25in5.ca http://25in5.ca News, events and resources about the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction in Ontario, Canada. Thu, 01 May 2014 22:18:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Ontario Budget Builds Momentum for the Next Poverty Reduction Strategy http://25in5.ca/ontario-budget-builds-momentum-for-the-next-poverty-reduction-strategy/ http://25in5.ca/ontario-budget-builds-momentum-for-the-next-poverty-reduction-strategy/#comments Thu, 01 May 2014 22:11:42 +0000 jen http://25in5.ca/?p=1197 May 1, 2014 – Anti-poverty advocates expressed optimism that today’s budget renews Ontario’s commitment to reducing poverty and building a fairer and more prosperous province.

“Budget 2014 lays a foundation for the next Poverty Reduction Strategy, and we look forward to more detail in the coming days on the next five-year plan” said Greg deGroot-Maggetti, 25in5 spokesperson. “Now is the time for all parties to work together to reduce poverty and inequality and make a positive impact in the lives of thousands of Ontarians who struggle daily to make ends meet.”

The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction is encouraged to see that the budget proposes investments that will:

  • Increase and index the Ontario Child Benefit and minimum wage to inflation
  • Expand dental, drug, mental health and assistive devices coverage to low-income children
  • Change Legal Aid eligibility so more Ontarians get access to justice
  • Ensure those in greatest need of social assistance see an increase in their incomes
  • Invest in Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and match federal investments in affordable housing programs
  • Ensure provincially-funded infrastructure projects provide job opportunities to at-risk youth and low income communities
  • Increase wages for early childhood educators and personal support workers

However, the government can and should do more on child-care, affordable housing, social assistance benefits, expanding dental and health benefits to low income adults, and improving the quality of jobs in the labour market.

The Budget does propose small increases to personal income taxes for Ontarians making more than $150,000 a year. It also proposes restricting the Small Business Deduction to small businesses, closing a revenue gap that gave large Corporations an unfair tax break.

“We are glad to see these sensible tax changes that make our tax system fairer and take a step toward reducing income inequality,” said deGroot-Maggetti. “They will also help protect the revenue needed for a strong Poverty Reduction Strategy.”

The 25in5 Network also lauds the government for the creation of a new local Poverty Reduction Fund that would provide $50 million over five years to support local solutions to poverty.

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Op-Ed in the Star: Poverty reduction key to fairer, more prosperous Ontario http://25in5.ca/op-ed-in-the-star-poverty-reduction-key-to-fairer-more-prosperous-ontario/ http://25in5.ca/op-ed-in-the-star-poverty-reduction-key-to-fairer-more-prosperous-ontario/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:33:54 +0000 jen http://25in5.ca/?p=1189 For moral and economic reasons, it’s essential that Ontario continue its bold work to reduce poverty across the province.

By: Sarah Blackstock Greg deGroot-Maggetti

Published on Wed Dec 04 2013

Five years ago this week, the Ontario government embarked on a bold and historic challenge to reduce child and family poverty across our province by 25 per cent by 2013. While it appears Ontario will fall short of its “25 in 5” target, the province has made some progress and laid three critical building blocks that should provide the foundation for its next five-year strategy, expected in early 2014.

The …

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For moral and economic reasons, it’s essential that Ontario continue its bold work to reduce poverty across the province.

By: Sarah Blackstock Greg deGroot-Maggetti

Published on Wed Dec 04 2013

Five years ago this week, the Ontario government embarked on a bold and historic challenge to reduce child and family poverty across our province by 25 per cent by 2013. While it appears Ontario will fall short of its “25 in 5” target, the province has made some progress and laid three critical building blocks that should provide the foundation for its next five-year strategy, expected in early 2014.

The first building block was forged in understanding the connection between fairness and economic prosperity. Ontario should take a page from the response to the most recent economic downturn, where a rising consensus emerged – including World Bank economists and finance ministers of all political stripes – that fighting poverty is required to grow our economy.

Ontario’s 2008 maxim that “we need all hands on deck” to drive our province’s recovery rings as true today as it did then. In an increasingly competitive global economy, it is crucial that we maximize the potential of every Ontarian to both participate in and benefit from economic activity. In a time of fiscal challenges, governments must invest in pathways to opportunity or be saddled with rising costs in health care and social services borne of persistent poverty.

Ontario’s second building block against poverty comes from knowing that good intentions alone cannot sustain a long-term commitment to poverty. Clear goals backed up with a comprehensive strategy must be part of the roadmap to progress.

The government’s willingness to set a clear “25 in 5” target in 2008 came with political risk and took courage. While Ontario’s performance was far from perfect, it has led to tangible gains. Ontario’s child poverty rate of 13.8 per cent in 2011, the latest year for which Statistics Canada figures are available, was down from 15.2 per cent in 2008. This means 41,000 fewer children were living in poverty, a reduction of just over 9 per cent in three, economically challenging years.

Different choices would have undoubtedly led to better outcomes, especially for households without children. But substantial early investments in policies like the new Ontario Child Benefit, refundable tax credits for low income people, and minimum wage hikes show that smart social policy works. Or at least as much as you are willing to invest in it.

The next plan must raise the bar. It should seek to cut poverty among all Ontarians in half by 2018, achieving a reduction in the overall poverty rate in Ontario to below 6 per cent and the child poverty rate to below 7.5 per cent.

