have three staff that work on the financial empowerment and problem solving project. They work all out, all day, there's never a break for these folks because the demand is there and the need is there.- Stephanie Mancini, The Working Centre

"By coming in and getting support, they have confidence that they're doing it right and they can actually improve their income over the year as a result of the tax credits."

When asked if the funding was enough, Mancini said it will go a long way.

"We have three staff that work on the financial empowerment and problem solving project. They work all out, all day, there's never a break for these folks because the demand is there and the need is there," she said. "We're so thrilled with four years of funding."

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