Fee Access Policy - Town of Milton: Access to Recreation for Low-Income Families

Organization Sponsor: Milton, Town

Organization Partner: Halton Multicultural Council

URLs: 

Program Description

Everyone gets to play in Milton. The Town of Milton is pleased to promote financial assistance program options as we believe that all residents should have the opportunity to access recreational services offered by the community.

The purpose is to provide fee assistance to Town of Milton residents for registration in Town-operated recreation programs. This initiative is a Council-approved policy for the Town of Milton. The policy is administered through the Community Services Department and applies to all Town-operated recreation programs and services in Town of Milton facilities.

In order to maintain confidentiality, the Town of Milton has designated one staff person to administer the fee assistance program for all recreation programs. The fee assistance policy and procedures are advertised. Residents must complete and provide the following information: registration form for the program they wish to attend; fee assistance application form; and proof of income.

This information must be submitted 10 business days prior to the start of the program to be reviewed for eligibility. There are three levels of financial eligibility for which a resident may qualify: 25%, 50%, or 100%, based on income level. The resident is required to pay the balance of the fees if 100% coverage is not received. No resident will be denied access to a recreation program due to financial restraints. If a resident does not qualify through the three level system, assistance can also be provided by offering payment option plans such as post-dated cheques.

Once eligibility has been determined, the resident is informed (verbally). The Registrar then processes the program registration. Fee assistance reconciliation is completed on a quarterly basis to provide funding statistics.

Program Approximate Cost: 

25% 50%, or 100% subsidy

Funding Sources: 

This initiative is funded through the operating budget of the municipality. It also receives sponsorship money through donations from the business community.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

The Town of Milton is committed to this initiative. It has been operating since 1994 and has always been supported within the Town of Milton’s operating budget. The business community continues to provide support on an annual basis. This initiative removes the economic barrier as well as the social, cultural, language and lack of community connectedness barriers that prevail if community members do not have equal access to recreation.

Impact Of Program: 

In 2007, over 50 families, totalling more than 80 participants, used the fee assistance program to access recreation programs. With the growth of Milton, there are new users accessing this service on a regular basis.

Evaluation Tools: 

Recreationists are also responsible for follow-up and evaluation with families.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Enables children, youth and families to register in recreational activities such as instructional swimming, arts, sports, camps etc., that they otherwise may not be able to access. Participation in these activities allows them to experience many of the benefits of recreation.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

This program is promoted through: •the municipal website; • the seasonal community services guides; •word of mouth; • flyers in the community and in recreation centres; and • a fee assistance brochure.

Length and Stage of Project: 

This policy originated in 1994, was amended in 2003 and is still in operation, though currently under review.

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