How people receive public assistance can be a complicated story.

With a pending postal strike, the My Muskoka Now Newsroom asked the District of Muskoka how many people could potentially be affected. Heather Elliott, the acting Director of Programs and Community Services, says that 15 per cent of clients will continue to receive manually cut cheques, which equates to 80 people.

Most people receive their benefits through direct deposit.  However, some on social assistance don’t have a bank account and can’t get their money that way. There are several reasons why someone wouldn’t have a bank account.

“It stems from lack of ID, lack of ability to maintain an account in good standing and lack of access to banks,” she says.

Currently, Elliott says it is looking less likely that cheques for October will be affected as postal negotiations may have moved a strike day to November, though she is awaiting official clarification on that.

“That is good news for October but then that could affect Christmas if it happens in November,” she offers.

There are also a number of vendors, such as landlords who get rent payments directly from the district, that will either have them sent by courier or will organize pick up at the District.

In the event of a postal strike, these 80 clients would be able to pick up their cheque at a variety of District offices.  But Elliot advises, those clients who live in Georgian Bay, Muskoka Lakes and Lake of Bays will be contacted and arrangements will be made to drop their cheques off to them.

Cheques will be available as of today after 1:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • 141 Main Street, Gravenhurst  (District of Muskoka Community Services Office)
  • 70 Pine Street, Bracebridge  (District of Muskoka Community Services Office)
  • 1 King William Street, Unit #5, Huntsville  (District of Muskoka Community Services Office)

All of the above offices open at 8:30am and close at 4:30pm daily.  The September dental benefit eligibility cards will remain valid until October 31st for Ontario Works clients.