What is the informal economy?
The informal economy includes workers who do not have a traditional job or paycheque, like babysitters, ride-share drivers, bicycle couriers, musicians, and people who have small cash-based businesses or do odd jobs. This work is called “under the table” if workers and employers don’t report it at tax time. But informal is not the same as illegal. Informal economy workers are not tax cheats. In fact, most are struggling and living in poverty.
How we can help
At West Neighbourhood House, we have spent several years talking to informal economy workers in our neighbourhood to learn about their lives and their needs. Through our Financial Empowerment and Problem-Solving program, we give low-income people free one-one-one advice about taxes and money. We’re here to listen and give guidance. We don’t push any specific products or share your information without your permission. You have the right to make decisions about your money.
How to get help
Call (416) 848-7980 to make an appointment to get started with the Financial Empowerment and Problem-Solving (FEPS) program. It’s free and confidential.
Who is “low-income”?
That depends on how much money you make (in total, from all sources), and how many people are in your household. For a single adult, low-income is considered $35,000 per year. If there are two people in a household, such as a couple living together, or one parent and one child, $45,000 is the limit. For a three-person household, it is $47,500. After that, allow for $2,500 for each additional person per year. Call to find out if you can qualify.
Get ready for tax time
Tax season is upon us. All the information you need to find tax preparation services in Toronto’s west end can be found in this flyer. Check back often for updates, and call us with any questions.
For community agencies
We have made a series of images to promote our informal economy work and the services we provide to low-income informal workers. Contact Genna Buck at firstname.lastname@example.org for printed postcard versions.
Click here to download a .zip file of all our social media images.
Our informal economy research spans years. You can learn more about our research in the documents below.
Tracking the Informal Economy Phase One (March 2014)
A literature review of the project:
Informal Economy Literature Review
Phase 2 Appendix:
The Informal Economy project was made possible thanks to the Metcalf Foundation.