Anti-poverty activists say they are shocked the Ford government had contemplated cuts to the Ontario Child Benefit as part of efforts to slay the province’s $11.7 billion deficit.

A proposal to slice $500 from the benefit that pays up to $1,403 annually per child to the province’s poorest families was among a long list of cuts proposed in a leaked draft document prepared for cabinet in the lead-up to last month’s provincial budget.

“To even consider a reduction in the small, but important amount of support families receive from the Ontario Child Benefit is unfathomable,” said Laurel Rothman, a member of the steering committee for Campaign 2000, a coalition fighting to end child poverty.