The third building block for Ontario’s next poverty reduction strategy is building momentum by starting strong.

Five years ago, Ontario did not flinch in the face of a recession. The government immediately accelerated investments in the Ontario Child Benefit. It increased minimum wages when workers needed them most. It moved quickly to entrench poverty reduction into legislation. It invested in community services in priority neighbourhoods. And it revised legislation on worker protections and predatory lending practices within the first year of the plan.

These down payments were critical in achieving initial gains against poverty. They also put real money in the hands of real people to spend in their communities, providing stimulus to a battered economy.

But Ontario has not always carried through with as much vigour as the challenge of poverty requires. Case in point was the 2012 decision to eliminate the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB), a modest fund intended to provide a life-line to Ontarians at risk of homelessness.

As the next five-year blueprint is set to be unveiled early in 2014, it is time for Ontario to raise the bar on poverty reduction, starting with a substantial down payment as a building block for success.

Such a down payment should increase social assistance, the Ontario Child Benefit and the minimum wage, to build on gains from the initial strategy.

Addressing the need for affordable housing is key. As municipalities struggle with the repercussions of the CSUMB cut, Ontario should shore up its commitment to the most vulnerable by making transitional housing and homelessness funding permanent. And the government should also match federal housing funding commitments.

Action to resolve the growing precariousness of jobs is another urgent step to take to achieve fairness while helping to drive the economy.

But so much more needs to be done. The 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy opened the door for substantive action. It’s now time to act boldly toward eradicating poverty in our province by investing in a prosperity agenda that benefits us all.

Sarah Blackstock of YWCA-Toronto and Greg deGroot-Maggetti of Mennonite Central Committee Ontario represent the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.

Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/04/poverty_reduction_key_to_fairer_more_prosperous_ontario.html

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Action Alert: Time for Bold Action on Poverty Reduction! http://25in5.ca/time-for-bold-action-on-poverty-reduction/ http://25in5.ca/time-for-bold-action-on-poverty-reduction/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:10:34 +0000 jen http://25in5.ca/?p=1176 On December 4, 2008, the Ontario government responded to community pressure by announcing its Poverty Reduction Strategy – a five year plan targeted at reducing child poverty in the province.

Over the past five years this has resulted in:

  • a unanimous vote of the Ontario Legislature committing all three parties to poverty reduction
  • legislation requiring all Ontario governments to enact poverty reduction strategy every five years, with targets and policy specifics
  • increases to the Ontario Child Benefit
  • a range of investments in children’s dental services and early childhood education
  • improvements to social assistance rates and regulations.

Together, these changes have …

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On December 4, 2008, the Ontario government responded to community pressure by announcing its Poverty Reduction Strategy – a five year plan targeted at reducing child poverty in the province.

Over the past five years this has resulted in:

  • a unanimous vote of the Ontario Legislature committing all three parties to poverty reduction
  • legislation requiring all Ontario governments to enact poverty reduction strategy every five years, with targets and policy specifics
  • increases to the Ontario Child Benefit
  • a range of investments in children’s dental services and early childhood education
  • improvements to social assistance rates and regulations.

Together, these changes have had an impact.  Despite the economic challenges of the last five years, the rate of child poverty in Ontario dropped by almost ten percent – over 40,000 children lifted out of poverty during the first three years of the strategy.

The Ontario Government is in the process of crafting the next Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Take action! Tell your MPP that strong action is required to build on the last strategy.

Take one minute to sign the petition at Together Ontario and check out the various ongoing campaigns to reduce and eliminate poverty in Ontario.

Let’s make sure that the next strategy has the vision and resources needed to build on the progress made for our children during the past five years, to significantly reduce poverty in our province over the next five years.

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Eradicating Poverty in Ontario: Strategies for the Road Ahead http://25in5.ca/eradicating-poverty-in-ontario-strategies-for-the-road-ahead/ http://25in5.ca/eradicating-poverty-in-ontario-strategies-for-the-road-ahead/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:00:23 +0000 jen http://25in5.ca/?p=1179 Major public investments in child benefits in the past five years have had an impact on reducing poverty among families with children, even in the worst of economic times.

But the job’s not complete and it’s time to raise the bar when it comes to our public commitments to address poverty.

That was the message that Greg deGroot-Maggetti, co-chair of the 25 in 5 Network, shared at this year’s annual ISARC Religious Leaders Forum.

As the province prepares its next Poverty Reduction Strategy, the 25 in 5 Network is calling for all parties to support a strategy that:

  • Sets
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Major public investments in child benefits in the past five years have had an impact on reducing poverty among families with children, even in the worst of economic times.

But the job’s not complete and it’s time to raise the bar when it comes to our public commitments to address poverty.

That was the message that Greg deGroot-Maggetti, co-chair of the 25 in 5 Network, shared at this year’s annual ISARC Religious Leaders Forum.

As the province prepares its next Poverty Reduction Strategy, the 25 in 5 Network is calling for all parties to support a strategy that:

  • Sets bold targets that raise the bar on the first strategy;
  • Commits to a comprehensive strategy for good jobs, livable incomes, and strong social programs;
  • Makes investment in poverty reduction a priority now and in every budget.

Read the full text of deGroot-Maggetti’s presentation.

Sign the petition to tell your MPP that strong action is required to build on the last strategy.

Poverty reduction can make a difference. We all get out of a PRS as much as we choose to put in!

