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.
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.
- To be eligible for Welcome Policy, applicants must be:
- - 18 years of age or older
- - City of Toronto residents
- - have a before tax family income of less than Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) shown in the chart that appears below:
|7 or more persons
- *LICO amounts are effective September 1, 2012.
Torontonians receiving social assistance automatically meet the income requirements and should speak to their caseworker about Welcome Policy.
There are three ways to get a Welcome Policy application form:
- 1. Call the Welcome Policy application line at 416-338-2000 (TTY: 416-338-3195) and an application form will be mailed to you.
- 2. Pick one up at any City of Toronto recreation centre.
- 3. Download now - Welcome Policy application form(pdf)
- 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 Total Family Income Section".
- 3. List all sources of income for each family member 18 years of age and older
- 4. The annual pre-tax income 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 income.
- 5. The information you enter must match the supporting documents (name, date of birth, proof of address and income).
- 6. Sign the application form.
1. For identification purposes, please provide a photocopy of any one of the following documents for each family member:
- - Canadian birth certificate
- - Canadian citizenship or permanent resident card
- - Certificate of Indian status
- - Canadian passport
- - Valid Ontario driver's license
- - Immigration and refugee document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
2. For proof of residency in Toronto, please provide a photocopy of any one of the following documents:
- - Rent receipts that show your address and your name
- - Current utility bill
- - Current child tax benefit statement
- - Lease or mortgage agreement
- - Property tax bill
- - Valid Ontario driver's license
3. For proof of income, please provide photocopies of the following documents for each family member who is receiving income:
- - Canada Revenue Agency notice of tax assessment from the current year.
- - Government benefit stubs: ODSP, EIB, CPP, OAS, GAINS, etc.
- - Pay stubs showing income for the last 30 days.
- - Other household income such as child or spouse support, rental income, etc.
If you are unable to provide proof of income documents, 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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, and 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 allocation is for a 12-month period, and if your subsidy is renewed for another year, the next year’s subsidy will become available on November 1 the following year.
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.
The Welcome Policy has changed from a course-based subsidy to a dollar-based subsidy.
Under the old Welcome Policy program, Toronto residents who applied and were approved received a certain number of free programs every year. Starting September 1, 2012, Toronto residents who are approved for Welcome Policy will receive the following annual subsidy:
Children and youth (0-24 years old): $455
Adults (25 and older): $212
Note: The subsidy amounts are effective September 1, 2012, and may be subject to change.
This is a significant change from the old Welcome Policy entitlement. The chart below compares the old Welcome Policy allocation to the new program allocation.
|Old Welcome Policy
(Effective September 1, 2012)
|Children and Youth: One aquatic program, one non-aquatic program, and one camp session (two in summer) for each of the four registration periods (fall, winter, spring, and summer).
||Children and Youth: $455 per year that can be spent on any recreation program, camp, or membership.
|Adults: One program or pass for each of the four registration sessions.
||Adults: : $212 per year that can be spent on any recreation program, pass, or membership. Note that older adults receive a 50% discount on adult program fees.
- If you are in receipt of Ontario Works, your Welcome Policy will be automatically renewed and you will receive the new credit.
- If you are not in receipt of Ontario Works, you must renew your Welcome Policy in order to receive the new credit. If you have already done so, you will receive your confirmation letter in late August.
- This credit is valid for one year - it must be spent before September 1, 2013. Remember to plan how to use the credit for the entire year.
- For new applicants, the financial subsidy is valid for 12 months from the date you are approved for subsidy.
- The eligibility requirements and application and renewal processes for Welcome Policy have not changed.
- Welcome Policy funding is allocated across the year to ensure the 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's other recreation subsidies remain available. These include a wide range of free drop-in programs and low cost leisure programs available across the city. There is also a 50% discount for seniors 60 years and over.
- Priority Centres are unaffected by these changes. Recreation programming at community centres will continue to be offered free of charge.
- Your local recreation staff can help you access some of these other free and low-cost recreation options for you and your family members.
- 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.
- After September 1, 2012, you can check the balance of your allotment by calling 416-338-4386.
Once you have been approved for the Welcome Policy, you 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 on line 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 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.
- Q: Why did the City make changes to the Welcome Policy?
- The changes to the Welcome Policy will provide more people with access to recreation programs. The new allotment system is simpler and will provide more flexibility to registrants.
- 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 Toronto residents. This amount is allocated 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 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 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 allotment has no cash value.
- Q: How do I know if I will meet the income requirements for the Welcome Policy?
- If you are in receipt of Ontario Works (OW), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), you will meet the income requirements for the Welcome Policy. If your family income is below the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) you meet the requirements. A list of low income cut offs can be found on the Welcome Policy web page at www.toronto.ca/wp. Call 416-338-2000 to speak with a Toronto Employment and Social Services staff for additional information about income requirements. If you are in receipt of OW you do not have to submit a WP application form. All other low incomers must submit an application form to be eligible for the Welcome Policy.
- Q: When do I apply for the Welcome Policy?
- You can apply anytime, you will receive your 12-MONTH allotment, the day you are approved for the Welcome Policy.
- Q: How do I add a family member to my Welcome Policy family account?
- You can add a family member by calling the Welcome Policy application line at 416-338-2000 (TTY number for hard of hearing applicants is 416-338-3195.)
- 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 OW; your subsidy will automatically be renewed.
- Q: I have been in receipt of the Welcome Policy for more than a year. How will the new changes affect me?
- Every child or youth is entitled to a 12-MONTH allotment of $455.00 for recreation programs and every adult and older adult is entitled to a 12-MONTH allotment of $212.00. You can use your allotment any way you choose. For example, you can choose to use all of your per person allotment on swim programs or summer camps. You just need to remember that you will receive your allotment only once a year. If you use it all in the fall, there will be nothing left for spring or summer programs.
- Q: I have been in receipt of the Welcome Policy for more than a year. In the past, I registered for courses in each season. Will I still do that?
- Yes, the difference is that you will receive your allotment only once every 12 months. It will be up to you to determine your recreation needs.
- Q: What if I want to pay for additional programs?
- Once your allotment has been used up, you are able to register and pay for additional programs.
- Q: What if my 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 allotments?
- No, the allotments are made on a per person basis.
- Q: Are older adults entitled to the Welcome Policy?
- Yes, older adults (60yrs+) receive the same allotment as adults - $212.00 a year.
- Q: Are priority centres affected by the changes to the Welcome Policy?
- No, priority centres are not affected. Programming at priority centres for children, youth and seniors will continue to be free.
- Q: How do you define children and youth?
- For the purpose of the Welcome Policy; a child is from 0-12 years and youth 13-24 yrs. Adults are 25yrs+.
If you have any questions about your Welcome Policy application, please call 416-338-2000.
The City of Toronto operates a variety of free programs for children, youth, and seniors. For more information about free program options, please call 416-338-4386.