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?
- 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
- pick up an application form at any Employment and Social Services office or community centre
- 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?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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:
- 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:
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 $526.00 for recreation programs and every adult and older adult is entitled to a 12-MONTH subsidy allotment of $244.00. 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 (60 years+) receive the same subsidy allotment as adults - $244.00 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.