POLITICS

Tory Welfare Wait Period Could Be Costly

06/02/2011 02:36 EDT | Updated 08/02/2011 05:12 EDT

CBC -- A Progressive Conservative election promise to enact a one-year waiting before new Ontario arrivals can collect welfare could cost the province millions in federal transfer payments.

Included in the Ontario Tories' platform unveiled last week is a plan to make welfare applicants "show a promise to Ontario" by living in the province for a year before they are eligible. Ontarians will go to the polls in an Oct. 6 provincial election.

"I think it's only fair and reasonable that you would be in our province for one year before going on welfare," Hudak told CBC's Mike Crawley.

But what's not clear is whether Hudak's promise will save Ontario money.

Federal law stipulates that Ottawa can cut transfer payments to a province that imposes any kind of time limit before people are eligible for welfare.

Ontario receives $4.46 billion a year from the Canada Social Transfer, which provides support to provinces across a number of different areas, including:

It's not clear exactly how much of that funding could be affected by a potential one-year residency welfare prerequisite.

Hudak said he is not worried his plan will cost the province money.

"To me it's an important value as Ontarians that if you're going to go on the welfare rolls, you should at least live in our province for a year," he said.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath said the Conservative plan would hurt new arrivals.

"By cutting them off at the knees as soon as they get here, it doesn't make any sense at all," she told CBC News. "I don't understand where the value is in that kind of a policy."

The Liberals say they won't "cut loose" low-income families but they also aren't talking about what their platform will promise on welfare.