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Ontario Works Caseloads

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Data source – Peel Social Services

  • During the three-month period October – December 2017, the number of Ontario Works (OW) caseloads recorded in Peel increased by 1.8 per cent relative to the similar quarter of 2016 to a total of 56,054 cases.
  • This was the strongest quarterly increase in OW caseloads in five quarters, reflecting an elevated level of OW caseloads generally, but a relatively low level of cases in the similar quarter of 2016.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2016, total OW caseloads moderated from over 56,000 cases in the two preceding quarters to 55,046 cases.
  • In subsequent quarters, total cases trended upwards to reach the 56,054 cases recorded in October – December 2017.
  • The comparison of OW caseloads which returned to previous levels with a quarter in which it was below normal levels, exaggerated the increase to the 1.8 per cent observed.
  • When viewed in terms of monthly average caseloads, Peel’s OW caseloads increased from 18,349 cases in October – December 2016 to 18,685 cases in October – December 2017.
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Data source – Peel Social Services
  • The increase in OW caseloads in the final quarter of 2017 pushed total caseloads for 2017 to 168,086 cases, representing a 0.1 per cent increase relative to the 224,140 cases, up 0.6 per cent from the 222,886 cases recorded in 2016.
  • This was a further slowing in the annual rate of increase in Peel’s OW caseload to its lowest level since 2007.
  • When translated into average monthly caseloads, the number of caseloads in Peel in the year 2017 was 18,678 cases, up from 18,574 for the full year 2016.
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Data source – Peel Social Services; Labour Market Survey, Statistics Canada
  • The slowing in the rate of growth in Peel’s OW caseloads occurred alongside continued increase in employment in Peel’s labour market.
  • However, the level of OW caseloads in Peel remained elevated; a condition which has persisted for almost a decade and may reflect a combination of factors including:
    • The changing structure of Peel’s economy and labour market;
    • The changing labour market due to factors such as globalization; and
    • The influence of a growing population.
  • Over the past decade, employment growth in Peel’s labour market has been driven by more “precarious” type employment such as temporary, part-time and self employment.
  • Further, as the population grows, the number of persons seeking social assistance may increase, despite a stable or even falling proportion of persons requiring such support.
  • In 2017, average monthly caseloads in Peel as a proportion of Peel’s total population fell from 1.24 per cent in 2016 to 1.31 per cent.
  • This occurred as the growth in Peel’s population (2.2 per cent) far outstripped the relatively small 0.1 per cent increase in average monthly OW caseloads observed in 2017.