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Making the Minimum Wage an Effective Tool to Eliminate Poverty and Reduce Inequality in Ontario http://25in5.ca/making-the-minimum-wage-an-effective-tool-to-eliminate-poverty-and-reduce-inequality-in-ontario/ http://25in5.ca/making-the-minimum-wage-an-effective-tool-to-eliminate-poverty-and-reduce-inequality-in-ontario/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:21:36 +0000 jen http://25in5.ca/?p=1169 The minimum wage is an integral element of Ontario’s efforts to eliminate poverty and can be an important tool in reducing inequality. As such, we believe that the minimum wage should be set at a level which assures that paid work is truly a pathway out of poverty.

From 2005 to 2010, the minimum wage was raised from $7.15 to $10.25/hour, which had a significant effect on the ability of low income workers to meet their most basic needs.

But the minimum wage has been frozen since 2010. Unfortunately for Ontarians, working full-time, full-year for minimum wage still means working …

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The minimum wage is an integral element of Ontario’s efforts to eliminate poverty and can be an important tool in reducing inequality. As such, we believe that the minimum wage should be set at a level which assures that paid work is truly a pathway out of poverty.

From 2005 to 2010, the minimum wage was raised from $7.15 to $10.25/hour, which had a significant effect on the ability of low income workers to meet their most basic needs.

But the minimum wage has been frozen since 2010. Unfortunately for Ontarians, working full-time, full-year for minimum wage still means working for below-poverty wages and a constant struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent.

This is why the 25 in 5 Network supports the call to raise the minimum wage to a level such that full-time, full-year minimum wage work delivers income at least 10% above the Low Income Measure threshold for a single adult.

The minimum wage should thereafter be adjusted at least for inflation, and reviewed regularly by a special-purpose advisory commission with research capacity to ensure that it keeps pace with its poverty- and inequality-reducing potential.

Read 25in5′s entire submission to Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel.

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PRS Consultation Schedule: Updated September 19, 2013 http://25in5.ca/prs-consultation-schedule-updated-september-19-2013/ http://25in5.ca/prs-consultation-schedule-updated-september-19-2013/#comments Thu, 19 Sep 2013 18:17:42 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1163 Public Consultations for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy have been going on for about a month.  To date, consultations have been held in Windsor, London, Ottawa, Peel Region, Peterborough and Hamilton.  A consultation focusing on newcomer issues was held in Toronto in August.

Here is a list of the consultations that have been confirmed for the next few weeks:

Kingston: Friday September 20

Registration:  Begins at 8 a.m.

Session:  Runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Location:  Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall
216 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario
Parking is available nearby.
If you are taking transit you can take the #3, …

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Public Consultations for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy have been going on for about a month.  To date, consultations have been held in Windsor, London, Ottawa, Peel Region, Peterborough and Hamilton.  A consultation focusing on newcomer issues was held in Toronto in August.

Here is a list of the consultations that have been confirmed for the next few weeks:

Kingston: Friday September 20

Registration:  Begins at 8 a.m.

Session:  Runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Location:  Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall
216 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario
Parking is available nearby.
If you are taking transit you can take the #3, 12 or E6 bus to Brock Street or the #12 or 19 bus to City Hall.

Peterborough: Friday September 20

Registration begins at noon.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Knights of Columbus – Columbus Hall

317 Hunter St W Peterborough, ON K9H 2M1

Guelph: Friday September 27

Registration begins at 12:30 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location:  Guelph Place Banquet Hall
492 Michener  Guelph, ON N1K 1C6

Kitchener- Waterloo: Friday October 4

Registration begins at 8:30 am.

The consultation will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

 

A.R. Kaufman Family YMCA – Studio

333 Carwood Ave, Kitchener, ON N2G 3C5 ?

Parking is available on site and by transit take the 8 bus to the Carwood Street stop.

 

To be notified of future consultations please e-mail Sara Rezaee at rezaee@veritasinc.com.  Your name will be added to a list of people and organizations to be notified as each new consultation is confirmed.

 

For more information on how to ensure your community is consulted, please visit this post.

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National Household Survey 2011: Ontario making progress fighting poverty http://25in5.ca/national-household-survey-2011-ontario-making-progress-fighting-poverty/ http://25in5.ca/national-household-survey-2011-ontario-making-progress-fighting-poverty/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 20:44:10 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1158 Ontario rates of low-income suggest provincial efforts to reduce poverty are paying off.

Dawn Marie Harriott was on welfare and living in a downtown Toronto rooming house during Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census.

Today, the 42-year-year single mother of two is earning $45,000 a year and living in a spacious apartment on the lower level of a house in Richmond Hill.

Stories like Harriott’s may be one reason Ontario’s 13.9 per cent low-income rate was the second lowest in the country in 2010, as reported in Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, released Wednesday.

“I’m the poster child for Ontario’s

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Ontario rates of low-income suggest provincial efforts to reduce poverty are paying off.

Dawn Marie Harriott was on welfare and living in a downtown Toronto rooming house during Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census.

Today, the 42-year-year single mother of two is earning $45,000 a year and living in a spacious apartment on the lower level of a house in Richmond Hill.

Stories like Harriott’s may be one reason Ontario’s 13.9 per cent low-income rate was the second lowest in the country in 2010, as reported in Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, released Wednesday.

“I’m the poster child for Ontario’s efforts to reduce poverty,” said Harriott, who lost everything when she fled an abusive spouse in 2005.

