The Social Services Division provides the personnel, corporate administration and other client program and support costs to deliver financial assistance, life stabilization, homelessness, housing, and children’s services programs in the City and County of Peterborough.

Social Services Municipal Costs are allocated based on formulas set out in the Consolidated Municipal Services Management Agreement with the County of Peterborough 

The Municipal Costs are allocated to the City and County based on formulas that are set out in the Consolidated Municipal Services Management Agreement between the City and the County. The current agreement expires December 31, 2024.

In 2024, the Social Services Division will continue to work on several existing and new initiatives. Some of the significant items that will have or may have budget implications are the following:

  • Continuing the implementation of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care program (CWELCC).
  • Analyzing impact of new Children’s Services funding model on the local childcare system when it is introduced later in 2024.
  • Continuing with the Children’s Services system expansion plan and working with the Ministry and Community Partners to fund and meet expansion targets.
  • Starting November 2023, participate as one of 3 CMSMs, in a pilot with Ministry of Community, Children’s and Social Services to expand the work that the provincial Intake and Benefit Administration Unit (IBAU) does for the centralized intake process.
  • Continue to fund and develop the modular temporary housing program, including the supports provided to the residents of the homes, as well as the new winter response overnight drop-in and daily programming.
  • Addressing ongoing pressures on existing systems, including emergency shelters (continuous high volumes, staffing shortages), affordable housing, and childcare (available spaces, attraction, and retention of qualified staff, etc.).
  • Affordable housing operations and development will be transferred to the new Municipal Services Corporation
  • Developing strategies for the End of Operating Agreements in Community Housing


Social Assistance including Ontario Works and Discretionary Benefits

Ontario Works (OW) Administration covers administrative and client program costs of Social Assistance such as staffing, office space, supplies, services, and programs to prepare clients for referrals to local employment services. 

Again in 2024 the province is freezing the Program Delivery Funding to municipalities for OW administration at 2018 actual expenditures (less $1.6 million reduction with move to EST prototype municipality).

The City of Peterborough continues to implement significant changes in the administration of the Ontario Works (OW) program as a prototype site for the province-wide transformation of social assistance. Full implementation of the Social Assistance Renewal Plan was delayed in early 2022 with no indication of a timeline to continue moving forward. The Renewal Plan includes shifting the shared responsibilities for OW and the Ontario Disabilities Support Program (ODSP) at both the provincial and municipal levels.

Municipalities will case manage and collaborate with a range of community partners to provide stability supports and discretionary benefits as well as the full range of other municipal benefits. The Province will provide financial supports, financial controls, and back-end supports that can be centralized.

Municipal work is being completed with a person-centred lens, connecting services, and navigating broader needs such as childcare, housing, physical, mental health, and addictions supports. Technology improvements expand client access to digital service channels including texting, email, and MY BENEFITS while maintaining walk-in services. More flexible options create opportunities for services outside the traditional office setting.

In 2022, 696 clients were referred to Employment Ontario service providers for job search and job placement supports. The 2022 OW actual caseload average was 2,972, and the 2023 budgeted average caseload is 3,350. The actual average caseload for the first eight months of 2023 was 3,023. 2024 average caseload has been set at 3,357 as numbers are expected to increase across the province.

The City/County cost share of municipal expenses for OW Administration will remain at 83%/17%.

Discretionary Benefits

Discretionary benefits cover items such as funeral, vision, dental, dentures, bus pass subsidy, prosthesis, and hearing aids. The provincial funding for Discretionary Benefits caps the total eligible amount for all discretionary benefits at $10 per OW and ODSP case per month. Any costs above the $10 per case per month is covered 100% by the Municipality. For 2024, the city is contributing $235,695 to City Discretionary Benefits, a reduction of $150,000 from 2023.

 Children's Services

The City is the Service System Manager for Children's Services in the City and County. As such, the Division plans, manages, and oversees many provincial programs. The provincial programs include fee subsidy, special needs resourcing, Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC), EarlyON Child and Family Centres, Canada-Ontario Early Learning Child Care (ELCC), Licensed Home Child Care Base Funding, and other funding programs to financially support local Early Years and licensed childcare programs and capacity building. 

Cost sharing with the County on the municipal costs are determined by the licensed childcare spaces in the city and the county. There has been an increase of spaces in the city and a bigger increase in the county. As a result, for 2024, the cost share is 67% City, and 33% County, a change from 2023 of 68% City and 32% County. 

