Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Dire Distress Grants

As the need arises, OECTA may provide grants to members, or retired members, who find themselves in dire financial need.

What qualifies as “dire distress”?

The program is intended to provide only short-term relief for emergencies. For purposes of this program, “dire distress” is deemed to exist where the applicant, as a result of illness or other unanticipated catastrophe, is unable to provide for the essentials such as food, clothing and shelter for self and family. The program does not exist to provide temporary relief for financial burdens which have developed over a period of time.

What conditions must be met by applicants?

In addition to obvious need, the following criteria must apply:

  1. Applicants cannot have savings, RRSPs, or other investments which can be used to relieve the financial distress. An applicant must have depleted these sources of finances in order to be eligible for grants.
  2. Applicants must submit a financial plan, developed in consultation with a credit counsellor;
  3. Where involved in filing a claim or an appeal dealing with LTD, WSIB, or EI case, the applicants must have followed, or be following, the advice and direction of OECTA.

What forms will the grants take?

The total amount of grant money provided to any applicant may not total more than $10,000, although the typical grant will be for much less. The amount and any terms by which the grant is provided will be defined by the Grants Committee. Only in very rare cases will a grant take the form of direct payment to the applicant. Where the grant is given as income replacement, it may be awarded through, and administered by, the local unit.

In other cases, grant cheques may be issued to landlords, health insurance agencies, or to social agencies for the provision of accommodation, furniture, clothing, etc.

How are applications adjudicated?

OECTA has a committee which deals with grant requests. To ensure the objectivity of the process, that committee receives no information that might identify the applicant or, in all but very few cases, the unit to which the applicant belongs or belonged.

The committee reviews the material in the application form (on which any identifying information has been redacted) and makes an adjudication based on (a) whether the applicant qualifies for a grant, and (b) the amount of the grant.

How are applicants informed?

In most cases, applicants will be informed of the decision by mail. Where a grant is provided, the correspondence will also include details about how the money will be allocated and dispensed. In some cases, where the need for immediate relief is clear, the decision will be transmitted by telephone by the executive assistant assigned responsibility for the grant program.

How many times may a person apply?

There is no limit on the number of applications a person may submit, except that no applications will be considered from anyone who has received a total of $10,000. This re-application route serves also as the appeal process for persons whose applications have been denied or who require additional funds.

If you are interested in applying for a dire distress grant, speak to your unit president or call OECTA provincial office 416-925-7764 or 1-800-268-7230.