Read more here.

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PRS Consultation Schedule: Updated September 11, 2013 http://25in5.ca/prs-consultation-schedule-updated-september-11-2013/ http://25in5.ca/prs-consultation-schedule-updated-september-11-2013/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 21:17:17 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1150 Government is continuing to invite participation in public consultations for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Since our last update, a consultation in Peterborough has been announced.

Here is a list of the consultations that have been confirmed so far:

 

Toronto: Thursday September 12

Registration begins at 12:00 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The 519 Church Street Community Centre
519 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C9

Located one block East of Yonge Street, just north of Wellesley, on Church Street.
By transit take the Yonge subway line to the Wellesley Street stop; proceed to …

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Government is continuing to invite participation in public consultations for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Since our last update, a consultation in Peterborough has been announced.

Here is a list of the consultations that have been confirmed so far:

 

Toronto: Thursday September 12

Registration begins at 12:00 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The 519 Church Street Community Centre
519 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C9

Located one block East of Yonge Street, just north of Wellesley, on Church Street.
By transit take the Yonge subway line to the Wellesley Street stop; proceed to street level; walk one block East to Church and then proceed North to 519 or take the 506 streetcar to the Church Street stop and walk North to 519.

Hamilton: Friday September 13

Registration begins at 12:00 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

McMaster Innovation Park, Room 1B
175 Longwood Road S., Suite 105
Hamilton, ON , L8P 0A1

Kingston: Friday September 20

Registration:  Begins at 8 a.m.

Session:  Runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Location:  Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall
216 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario
Parking is available nearby.
If you are taking transit you can take the #3, 12 or E6 bus to Brock Street or the #12 or 19 bus to City Hall.

Peterborough: Friday September 20

Registration begins at noon.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Knights of Columbus – Columbus Hall

317 Hunter St W Peterborough, ON K9H 2M1

 

 

To be notified of future consultations please e-mail Sara Rezaee at rezaee@veritasinc.com.  Your name will be added to a list of people and organizations to be notified as each new consultation is confirmed.

For more information on how to ensure your community is consulted, please visit this post.

 

 

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PRS Consultation Schedule as of September 13, 2013 http://25in5.ca/prs-consultation-schedule-as-of-september-13-2013/ http://25in5.ca/prs-consultation-schedule-as-of-september-13-2013/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 14:33:11 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1134 The public consultation process for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy began in mid-August.  So far, consultations have been held in Windsor, London, Ottawa and Peel Region.  A consultation focusing on newcomer issues was held in Toronto in August.

Here’s information on some upcoming confirmed consultations:

Toronto: Thursday September 12

Registration begins at 12:00 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The 519 Church Street Community Centre
519 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C9

Located one block East of Yonge Street, just north of Wellesley, on Church Street.
By transit take the Yonge subway line to …

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The public consultation process for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy began in mid-August.  So far, consultations have been held in Windsor, London, Ottawa and Peel Region.  A consultation focusing on newcomer issues was held in Toronto in August.

Here’s information on some upcoming confirmed consultations:

Toronto: Thursday September 12

Registration begins at 12:00 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The 519 Church Street Community Centre
519 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C9

Located one block East of Yonge Street, just north of Wellesley, on Church Street.
By transit take the Yonge subway line to the Wellesley Street stop; proceed to street level; walk one block East to Church and then proceed North to 519 or take the 506 streetcar to the Church Street stop and walk North to 519.

Hamilton: Friday September 13

Registration begins at 12:00 p.m.

The consultation will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

McMaster Innovation Park, Room 1B
175 Longwood Road S., Suite 105
Hamilton, ON , L8P 0A1

Kingston: Friday September 20

Registration:  Begins at 8 a.m.

Session:  Runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Location:  Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall
216 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario
Parking is available nearby.
If you are taking transit you can take the #3, 12 or E6 bus to Brock Street or the #12 or 19 bus to City Hall.

 

To be notified of future consultations please e-mail Sara Rezaee at rezaee@veritasinc.com.  Your name will be added to a list of people and organizations to be notified as each new consultation is confirmed.

For more information on how to ensure your community is consulted, please visit this post.

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Ontario’s Next Poverty Reduction Strategy: Public Consultation Update http://25in5.ca/ontarios-next-poverty-reduction-strategy-public-consultation-update/ http://25in5.ca/ontarios-next-poverty-reduction-strategy-public-consultation-update/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 14:54:50 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1127 Ontario’s government has committed to consulting with Ontarians to develop the next Poverty Reduction Strategy for our Province. Public consultation dates have not been made available.

You can contact your MPP to find out the most up to date information on the consultations in your area. If they have not yet settled on a date - challenge them to ensure that your community is included in these important consultations, and that the date is set with enough notice for people in your area to prepare. And contact povertystrategy@ontario.ca to let them know you want a consultation in your area.

Other

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Ontario’s government has committed to consulting with Ontarians to develop the next Poverty Reduction Strategy for our Province. Public consultation dates have not been made available.

You can contact your MPP to find out the most up to date information on the consultations in your area. If they have not yet settled on a date - challenge them to ensure that your community is included in these important consultations, and that the date is set with enough notice for people in your area to prepare. And contact povertystrategy@ontario.ca to let them know you want a consultation in your area.

