The number of Londoners on social assistance dipped slightly last year to the lowest level in the last five years. But people are staying on welfare longer than ever. A look into the numbers:

Last year there was an average of 11,418 people on social assistance, called Ontario Works, which is down 2.4 per cent from 2018. It’s also the lowest average London has seen since 2015. But overall that number has been pretty stable, hovering between 11,000 and 12,000. And people are staying on assistance longer than ever, an average of 3.13 years in 2019. That’s up from about three years in 2018, and 2.88 years, on average, in 2017.

“We see what we called the ‘revolving door’ from Ontario Works into employment and back because of the part-time and unstable hours in the work,” Michael Courey, director of the London Poverty Research Centre, said. “That can play a large role in some of these numbers.”