New Benefits wayfinder will enable 100,000 more low-income Canadians to access government
benefits, boost their incomes and reduce food insecurity
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (“The Centre”) is contributing $600,000 over three years to assist Prosper Canada, a national charity, to enhance and expand the reach of its Benefits wayfinder, an innovative online platform that helps Canadians with low incomes to identify and access government benefits. The tool is easy to use and provides customized benefit recommendations based on the life circumstances of each user.
“Every year, billions of dollars in benefits available to Canadians with low incomes go unclaimed because people experience hurdles in filing their taxes, lack information about benefit entitlements or have trouble accessing them,” said Sarah Stern, who leads the Centre. “Our partnership with Prosper Canada is a direct means to reduce food insecurity among Canadians with low incomes by increasing their income and ability to afford food.”
“Determining which government benefits you’re eligible for and how to get them is unbelievably complicated, time consuming and, for too many people, so frustrating that they just give up,” said Elizabeth Mulholland, CEO, Prosper Canada. “The Benefits wayfinder changes all that by acting as a personal guide, helping individuals to quickly navigate the maze of government information and successfully identify benefits they may be eligible for, but not receiving, and how to access them.”
More than 4 million people in Canada experience food insecurity, with low income as the leading cause.
Tax refunds and income benefits are a significant potential source of income for most low and moderate income households. However, many encounter personal, institutional, and systemic barriers to accessing this income. As a consequence, an estimated $2+ billion in benefits goes unclaimed by people with low incomes each year. This is a conservative estimate based on the fact that one in five people with low incomes in Canada currently do not tax file. Hands-on tax and benefit support provided by Prosper Canada community partners has been shown to boost annual incomes of service users by an average of $3,675 per person.
Through this project, Prosper Canada will work with community non-profit partners to train frontline service providers to use the Benefits wayfinder and assist an expected 100,000 people to access the information they need to access their benefits. The project will also evaluate the extent to which the Benefits wayfinder results in increased income and reduced food insecurity for people with low incomes.
About Prosper Canada (www.prospercanada.org)
Prosper Canada is a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. Prosper Canada works with government, business, and community partners to develop and promote financial policies, programs and resources that remove barriers and help more Canadians to prosper.
About the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (www.feedopportunity.com)
The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security is a national charity committed to working collaboratively to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50% by 2030. The Centre advocates for structural policy solutions and invests in knowledge building and food-based programs that advance the capacity of people and communities to achieve sustainable food security. The Centre was established in 2016 and is governed by a board of directors, including four independent experts.
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SOURCE The Maple Leaf Centre For Action On Food Security