Other ways to provide input:
Have your Say now by filling out the online consultation form.
Hold your own consultation – you can use this handy guide to community consultations to help get you started.

Read up on 25in5′s Priorities for the Next Poverty Reduction Strategy here and stay tuned for more information.

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Five Priorities for Ontario’s Next Poverty Reduction Strategy http://25in5.ca/five-priorities-for-ontarios-next-poverty-reduction-strategy/ http://25in5.ca/five-priorities-for-ontarios-next-poverty-reduction-strategy/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 17:38:27 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1115 Ontario’s first five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy is quickly coming to an end. The 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy marked a bold and historic move in our province. It opened the door for action and showcased a commitment to begin making progress towards the elimination of poverty.

It’s now time to take bolder steps that can make a real difference toward eradicating poverty for all Ontarians.

This summer, the Ontario government will begin developing Ontario’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy, for 2014-2018, with public meetings across the province. 25in5 has identified Five Priorities for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy that the government will …

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Ontario’s first five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy is quickly coming to an end. The 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy marked a bold and historic move in our province. It opened the door for action and showcased a commitment to begin making progress towards the elimination of poverty.

It’s now time to take bolder steps that can make a real difference toward eradicating poverty for all Ontarians.

This summer, the Ontario government will begin developing Ontario’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy, for 2014-2018, with public meetings across the province. 25in5 has identified Five Priorities for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy that the government will need to hear:

1) Bold poverty reduction targets, for adults as well as children and for those living in the deepest poverty;

2) A comprehensive action agenda of strong policy measures;

3) A plan to ensure sufficient public revenues to make the required investments;

4) Instruments to ensure a high standard of accountability on progress; and,

5) Strategic, dedicated investments in every budget.

By working together to organize community events and encourage public input, we all helped to put poverty reduction on the agenda in 2008. Let’s keep up this momentum and continue to speak out with strong voices. Together, our vision of an Ontario without poverty and inequality – an Ontario that actively promotes equity and social inclusion – can be made a reality.

Take Action!

Challenge your MPP to host a consultation in your community

Share your views on the next Poverty Reduction Strategy with your community, elected representatives, social media and journalists

Distribute the Five Priorities among your networks

Visit 25in5’s website for updates about the development of the next strategy

And check out a recent op-ed in the Toronto Star to find out more about the lessons learned from the first 5 year strategy.

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Press Release – Anti-Poverty Advocates: Budget Makes Progress Towards Poverty Reduction http://25in5.ca/press-release-anti-poverty-advocates-budget-makes-progress-towards-poverty-reduction/ http://25in5.ca/press-release-anti-poverty-advocates-budget-makes-progress-towards-poverty-reduction/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 14:28:21 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1102 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 …

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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 Child Benefit to $1310/year per child in this budget to help ensure Ontario meets its poverty reduction target set in the province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. (The province committed to reduce child poverty by 25% by the end of 2013.) “We are disappointed that Ontario’s political leaders have failed to increase the Ontario Child Benefit to its maximum. We are hopeful that in the coming days, the government and opposition parties will reach an agreement to fully implement the OCB in 2013, a crucial step to meeting our poverty reduction target,” said Blackstock.

The budget increases social assistance rates by 1%, with an additional top up of $14/month for singles on Ontario Works without children. “It is significant that the Government has recognized that incomes for singles for people on Ontario Works require immediate attention. While we are eager to see further increases because the rates are still dangerously low. We are pleased that the Government has announced that it will work with stakeholders to establish benchmarks and a rational methodology for setting rates,” said Blackstock.

Other important changes include:
• allowing people on social assistance to earn $200/month before deductions
• allowing high-school students in families receiving social assistance to work part-time and keep their income
• increasing the amount of money people on Ontario Works can have in the bank when they apply for social assistance
• allowing people on Ontario Works to keep their primary vehicle, as people on ODSP can
• allowing people on Ontario Works to receive gifts of up to $6000 without penalty, as people on ODSP can
• increased funding for Employment Standards enforcement

The 25in5 Network was also disappointed that the budget did not announce a much-needed increase to the minimum wage. The Network maintains the minimum wage should be poverty-proofed.

“Investing in poverty reduction is essential to building a prosperous and fair Ontario – and this budget recognizes that,” Blackstock said. “We are pleased the Government has announced its intention to work with diverse stakeholders to develop Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy.”

For more information, contact Sarah Blackstock at 416-892-6845.

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Ontario Budget 2013 http://25in5.ca/ontario-budget-2013/ http://25in5.ca/ontario-budget-2013/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 14:46:03 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1091 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 …

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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 well-being of low-income Ontarians in this year’s budget.

Meeting the target requires more than token gestures – it requires specific, targeted investments in Ontario’s most vulnerable people.

25 in 5’s submission to the province’s pre-budget consultations urges all parties to put fairness back in the budget and allow low-income Ontarians to Earn More, Keep More and Restore Incomes.

What can you do?

Check out our submission here.

Join 25in5’s call to put Fairness in the Budget by sending this letter to our political leaders.

Visit the information pages to find out more.

And sign the e-action today!

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Take Action on Budget 2013! http://25in5.ca/2013-budget-can-allow-ontarians-living-on-low-incomes-to-earn-more-keep-more-and-see-benefits-restored/ http://25in5.ca/2013-budget-can-allow-ontarians-living-on-low-incomes-to-earn-more-keep-more-and-see-benefits-restored/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:27:08 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1050  

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.

