Teacher reading book to her class


Dear Ontario Parents: Take Your Government Strike Rebate and Run

Feb 11, 2020

Last month the Ontario government announced that eligible parents would be receiving financial support on days when schools are closed due to strikes. The amount refunded depends on a few factors, with the amount of support ranging from $25 to $60 per day that a school is closed. Ontario Education Minister, Stephen Lecee, who announced the government rebate, also says that if every eligible family applies for financial support it could cost the government up to $48 million dollars per day. Lecce also included the fact that every single day that all unions withdraw their services amounts to $60 million dollars in savings for the government — leaving $12 million taxpayer dollars left over.

This mom opens up about how the Ontario teacher strike has impacted her family and many others that she knows. Read that story here.

If you’re a parent impacted by the recent strikes, then you likely know that the daily reimbursement doesn’t really cut it. I just spent $135 for one day of childcare this week for my two kids, and will be receiving $65 in government support for each strike day. I registered for the financial support offered shortly after the Ford government announced its availability, but I still haven’t received payment. Some lucky parents have reported being overpaid in their strike rebate, a fact that is so ironic it’s almost painful.

"There is no reason why we should be allowing the government to continuously pocket millions of dollars every single day there’s a strike."

Still, I know friends who haven’t registered for the rebate, for multiple reasons. Others are registering for the payment but choosing to donate the funds to their schools in an attempt to stick it to Ford and his conservative buddies. Others are using funds to purchase workbooks and educational activities for their children. And many are using the funds to supplement the cost of emergency camps, which in my experience, are far more expensive than the daily allowance.

Earlier in the week a report stated that only approximately one quarter of eligible parents had registered for their rebate, but within 24 hours that amount jumped significantly when over 100,000 more applicants rolled in. Still, there’s plenty of parents out there that haven’t registered for their rebate, and my big question is: why not? There is no reason why we should be allowing the government to continuously pocket millions of dollars every single day there’s a strike. The government and their refusal to bargain with the unions, and their insistence on making cuts that hurt our kids, are the reason we’re in this position. Ontario parents: Take the money and run.

This single parent had two kids enrolled in university and another in high school when she was given the pink slip. Read her story here

Even if you don’t have your kids enrolled in childcare during the strike, you’re still eligible for the money. You can donate it to your child’s classroom or parent council, you can slip a few grocery cards to underpaid school support workers who are sacrificing their pay to fight for our kids. I haven’t even received my money yet — which will amount to $455 at the end of next week. Still, my money is already spent. I’ve been enrolling my kids in much-needed emergency camps so that I can continue my work as a freelance journalist. Because I have some work flexibility, I don’t send them every single day. On other days I’ve hired younger students to come and spend the day with my kids and I’ve also been supplementing their education with activity books, lots of extra reading and fun educational activities.

Whether you work outside the home, work from home or are a stay-at-home parent, you deserve that government rebate. Chances are your grocery bill has increased with your kids home and bored, your hydro will likely rise with kids home during peak and mid-peak hours, and your day-to-day routine will have changed. I don’t care how parents choose to spend their money — they can hire a cleaner to clean their likely extra-messy houses or buy a bottle of wine for all I care. Just get the money that you deserve.

In case you forgot, here’s the link to apply.

Are you a parent? Are you a writer? Do you have a different opinion on this subject? Please reach out to us with a pitch here.

Article Author Brianna Bell
Brianna Bell

Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based out of Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe and Mail.

Brianna's budget-savvy ways has attracted media attention and led to newspaper coverage in The Globe and Mail and The Guelph Mercury.

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