A Hamilton anti-poverty advocate calls the Ford government’s elimination of a child benefit “absolutely cruel” amid a city report showing 1,800 children receive it.

The Transition Child Benefit currently provides refugee-claimant families and low-income families who are unable to access Ontario or Canada child benefits with a maximum of $230 per child per month. The Ford government announced in April it will eliminate the benefit as of November 1, leaving vulnerable families worried about their future, advocates fuming and municipalities scrambling to make up the loss.

A recent city of Hamilton report states 1,800 children in Hamilton receive the benefit, paid out by the province. About 40 per cent of cases involve refugee claimants and 87 per cent of cases involve children under the age of three.

“It’s absolutely cruel because they are punishing the most vulnerable children in society,” said Tom Cooper, director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, calling the province’s decision “nonsensical” and “beyond the pale.”