Prominent Ontario Grandparents Open Letter to Ontario Premier in Honour of Grandparent's Day: You Must Reinstate Temporary Care Assistance

In honour of Grandparent’s Day and in light of Pro Bono Law Ontario’s success in their work on behalf of grandparents who have been cut off from Temporary Care Assistance in Ontario, a coalition of prominent Ontario grandparents have written an open letter to Premier McGuinty which they will also be sending to Ministers Meilleur, Broten and Aggelonitis. Here is the text of the letter (full PDF also available below):

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M7A 1A1

Dear Premier McGuinty:
Grandparents Day, 2010

We are grandparents living in Ontario, and we are encouraged by the positive steps your government has taken to enhance the lives of children in this province. Your investments in education and health point to a new focus on children’s wellbeing and a renewed sense of purpose as we enter the next session of parliament.

But for reasons we fail to understand, you have implemented a policy to deprive several thousand Ontario children who live with grandparents and other relatives. Through the selfless efforts of family members who take over child rearing responsibilities, these kids are able to live with family and are kept out of foster care.

But in communities across the province – Chatham, Brantford, Oshawa, Ottawa, Kitchener, Perth, Durham and Mississauga – children have lost a modest, yet pivotal, government benefit that was designed to help grandparents and relatives take care of kids whose parents are unavailable.

The children’s caregivers are mostly grandparents, seniors who stepped in to look after family when it was needed. Many live on fixed incomes. Now, their seniors’ benefits are paying for school supplies and running shoes.

Your government’s Temporary Care Assistance helped to make ends meet. But without it, grandparents are exhausting savings, using their credit cards and re-mortgaging homes just to stay afloat. Worse still, they face the prospect of losing their own grandkids to foster care.

It’s worth noting that your government is the first to take away this help since it was first introduced in 1927. Even though Mike Harris cut social assistance when he was Premier, he did not cancel Temporary Care Benefits

So why are you leaving these children behind? Research studies confirm that children cared for by grandparents are thriving emotionally, developmentally and academically. Why are you removing their best chance at success?

We believe your vision for Ontario’s children should include all Ontario’s children. To make good on this commitment, we suggest you commemorate Grandparents Day 2010 by pledging to reinstate what you have taken away from grandparents and other family caregivers. You have a moral imperative to support these families and good economic reasons to recognize caregivers as an Ontario asset.

We are asking you once again to do the right thing for these families. Won’t you please take this small step and complete your vision for all Ontario’s children?