Registration

Welcome Policy

Financial Assistance for Low Income Families

The City of Toronto's Welcome Policy provides a fee subsidy to help low income individuals and families who live in Toronto access City-operated recreation programs. If you are approved for Welcome Policy, you will receive an annual financial subsidy that can be spent on any of the wide variety of high-quality recreation programs offered by the City throughout the year.

Effective January 1, 2016 the individual annual credit amounts will be increased to $514 for children and youth and $239 for adults and seniors. Welcome Policy recipients can look up their balance online.

Applicant (Main Contact on Application Form) must be at least 18 years of age or older.

ExpandHow can I check my Welcome Policy balance?

Once you have been approved for the Welcome Policy, you will receive a letter containing a confidential Family Number and a Client Number for each member of your household. You will need your Family Number and Client Number to check your Welcome Policy balance. You may also get your Family Number and Client Number by calling 416-338-4386.

The easiest way to check your Welcome Policy balance is online or by calling 416-338-4386 to speak with a staff person.

ExpandWho is eligible for the Welcome Policy?

To be an Applicant (Main Contact on Application Form), you must be at least 18 years of age or older.

Applicants and their families must also:

  • Live in the City of Toronto
  • Have a before tax family income of less than Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) shown in the chart that appears below:
    • 1 person - $24,328
    • 2 persons - $30,286
    • 3 persons - $37,234
    • 4 persons - $45,206
    • 5 persons - $51,272
    • 6 persons - $57,826
    • 7 or more persons - $64,381
      The chart was updated by Statistics Canada July 2015.

Ontario Works (OW) recipients automatically meet the income requirements and should speak to their caseworker about Welcome Policy. OW recipients do not require an Application Form.

ODSP and ACSD recipients meet the income requirements but are required to submit an Application Form with the supporting documents (verification of ID, address, and income).

ExpandHow do I complete a Welcome Policy application form?

  1. Enter the information for you and for each family member living with you (applicant, spouse, child/children).
  2. Check any applicable boxes in the "Proof of Income" section.
  3. List all sources of income for each family member 18 years of age and older
  4. The annual pre-tax income must be entered for each source of income that is listed. For example, if your pre-tax income is $20,000 and your spouse's pre-tax income is $17,000, you would enter $37,000 as the amount of Total Family Income.
  5. The information you enter on the Application Form must match the information on the identification, address and income documents you provide.
  6. Sign the application form.

 

ExpandWhat documents do I need to support my Welcome Policy application?

For identification purposes, please provide any one (1) of the following documents for each family member:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident Card
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Passport
  • Ontario Driver's Licence
  • Immigration and refugee document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Photo Health Card
  • Ontario Photo Card

* All identification documents must have the full names and date of birth*
* Social Insurance Cards are not accepted*



For proof of address in Toronto, please provide any one (1) of the following documents:

  • Lease/Rental Agreement
  • Current Utility Bill
  • Current Child Tax Benefit Statement
  • Current Bank Statement
  • Mortgage Statement
  • Property Tax Bill
  • Ontario Driver's Licence
  • Ontario Photo Card

* Must have full name with current address*



For proof of income, please provide all income for each family member who is 18 years of age or older:

  • Canada Revenue Agency's current year Notice of Assessment with line 150


If you are unable to provide your Notice of Assessment, please provide most recent statements for all family income, for example:

  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) with proof of total family income
  • Employment Insurance (EIB): Record of Employment & My Current Claim Page from your My Service Canada online account
  • Pay stub(s) showing income for the last 30 days

If you are unable to provide proof of income, you may submit a signed letter from a representative of a social agency or religious institution that lists all family members, verifies your total family income, and includes your address.

All required supporting documents must be photocopied. Do not send originals.

ExpandHow do I submit my Welcome Policy application form?

Mailing your Welcome Policy application

Before mailing your application, please make sure:

  • You have completed all the sections.
  • The information you provided is accurate.
  • Your signature is on the form.
  • You have included copies of all the necessary documents.

Applications should be mailed to:

City of Toronto
Welcome Policy Application
55 John Street - Mail Room
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 3C6

Dropping off your Welcome Policy application

Completed Welcome Policy applications and supporting documents can be dropped off at any Toronto Employment and Social Services office or Civic Centre.

Faxing your Welcome Policy application

You can also fax your Welcome Policy application and supporting documents to 416-338-5046. Please note that faxing is not a secure method of transmitting information.

ExpandHow will my Welcome Policy application be processed?