Take Action!

Get more info and sign the petition urging government to take strong action against poverty in this budget. Click here to get started.…

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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.

Take Action!

Get more info and sign the petition urging government to take strong action against poverty in this budget. Click here to get started.

Removing barriers to exiting poverty in Ontario means allowing low-income Ontarians to Earn More, Keep More and see benefits Restored!

 

 

February 14, 2013

Dear Premier Wynne, Mr. Hudak and Ms Horwath,

The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network of groups and individuals working province wide to eliminate poverty in Ontario. We are writing to urge that you invest in poverty reduction initiatives in the 2013 provincial budget.

You can make minority government work for Ontarians by allowing low-income people to earn more from employment, keep more assets, earnings and child support payments and restore benefits that have been frozen or eliminated.

Earn More:  Work should be a path out of poverty, not a trap into it.

The minimum wage has been frozen for the past three years, but the cost of basic items, such as food, have not. A full time job should not leave anyone struggling to pay the rent. We ask that you raise the minimum wage to $11.50/hour in 2013 to ensure that it pays to work.

Safe and affordable child care is another way to help make work pay. We encourage you to invest in affordable child care and early learning so that adults with children can afford to go to work with the peace of mind that their children are safe.

Rules that claw back earned income are a barrier for people making the transition from welfare to work. We ask that you implement the Social Assistance Review Commission’s recommendation to increase the earnings exemptions to $200/month before claw backs begin. This will help people living on low incomes move out of poverty. But this should not be accompanied by a reduction or elimination of the Work-Related Benefit for people receiving ODSP. Government needs to make positive changes that eliminate poverty rather than redistribute it.

Keep More: For people on assistance, it’s impossible to get ahead when the little you have is taken away.

Current rules require Ontarians in need of assistance to totally impoverish themselves before they can receive help. Our experience working with low-income Ontarians tells us that this becomes a barrier to exiting poverty down the road. The next budget must increase the amount of assets people are allowed to have to qualify for social assistance.

In a single parent family, any child support received is fully deducted from social assistance income. Children can’t get a head start when there is barely enough money for food and no money for anything else that makes childhood a fun and enriching time. The coming budget must change the rules surrounding child support and allow single parents to keep at least half of every child support dollar they are entitled to receive. Furthermore, we must give single parents more autonomy in determining what is right for their families by allowing single parents to decide whether or not to pursue child support.

Restore: It’s hard to reach your full potential on an empty stomach or in inadequate housing.

The promise to increase the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) to $1310/year by 2013 has been delayed, leaving too many children living in poverty. This year’s budget must honour the original commitment of the poverty reduction strategy and raise the OCB to $1310 by July 2013. The OCB must also be indexed to inflation.

People receiving social assistance benefits have not seen an increase in their real income since 1993. Bringing the rates back up to 1993 levels would take a 56% increase. The 2013 budget should implement the Social Assistance Review Commission’s recommendation to make a down payment on income adequacy by increasing the rate for single people receiving assistance by $100/month. This down payment must be accompanied at least a cost of living increase for all people receiving OW and ODSP. This increase will inevitably be redirected into local economies while simultaneously helping recipients make ends meet.

Increases to basic benefits must not be funded by eliminating the Special Diet Allowance, which is intended to help recipients already struggling to afford nutritious food to meet the special requirements of many debilitating illnesses.

Finally, Budget 2012 significantly cut the support available to help social assistance recipients secure or keep appropriate housing. One-time funding to municipalities to provide similar supports in 2013 will not address the need of people on the brink of homelessness beyond the current year. This year’s budget must commit to contribute permanent, annualized funding to municipalities tasked with providing housing stabilization support to their residents. Even with such investment, many critical aspects of CSUMB will still be lost.

The 2009 Poverty Reduction Act marked a turning point in Ontario. The Act passed unanimously through the legislature and all parties agreed to work together to continuously reduce poverty in Ontario. The first 5-year poverty reduction strategy “Breaking the Cycle” focused on children setting a goal of reducing child poverty by 25% before December 2013. That strategy recognized the “heightened risk” of living in poverty “among groups such as immigrants, women, single mothers, people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples and racialized groups.”

Since then, serious action to eradicate poverty has led to results. Early initiatives, like the Ontario child benefit, helped to reduce the number of children living in poverty by over 6% between 2008 and 2010. Acting on the recommendations identified above will build on this progress. Allowing Ontarians living on low-incomes to earn more and keep more while simultaneously restoring the benefits that have served our province well in the past will keep us on track to achieving Ontario’s poverty reduction target.

We call on each of you to remove the barriers people face in meeting basic needs, finding sustainable employment and maintaining the dignity that every citizen deserves.

Make minority government work for Ontarians in the 2013 budget and implement changes that will reduce poverty and inequality in our province. Ensure sustaining employment, livable incomes, and strong and supportive communities for us all.

For the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction,

Greg deGroot-Maggetti

Mennonite Central Committee Ontario

 

Sarah Blackstock

YWCA Toronto

 

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Charity may help Jean, but not our broken welfare system: Fiorito http://25in5.ca/charity-may-help-jean-but-not-our-broken-welfare-system-fiorito/ http://25in5.ca/charity-may-help-jean-but-not-our-broken-welfare-system-fiorito/#comments Fri, 15 Feb 2013 19:24:13 +0000 jen http://25in5.ca/?p=1072

Jean has cancer and can’t afford to eat properly. Many people want to help. But does individual charity mask the poverty of our welfare policy?

