For Immediate Release
March 27, 2001

David Szwarc
Interim Commissioner of Social Services
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 4939

Peel Saved Province Additional $4.7 Million In 2000

(Brampton) - Peel's Ontario Works program exceeded the average for the rest of the GTA in reducing the Ontario Works caseload in 2000 and as a result, the province of Ontario saved an additional $4.7 million last year.

In a presentation to Regional Council, Interim Commissioner of Social Services, David Szwarc, indicated Peel's financial savings are a result of the municipality's work in reducing the welfare caseload, which was 23 per cent lower in 2000 than in 1999. He also reported that Peel's caseload for 2000 was 7.6 per cent lower than the average for the balance of the GTA municipalities, who collectively decreased Ontario's welfare caseload by 15.4 per cent.

"Fewer people are depending on us for income support," explained Szwarc. "That fact has to do with our approach to welfare, which goes beyond issuing financial assistance. Our success in reducing welfare rates comes from Peel's ability to provide Ontario Works participants with practical help in finding a job and arranging community placements."

According to Szwarc, one of the ways that Peel connects people to paid employment is through the WorkFirst program. WorkFirst places employable Ontario Works participants into temporary employment, therefore reducing the amount of assistance paid. The program is a joint venture between the Region of Peel and private-sector employment placement agency Armor.

In 2000, 331 participants started 608 temporary WorkFirst job assignments. As a result of participants earning $699,544 (net), the Region was able to reduce social assistance payments.

Peel's Community Placement (CP) and Employment Placement (EP) programs help participants to build skills, gain valuable experience and secure employment. In 2000, Peel found 1,754 new community placements for participants, which translated into 155,100 hours of participation. In addition, 258 participants were placed in full-time paid employment.

This past year, Community and Social Services Minister John Baird presented Regional Chair Emil Kolb with a cheque in the amount of $666,000 for exceeding the province's 1999-2000 CP target.

"This past year we pioneered new ways for members of the Peel community to become self-sufficient. We are continuing that level of innovation in 2001," said Szwarc, whose presentation concluded with plans to increase the number of participants involved in Community Placement in 2001. If successful, the expansion of the CP program will generate increased provincial revenue for Peel, and the funds will be re-invested with the money earned this year in activities to develop more placements for program participants.


Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail

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