  • To ensure that your application is processed as soon as possible, please make sure that you send in all the required documents and complete all sections of the Application Form.
  • Once your Welcome Policy (WP) application has been received and processed, you will be notified of the outcome by mail.
  • The City of Toronto may need to request additional supporting documents to determine WP eligibility. You will be notified by mail if additional documents are required to complete the application process.
  • Once all the requirements are met, a WP confirmation letter will be mailed to you.
  • The WP subsidy will be added to your account the day your application is approved. For example, if you are approved for WP subsidy on November 1, it can be used to register in programs on November 1.
  • You must apply to renew your WP subsidy every year unless you are in receipt of Ontario Works (OW). If you are in receipt of OW your WP subsidy will automatically be renewed.
  • The Welcome Policy subsidy is valid for a 12-month period from the day it is approved and issued. For example, if it is approved and issued on June 1st, the Welcome Policy will be effective from June 1st of the current year to May 31st of the next year.

ExpandWhen do I re-apply for the Welcome Policy?

Unless you are in receipt of Ontario Works you will need to re-apply for the Welcome Policy every year and you should re-apply as early as possible. We suggest you re-apply two months prior to your renewal date to ensure that your Welcome Policy subsidy has been approved well before you register for recreation programs.

ExpandHow does the Welcome Policy work?

  • If you are in receipt of Ontario Works, your Welcome Policy will be renewed automatically and you will receive the new credit.
  • If you are not in receipt of Ontario Works, you are required to submit an Application Form with the supporting documents (verification of ID, address, and income).
  • The Welcome Policy subsidy is valid for 12 months from the date the subsidy is approved.
  • Welcome Policy funding is issued across the year to ensure the individuals/families using Welcome Policy have access to Recreation programs throughout the year.
  • If the Welcome Policy budget limit has been reached during a season, Welcome Policy recipients will not be able to access the Welcome Policy subsidy until the next season.
  • The division also offers other recreation subsidies. These include a wide range of low cost leisure programs and free drop-in programs that are available across the city. A list of designated locations where programs are free can be found here.
  • Please contact your local recreation staff at 416-338-4386 to get information about low-cost and free recreation options for you and your family members.
  • There is also a 50% discount for seniors 60 years and over on programs.

ExpandSome tips for making the most of the new fee subsidy program

  • Families have the flexibility to determine their own recreation needs and how to use the subsidy provided appropriately. For example, if it is important that a child attends summer camp, the entire subsidy amount can be used for his/her summer camp. The important thing to remember is that the annual subsidy amount must last for a full 12 months.
  • You can check the balance of your subsidy by calling 416-338-4386 or online.

ExpandHow do I register for recreation programs?

Once you have been approved for the Welcome Policy, you will receive a letter containing a Family Number and a confidential Client Number for each member of your household. You will need your Family Number and Client Number to register for programs offered at Toronto's community centres. All Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation programs are listed online and are also listed in the Toronto Fun Guide which is published twice per year (February and August) and is available at recreation centres, branches of the Toronto Public Library and some community agencies. Registration for recreation programs takes place four times a year: during the first weeks of September, December, March, and June.

  • Online registration is the easiest way to sign up for programs.
    Register Online Button
  • Register by phone using Touch Tone Registration (TTR), 416-338-0000.
  • Spaces are limited so register early.
  • Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff can help you with your program choices and offer other options if the program you want is unavailable. Speak with staff at your local Community Centre or call 416-338-4386.

ExpandFrequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Welcome Policy?

The Welcome Policy is a subsidy for recreation programs that was created to help low-income individuals and families living in Toronto access City of Toronto recreation programs.

Q: Is there a limit to the total amount of subsidy available across the City?

Each year Toronto Council approves the total amount of subsidy available to people living in Toronto. This amount is issued by season (fall, winter, spring, summer) to ensure that subsidy is available all year. It is possible that a limit could be reached in any season.

Q: What happens if the limit is reached?

In the event that the limit is reached, Welcome Policy recipients will not be able to use their subsidy allotment until the next season when additional subsidy is allocated. For instance, if the limit is reached in the fall, recipients will not be able to use their subsidy allotment until the winter session. Welcome Policy recipients may still choose to register and pay for programs.

Q: In the event of a program cancellation, how will the refund be provided?

In the event of a program cancellation a credit will be added back to your Welcome Policy Balance. The Welcome Policy subsidy allotment has no cash value.

Q: How do I get a Welcome Policy Application Form?