Jean has cancer. She is my age. She knows what the future holds. She shrugs.

It’s coming to us all.

You remember that her disability cheques cover her rent, her phone, her television, and not much else; for all her other needs, including food, she has maybe a hundred bucks a month.

In addition to her disability cheque, she gets a few crumbs of money as part of the special diet allowance, because she has

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Jean has cancer and can’t afford to eat properly. Many people want to help. But does individual charity mask the poverty of our welfare policy?

Jean has cancer. She is my age. She knows what the future holds. She shrugs.

It’s coming to us all.

You remember that her disability cheques cover her rent, her phone, her television, and not much else; for all her other needs, including food, she has maybe a hundred bucks a month.

In addition to her disability cheque, she gets a few crumbs of money as part of the special diet allowance, because she has hypertension and high cholesterol.

But she has not been getting a particular portion of the special diet allowance — the portion meant for those who have cancer — because of this cruel qualifier: she has the illness, but she is not losing weight.

Oh, well, then.

Read more here

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Leadership hopefuls pledge action against poverty http://25in5.ca/liberal-candidates-pledge-action-against-poverty/ http://25in5.ca/liberal-candidates-pledge-action-against-poverty/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:36:26 +0000 admin http://25in5.ca/?p=1004 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 …

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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 candidates are crucial if we are going to continue to build on Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, including reducing child poverty by 25% by the end of 2013.”

In 2008 the Liberal government introduced Ontario’s groundbreaking Poverty Reduction Strategy aimed at reducing child and family poverty by 25% by the end of 2013. The 25 in 5 Network’s recent annual progress report on Ontario’s five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy showed 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 out that the recent scaling back of investments, such as the slowed implementation of the Ontario Child Benefit, threatens to undermine progress and drive more Ontarians further into poverty.

As part of ongoing engagement with all parties, the 25 in 5 Network asked all Liberal leaderships candidates what they would each do to advance a poverty reduction strategy in Ontario, including meeting the 2013 commitment.

The candidates’ answers revealed that the majority see the development and implementation of Ontario’s next poverty reduction strategy as a priority.

The two front-runners – Kathleen Wynne and Sandra Pupatello – both made significant commitments in the areas of income security, welfare reform, and affordable housing. Eric Hoskins and Gerard Kennedy stood out as the candidates with the most comprehensive approaches to poverty reduction, vowing to increase minimum wage, reform social assistance and increase access to affordable housing. Charles Sousa also prioritized poverty reduction as part of his platform.

“We have seen how strong leadership and government action can and does reduce poverty,” said Kaylie Tiessen of the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. “It is crucial that the next Premier makes the fight against poverty a priority, beginning with the next budget. The 25 in 5 Network will be meeting with all parties to provide our input to that budget.”

The candidate questionnaire results are available at: http://25in5.ca/?attachment_id=1022

 

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Blackstock, Director of Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto

Phone: 416.961.8101 x 350 | Mobile 416.892.6845

 

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a non-partisan, multisectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty in Ontario. For more information and to read the 25 in 5 Progress Report, visit www.25in5.ca.

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Dec. 4, 2012: Fourth Anniversary of Poverty Reduction in Ontario http://25in5.ca/dec-4-2012-fourth-anniversary-of-poverty-reduction-in-ontario/ http://25in5.ca/dec-4-2012-fourth-anniversary-of-poverty-reduction-in-ontario/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 14:52:57 +0000 jeremy http://25in5.ca/?p=978 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.]]>
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 Poverty Reduction 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.

“In these tough times with costs always rising, the Ontario Child Benefit has helped many low income Ontarians buy healthy food for their kids,” said Mike Creek, Co-Chair of the Network. “But there is so much more to be done to reduce and eliminate poverty and inequality in Ontario. Ontario needs leadership that ensures more good jobs with living wages, a social safety net for the unemployed, and equitable programs that build healthy communities.”

With an eye to the 2013 provincial budget – the final budget before the end of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy – the Network is calling for a number of investments, including:

  • Increasing the Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 for low income Ontario families in July 2013, as originally promised by the government;
  • Making a downpayment on social assistance reform, including a $100 rate increase, raising asset limits and reducing clawbacks on earned income, and appointing a commissioner and community-based advisory committees; and,
  • Ensuring that work pays by increasing the minimum wage and investing in employment standards enforcement.

The report also calls on all parties to articulate their vision and plan for creating Ontario’s second five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, which the Poverty Reduction Act requires be released by the end of 2013.

Download the PDF version here.
Download the Word version here.

Take Action!

Ask the Liberal party’s leadership candidates and the Opposition leaders what they plan to do to address poverty in Ontario. Tell them the 25 in 5 report calls for action – what’s their plan? Will they endorse the report’s recommendations?

If you are on Email:

Send emails using these links / email addresses:

If you are on Twitter:

Ask the question: “25in5 report calls for action. What’s your plan?”