In April 2022, the Provincial and Federal governments jointly announced the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) plan. This plan provides financial support to Childcare agencies to reduce the parental cost for childcare agencies that opt-in to CWELCC. The roll out of CWELCC is incremental. Funding received by the City is to be used towards achieving the objectives of:

  1. Providing a 25% fee reduction in 2022, 52.75% in 2023 and achieve an average parent fee of $10 a day by 2025-26 for licensed childcare spaces;
  2. Increasing access to child-care through the creation of new spaces;
  3. Addressing barriers to provide inclusive childcare; and
  4. Valuing the early childhood workforce and providing them with training and development opportunities.

In June 2022, Council approved the directly operated childcare programs opting in to the CWELCC program. By the beginning of 2024, all fees for children 0-5 years of age will be reduced by 52.75% of the fees as of March 27, 2022. Kindergarten-aged fees will be reduced to a minimum of $12 per day. Fees for the school-aged programs for children 6-12 years of age will be increased by 2% as they are not included in the CWELCC program. 

During 2023, the Ministry has been working on a new funding model for providing provincial funds to Service Managers to fund childcare agencies in their area. In September 2023, the Ministry indicated that the current funding model will remain in place for at least the first eight months of 2024, pending the announcement of the new funding approach. The 2024 budget has been built on the current funding model.

Housing and Homelessness

The City of Peterborough is the provincially designated Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM) for Housing and Homelessness Services in the city and county. This responsibility includes: 

  • a portfolio of approximately 2,000 social housing units in the city and county (1,569 of the units are Rent Geared to Income units)
  • management, administration, and program compliance of 16 independent non-profit providers and Peterborough Housing Corporation (PHC)
  • management, collaborative planning, administration, and program compliance for homelessness programs
  • working toward ending homelessness through a coordinated and collaborative community-wide system response
  • ensuring access to Social Housing using a centralized wait list, and 
  • completion of an annual Housing and Homelessness plan progress report.

Housing and Homelessness services are also responsible to plan, administer and fund housing options from shelters to affordable housing. Increasing pressures since the pandemic continue to highlight the need to provide safe and housing-focused shelter, prevent homelessness and find innovative permanent housing solutions. 

Subsidy payments to community housing providers will be reduced as we reach the end of mortgages and end of operating agreements. The Community Housing Strategic Plan Study is being completed to recommend funding models moving forward. Housing and Homelessness services are funded by the Province with the balance cost shared between the City and County. 

The Consolidated Municipal Service Manager Agreement uses the previous year’s weighted average current value assessment to calculate the city-county proportionate housing share. The cost share for 2024 is 44.3% for the City and 55.7% for the County, unchanged from 2023. Homelessness funding from the County is capped at $204,000 annually as per the CMSM agreement. 

As of April 1, 2022, provincial homelessness funding was consolidated under the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP). The funding allocation was increased for the 2023/24 fiscal year by $2,493,300 for a total of $7,657,600 and is expected to stay at that level through to March 31, 2026. The funds will be used to support homelessness initiatives, including the Wolfe St. Modular Bridge Housing, which will house 50 clients in individual units, with 24/7 supports. HPP funding was used for the capital costs and will be used for program supports of this project, including an additional winter response program. 

Homelessness Services has service contracts with local partners as part of a homelessness system response. The system continues to experience financial pressures related to increased demand, exponential increases in the cost of housing, low incomes, low vacancy rates, and individuals with increasingly complex social, mental health and addiction challenges. The strategic direction is towards creating permanent housing, while balancing the need for emergency responses. 

The units at Hunt Terraces, constructed by PHC, were ready for occupancy in 2023, with the City funding rent supplements to thirty units, some of which will be dedicated to individuals from the Homelessness By-Name Priority list. This is a collaboration with VON, and FourCAST to provide on-site supports to the individuals in the units. There was an increase in the municipal rent supplement budget to help support the addition of these units.

2024 Overview

Social Assistance
Description2024 recommended
Expenditures $42,508,219
Revenues, County contribution $927,517
Revenues, Provincial and other $36,946,124
Net requirement $4,634,578
Children's Services
Description2024 recommended
Expenditures $41,716,244
Revenues, County contribution $712,062
Revenues, Provincial and other $39,558,496
Net requirement $1,445,686
Housing and Homelessness
Description2024 recommended
Expenditures $29,447,318
Revenues, County contribution $6,732,444
Revenues, Provincial and other $16,299,423
Net requirement $6,415,451

Capital Budget

The Draft 2024 Budget includes the following capital projects for Community Services, Housing and Homelessness:

  • Incentives for Affordable Housing
  • Building Condition Assessments
  • Housing - Capital Repairs