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Lend a Helping Hand

Social assistance is money you can receive from the government to help you buy the things you need if you cannot pay for them yourself. In this activity, compare the amount of money you can get from social assistance with the cost of the things you need each month.

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  • What is social assistance? Why is it important? 
  • Why might someone need to use social assistance? 
  • What things do you need to buy every month? 


  • Start by splitting up into small teams and deciding which categories you think are necessary to buy each month. The categories can be found in the “materials” section. 
  • Do you think that you will be able to buy everything you need if you rely on social assistance?  
  • Once you have decided which categories are necessary, flip the papers over to see the cost.  
  • One group at a time, add up all the costs to see if you would be able to afford all the necessities with the $710 that Canadians can receive from social assistance each month.  
  • Did both groups agree on the categories that were necessary? If not, discuss why you left out or chose different categories.  
  • Remember that the cost of living can be very different in different cities. 


  • Were you able to buy everything you needed with social assistance?  
  • Do you think that the amount of money Canadians can receive from social assistance is enough?  
  • What other resources can someone use if they are struggling to pay for things they need? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


You will need to have pieces of paper with the following information. The category should be written on one side of the paper, and the cost on the other: 

Category (cost per month) 

Housing ($687) 

Food ($290) 

Phone ($25) 

Bus fare ($28)  

Internet ($47) 

Hygiene ($10) 

Car ($450) 

Laundry ($10) 

Going out ($40) 

TV ($35) 

Keep it Simple

You can also choose to do this activity together as one large group. 

Take it Further

Do research to find out what other resources are available for people who are struggling in your community.