Anti-poverty advocates expressed optimism that today’s budget renews Ontario’s commitment to reducing poverty and building a fairer and more prosperous province.
“This budget puts money in the pockets of low-income Ontarians and starts the process of social assistance reform that will create greater security and opportunity for low-income Ontarians,” said Sarah Blackstock, 25in5 spokesperson. “We are eager to work with all of the parties to ensure Ontario’s efforts to reduce poverty continue and that all Ontarians are supported to access opportunity and live with dignity.”
The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction had been encouraging Ontario’s political leaders to increase the …
Ontario’s next budget will be announced very soon. As we near the end of Ontario’s first five-year poverty reduction strategy, this budget is an opportunity for Premier Wynne and her new government – as well as the Opposition parties – to meet their joint commitment to reduce poverty in Ontario.
In 2008, Ontario made a bold commitment to reduce child and family poverty by 25% by the end of 2013. All parties supported this move. The deadline is coming quickly. Ontario can be the first province to set – and meet – a poverty reduction target by investing in the …
Ontario is facing an historic opportunity to invest in poverty reduction in the 2013 budget.
We can’t let this opportunity to pass us by.
The 2013 Budget can allow Ontarians living on low-incomes to Earn More, Keep More and see benefits Restored.
A recent letter (see below) sent by the 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction urges all political parties to make minority government work for all Ontarians by investing in poverty reduction initiatives.
Get more info and sign the petition urging government to take strong action against poverty in this budget. Click here to get started.…
For immediate release
Liberal Candidates pledge action against poverty, 25 in 5 Network survey shows
TORONTO, Jan 22, 2013 – Liberal candidates vying to become Ontario’s next premier are committing to step up the province’s fight against poverty. Results from a questionnaire released today by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction reveal that most candidates, including both front-runners, are pledging action on income security, affordable housing and good jobs.
“We are encouraged that poverty reduction has been front and centre in this leadership contest,” said Sarah Blackstock of YWCA Toronto. “The specific commitments made by the majority of …
For Immediate Release
Anti-poverty target in peril: Ontario’s aspiring political leaders called to action
Toronto (Dec 4, 2012) – Ontario’s political leadership hopefuls are being warned that the province will fall short of its goal to reduce child and family poverty by 25% in 2013 unless urgent action is taken.
As the Ontario Liberals choose a new leader and Opposition parties eye a spring election, a progress report by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is calling for immediate investments to support those who are struggling.
“On the fourth anniversary of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy, we have seen how strong leadership and government action can and does reduce poverty,” said Greg deGroot-Maggetti, Co-Chair of the 25 in 5 Network. “But we have also seen how scaling back investments threatens to undermine progress and drive more Ontarians further into poverty.”
Meeting the Target: Strong Leadership and Good Policy Required is the 25 in 5 Network’s fourth annual progress report on Ontario’s five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy. It shows that between 2008 and 2010 Ontario made a number of important investments that helped reduce child poverty by more than 6%, lifting 29,000 children and their families out of poverty. However, the report also points to recent backtracking on child benefits, social assistance, housing, and other areas that can stall earlier progress.
Those of us who have been working against poverty in Ontario under the banner of the 25 in 5 Network did not want to let this important day pass without reminding the leaders of Ontario’s three parties of the commitment they made to fighting poverty in our province.
See the letter below for the message that was sent today. And check out these campaigns to take action on poverty today:
October 17, 2012
Dear Premier McGuinty, Mr. Hudak, and Ms. Horwath,
On this the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we are writing to you to remind you of the urgent need to develop a new and updated strategy to eradicate poverty in Ontario.
In 2009, each of your parties voted unanimously for the Poverty Reduction Act. The Act requires Ontario’s Government to update and renew the Poverty Reduction Strategy and set new targets for progress at least every 5 years. Ontario’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy was launched in 2008.
We are calling on all Ontario political parties to commit to creating a new and updated strategy to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality in our province. The new strategy needs to engage Ontarians across every community to contribute to a plan that not only addresses child poverty, but adult poverty and growing inequality as well.
Serious action to eradicate poverty leads to results. The first strategy, “Breaking the Cycle” focused on children. Early initiatives – like the significant investment in the Ontario Child Benefit and continued increases in the minimum wage – helped reduce the number of children living in poverty by over 6% between 2008 and 2010. Government policies were beginning to bear fruit.
But we are deeply concerned that current political realities in Ontario have shifted attention away from continued implementation of the current poverty reduction strategy.
The minimum wage has been frozen for two years and planned increases to the OCB have been deferred. Social Assistance incomes have stagnated, with rate adjustments that fall short of the rise in the cost of living. Significant cuts have been made to emergency supports aimed at keeping people on assistance from becoming homeless.
Poverty among adults has actually increased. By 2010, 54,000 more adults found themselves living in poverty. And inequality continues to rise. More and more people in communities all across Ontario – many for the first time in their lives – are finding themselves without good paying jobs, unable to make the rent, and relying on food banks and emergency shelters to meet their basic needs. Poverty remains racialized, as members of racialized communities continue to face inequities in the labour market; similar inequities are faced by women and people with disabilities. This at a time when the highest income earners in Ontario continue to enjoy the largest income gains of any group.
Growing inequality and poverty affect us all. Economic instability results in higher health care costs and more reliance on emergency supports. Income inequality erodes social cohesion and ultimately destabilizes entire communities.
A consensus has emerged across all sectors of Ontario society that eradicating poverty and reducing inequality make social and economic sense.
A new and improved poverty reduction strategy would allow all Ontarians a liveable income, promote high quality employment for all Ontario workers, and build strong and supportive communities. And it would work for all Ontarians, whether they are children or adults, low-income workers or people receiving social assistance benefits, so that we all have access to a higher quality of life.
We believe in an inclusive Ontario, where everyone can develop their talents and contribute to thriving communities. We want a province with a vibrant economy that works for everyone and shared prosperity across economic lines.
That’s why we are calling on you and your party to commit to creating a stronger strategy to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality in Ontario.
For the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction,
Voices From the Street
Mennonite Central Committee – Ontario
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario will issue its final report and recommendations next week.
How will we tell if the report passes the test? How will we know if the recommendations will resolve the problems in the social assistance system?
A number of groups and organizations have created Five Tests for others across Ontario to use to assess the success of the Commission’s report.
Download the full Five Tests document here to find out more about how the report can and should respond to these questions.
And read an Op-Ed in the Toronto Star that outlines the Five Tests.