Council will consider next week whether or not to increase the social services discretionary benefits budget next January. Their decision will impact families living on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Council is considering an increase of $350,000 “to match the current costs set out by the council-approved service standard established in 2014,” a staff report going to the community services committee next week indicates (considered option 1).

Orthodontic work for kids has consumed a major portion of the discretionary fund and is under pressure, according to staff at city hall.

“One benefit area that has been consistently under pressure is the area of medically necessary orthodontic coverage for children,” the report indicates. “This area alone consumed approximately $121,000 of the discretionary budget in 2016 and is on pace to exceed the 2017 total budget expenditure for this category.”