Use the hashtags: #olpldr, #poverty, #25in5

Tweet to the Liberal leadership candidates and Opposition leaders at these Twitter handles:

  • Eric Hoskins: @DrEricHoskins
  • Gerard Kennedy: @GKennedyOLP
  • Glen Murray: @Glen4ONT
  • Sandra Pupatello: @SandraPupatello
  • Charles Sousa: @SousaCharles
  • Harinder Takhar: @harindertakhar
  • Kathleen Wynne: @Kathleen_Wynne
  • Tim Hudak, PC Leader: @timhudak
  • Andrea Horwath, NDP Leader: @andreahorwath

 

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October 17, 2012: The UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty http://25in5.ca/october-17-2012-the-un-international-day-for-the-eradication-of-poverty/ http://25in5.ca/october-17-2012-the-un-international-day-for-the-eradication-of-poverty/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 19:09:29 +0000 jeremy http://25in5.ca/?p=970
  • Save Housing Benefits for People on Social Assistance – this campaign is calling for a reversal of the provincial government’s elimination of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit and the Home Repairs Benefit.
  • Ontario Needs a Minimum Wage Workers Can Live On – the Workers’ Action Centre wants you to help build a campaign for a more livable minimum wage.
  • Take a Stand Against Poverty – Dignity for All calls on all Canadians to show support for ending poverty in Canada.
  • 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, Mike Creek Voices From the Street Greg deGroot-Maggetti Mennonite Central Committee - Ontario Jennefer Laidley Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)]]>
    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,

    Mike Creek
    Voices From the Street

    Greg deGroot-Maggetti
    Mennonite Central Committee – Ontario

    Jennefer Laidley
    Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)

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    Five tests for the review of social assistance in Ontario http://25in5.ca/five-tests-for-the-review-of-social-assistance-in-ontario/ http://25in5.ca/five-tests-for-the-review-of-social-assistance-in-ontario/#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2012 22:26:50 +0000 jeremy http://25in5.ca/?p=967 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.
    • Does the report provide a clearly articulated vision for a social assistance system that reflects the real cost of living and promotes dignity, equity, opportunity, and good health for all?
    • Does the report recommend incomes adequate to support the dignity of the people on social assistance?
    • Does it promote opportunity through improved employment and training programs, provide for involvement in community life, and create greater chances to move forward?
    • Does it recommend a system that puts people first, in both the program and benefit structures?
    • And does it ensure that, at the end of the day, after reform takes place, everyone is better off as a result?
    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.]]>
    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.

    • Does the report provide a clearly articulated vision for a social assistance system that reflects the real cost of living and promotes dignity, equity, opportunity, and good health for all?
    • Does the report recommend incomes adequate to support the dignity of the people on social assistance?
    • Does it promote opportunity through improved employment and training programs, provide for involvement in community life, and create greater chances to move forward?
    • Does it recommend a system that puts people first, in both the program and benefit structures?
    • And does it ensure that, at the end of the day, after reform takes place, everyone is better off as a result?

    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.

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    Progress Made on Child Poverty: All Parties Must Work Together to Meet the Goal, Advocates Urge http://25in5.ca/progress-made-on-child-poverty-all-parties-must-work-together-to-meet-the-goal-advocates-urge/ http://25in5.ca/progress-made-on-child-poverty-all-parties-must-work-together-to-meet-the-goal-advocates-urge/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2011 17:13:19 +0000 jeremy http://25in5.ca/?p=956 TORONTO, ON (December 5, 2011) – Ontario must redouble its efforts in order to meet its commitment to reduce child poverty by 25% by 2013, says a new report by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.

    Common Ground: A Strategy for Moving Forward on Poverty Reduction, tracks the government’s progress at the third anniversary of the Province’s poverty reduction promise. The report shows that while some progress has been made, it’s critical that all three parties work together to lift 90,000 Ontario children out of poverty by 2013. The report also identifies ten areas of common ground that emerged across parties during the 2011 election campaign, and urges government to work with the opposition parties to take action on these commitments right away.

    “The commitment to poverty reduction expressed across party lines during the election campaign shows that there is common political will to take action here,” said Greg DeGroot-Maggetti of the Mennonite Central Committee. “A minority parliament must not be seen as an impediment to taking bold action to tackle poverty in this province.”

    The 25 in 5 report finds that since 2008, a combination of good policies and government investment have had a positive impact – child poverty in Ontario has dropped slightly, as compared with significant increases in child poverty in provinces where no action was taken. By contrast, adult poverty rates continued to climb in the absence of strong government commitments. More can and must be done.

    “Given the slow recovery from the recession and growing income inequality, now is not the time for the provincial government to sit on its laurels,” said Mike Creek, of Voices From the Street and chair of 25 in 5. “Targeted action is urgently needed, including expanding poverty reduction targets to include adults – especially singles – and addressing equity for groups more at risk of poverty, particularly at this time of fiscal restraint.”

    “If the province reins in spending while seeking to protect healthcare and education, the health and social costs of doing nothing to tackle poverty will be too great to ignore,” said Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre. “If we don’t make investments to reduce poverty now, inequality will continue to grow, health care costs will continue to rise, and people in particular groups and communities will continue to be left behind.”

    25 in 5 urges the provincial government to act, particularly where there is common ground across provincial parties. This includes introducing a new housing benefit, reforming social assistance, reducing earned income deductions for people on social assistance, raising the Ontario Child Benefit, taking action on minimum wage, and making the early learning vision a reality.

    Recommendations for concrete action in these and other areas are outlined in the report. Click here for a PDF of the report, and click here for a Word version of the report.

    See coverage of the report in the Toronto Star at: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1096936–child-poverty-easing-in-ontario-report-says

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