There are many financial supports available for youth who formerly had Crown Ward Status. See the information below to find out what supports you may be eligible for.
Living on your own for the first time can be stressful. You might need help with things like establishing and maintaining personal support networks, brushing up your resume or applying for OSAP. Click the links below to check out some of the helpful info gathered for youth, by youth, to help you get to where you dream of going.
Since 2007, numerous changes have been introduced. In addition to the community based Crown Ward Education Championship Teams, the following financial and service supports are now available for youth from CAS care. Please note that in order to qualify for most benefits youth must apply for Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP). Also note that youth may repay the loan portion of their OSAP as soon as they receive the payment.
- Application fee reimbursement for youth applying for post-secondary education: Ontario Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program (2007)
- Tuition grants of up to 50% (for university) to 100% (for single year college) of tuition up to a maximum of $3,000 per academic year for a maximum of four years: Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards (OAGCW) (2007). This grant is based on financial eligibility.
- Special OSAP exemptions for non-merit scholarships and bursaries for Crown Wards, up to $3,500.
- OCBe savings, provided to youth 18 years old, were not intended to offset educational costs, nor are they to be treated as income or assets in applying for OSAP, up to $3,000 (please refer to MCYS directive).
- Universal changes to OSAP, allowing increased earnings, more financial assistance, extended repayment schedules Strengthening Student Support in Ontario (2010). Some programs (e.g. book allowance) have been scaled back to fund the tuition fee reduction announced on January 3, 2012.
- Ontario Tuition Grant (OTG) or fee reduction (announced as the New 30% off tuition) effective January 3, 2012 which provides tuition fee rebates to eligible students. This 30% cannot be added to any other tuition reduction (such as the Ontario Access Grant for Crown Ward Program), however rebates will be provided to CAS youth for the term beginning January 2012.1
- Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM) allowances are not treated as income for purposes of OSAP needs assessment, meaning that youth may keep full allowance and qualify for more financial assistance through OSAP. (Giving more kids a place to call home: September 2011).
- Learning Living Grant of $500 per academic month for youth ages 21-25 who are registered in an OSAP eligible college or university. This is in addition to other grants and is to assist students transitioning out of care. (Starting September 2013)
- 100% tuition support will be offered at participating colleges and universities through a partnership with the Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities (MTCU). Combination of OAGCW and top up by participating post-secondary institution to a combined maximum of $6,000. Visit the OSAP website for more information: https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/A-ZListofAid/PRDR007414.html
Other supports for youth
- Legislative change to allow youth whose court-ordered care was terminated at age 16 to 17 to return to CAS for financial and non-financial supports to age 21. Renewed Youth Supports (RYS) (2011)
- OACAS three-year pilot project funded by Green Shield Canada for former Crown Wards, aged 21 to 23, to access Employee Assistance Plan-type benefits, delivered through Shepell FGI. 24-7 access to health & well-being, financial, legal and addiction counseling. Crown Ward Aftercare Benefits Initiative (2010)
- New Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) program came into effect May 15th and replaces Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM). It is a strength-based model. Youth sign a CCSY Agreement and complete a Youth Plan also. Youth receiving financial and other supports through CCSY is not contingent on them reaching their goals as outlined in the Youth Plan. Please contact the Ministry of Children and Youth Services for more information.
- The Aftercare Benefits Initiative was launched in 2014, and allows former Crown Wards (or those who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria) between 21 and 25 to access health and dental benefits, as well as counselling and life skills support services. Youth adopted after June 1, 2016 and over the age of 18 can also access the plan for a maximum of 4 years, or until they turn 25. For more information visit http://www.oacas.org/abi.
Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent (OCBe) (2008)
- Designed to support tutoring, skill building, recreational and cultural program
- Additional support of OCBe savings for youth in care 15 to 17 years, accessible after age 18
- Mandatory financial literacy training
Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards (2007)
- For Crown Wards in post-secondary programs 2 years
- Must be eligible for Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/A-ZListofAid/UCONT004154.html
Ontario Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program (2007?)
- Intended to reimburse current and former Ontario Crown Wards for eligible postsecondary application fees
- Not income-tested; no OSAP application required http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/ocwp_faqs.html
Increase of the OSAP scholarships and bursary exemption for Crown Wards
- Doubling the scholarship and bursary exemption for Crown Wards from $1,750 to $3,500 http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/breakingthecycle/report/index.aspx Breaking the Cycle page 14
OSAP Exemption of OCBe Savings (2009)
- Savings from OCBe not reported as assets or income on OSAP application
- Up to $3,500 of eligible bursaries/scholarships exempted from OSAP assessment http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/about/Results_2010-2011.aspx
Changes to OSAP (Strengthening Student Support) (2010)
- Book/equipment/supply allowance adjusted for inflation
- New grant for part-time students
- Loan repayment enhancements
- Enhancements to loans and scholarships
Aftercare Benefits Initiative (2014)
- Allows former Crown Wards, aged 21 to 25, to access health and dental benefits as well as counseling and life skills support services.
OSAP and ECM Allowances (2011)
- Effective 2011-2012 academic year ECM allowances not treated as income in OSAP Needs Assessment
1 In January 2012, CAS youth attending university will receive a rebate cheque of $800; those attending college will receive $365. On a go-forward basis, youth will receive the greater of the OAGCW or OAG.