  1. call the Welcome Policy application line at 416-338-2000 (TTY number for hard of hearing applicants is 416-338-3195) to ask to have a Welcome Policy package mailed to you
  2. pick up an application form  at any Employment and Social Services office or community centre
  3. download the Application Form

 

Q: What documents do I need to apply for the Welcome Policy?

You will need documents to confirm your identity, your Toronto address and your income. A complete list of documents can be found above or in the Welcome Policy brochure that you can pick up at any: Civic Centre, Community Centre, Toronto Public Library Branch or Toronto Employment and Social Services Office.

Q: How do I know if I will meet the income requirements for the Welcome Policy?

  1. If you are receiving Ontario Works, you will meet the income requirements for Welcome Policy and you will automatically qualify for subsidy. An Application Form is not required. Please contact your caseworker.
  2. If you are receiving ODSP or ACSD, you will meet the income requirements for Welcome Policy but a full application is required. You must submit an Application Form with supporting documents (verification of ID, address and income).
  3. If you are providing Temporary Care for one or more children and wish to apply for Welcome Policy for the child/children, please contact your Temp Care caseworker. Welcome Policy subsidy will be issued for the child/children only. If you wish to apply for Welcome Policy for yourself, you must submit a full application with supporting documents (verification of ID, address and income). In addition, you must have a before tax family income of less than Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) show in the chart that appears below:
    • 1 person - $24,328

    • 2 persons - $30,286

    • 3 persons - $37,234

    • 4 persons - $45,206

    • 5 persons - $51,272

    • 6 persons - $57,826

    • 7 or more persons - $64,381
      The chart was updated by Statistics Canada July 2015.

  4. All other Torontonians must submit a full application. This means an Application Form with supporting documents (verification of ID, address and income). In addition, they must have a before tax family income of less than Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) show in the chart that appears below:
    • 1 person - $24,328

    • 2 persons - $30,286

    • 3 persons - $37,234

    • 4 persons - $45,206

    • 5 persons - $51,272

    • 6 persons - $57,826

    • 7 or more persons - $64,381
      The chart was updated by Statistics Canada July 2015

Q: When do I apply for the Welcome Policy?

You can apply anytime, you will receive your 12-MONTH subsidy allotment, the day you are approved for the Welcome Policy.

Q: How do I add a family member to my Welcome Policy family account?

Please call the Welcome Policy line at 416-338-2000 (TTY number for hard of hearing applicants is 416-338-3195) for information and further instructions.

Q: When do I register for recreation programs?

Registration dates for recreation programs are in September, December, March and June.

Q: Do I need to re-apply for the Welcome Policy each year?

Yes, one of the eligibility criteria is your income level in the previous year, so you need to re-apply every year. If however, you are in receipt of Ontario Works; your subsidy will automatically be renewed.

Q: What if I don't use all of my Welcome Policy balance before the subsidy period ends? Will this balance be added onto the next subsidy period?

No. Unused Welcome Policy subsidy does not get carried over to the next subsidy period.

Q: How does the Welcome Policy work?

Every child or youth is entitled to a 12-MONTH subsidy allotment of $514.00 for recreation programs and every adult and older adult is entitled to a 12-MONTH subsidy allotment of $239.00. You can use your subsidy allotment any way you choose. For example, you can choose to use all of your per person subsidy allotment on swim programs or summer camps. You just need to remember that you will receive your subsidy allotment only once a year. If you use it all in the fall, there will be nothing left for spring or summer programs.

Q: What if I want to pay for additional programs?

Once your subsidy allotment has been used up, you are able to register and pay for additional programs. Once you have paid for programs with your own funds (such as a credit card), there is no reimbursement from Welcome Policy.

Q: What if my subsidy allotment only covers part of the cost of a program?

You can pay the difference and register as usual.

Q: I have 3 children and only one of them plans to register for programs. Can I pool the subsidy allotments?

No, the allotments are made on a per person basis.

Q: Can the Welcome Policy credit be transferred between family members? (Such as when parents never use their credit but wish to transfer it to their children).

No, Welcome Policy credit is not transferable to other family members.

Q: Are older adults entitled to the Welcome Policy?

Yes, older adults (60yrs+) receive the same subsidy allotment as adults - $239.00 a year.

Q: Are there any free programs?

Yes. Free programming is available at designated locations for children, youth, adults, and seniors. For more information, please contact your local recreation staff at 416-338-4386 or view a list of locations.

Q: How do you define children and youth?

For the purpose of registering into recreational programs offered by Parks & Forestry and Recreation, a child is from 0-12 years, youth is from 13-24, and adults are 25 years or older.