Canadian Social Research Links

Ontario
Anti-Poverty Strategies and Poverty Reduction Campaigns

Sites de recherche sociale au 

Canada


Les stratégies antipauvreté et les campagnes de réduction de pauvreté en Ontario

Updated January 8, 2017
Page révisée le 8 janvier 2017


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For links to antipoverty resources in all other provinces and territories, go to the Provincial and Territorial Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

For links to national antipoverty info resources, see:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty2.htm


Media Scan page (Income Security Advocacy Centre)
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/isac_media_scan.htm

[ Toronto - Ontario - Canada - (some) international ]
- dozens of new links in each issue. large archive!

UPDATED TO 06 JANUARY, 2017

 


Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy - links are in reverse chronological order below, for the most part...

Recent article from Inside Toronto.com :
[ http://www.insidetoronto.com/ ]

Residents speak out on 2017 city budget at Scarborough Civic Centre
http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/7053368-residents-speak-out-on-2017-city-budget-at-scarborough-civic-centre/
January 6, 2017
(...)
Poverty reduction, student nutrition programs and public transit were among the issues heard at the Scarborough Civic Centre during a public deputation meeting on the city’s 2017 capital and operating budgets.

John Stapleton, the co-author of a November 2016 report on the cost of poverty in Toronto (see link below) was invited to appear before the city budget sub-committee during a public consultation meeting held Jan. 5 at the Scarborough Civic Centre. Stapleton noted the “fiscal drag of the cost of poverty” stands at about $5 billion out of the $184 billion economy Toronto represents.
“That is an unnecessary fiscal drag of just over 2.7 per cent caused by the cost of poverty alone.”

The Cost of Poverty in Toronto
Complete report (PDF - 5.5MB, 20 pages) :
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/socialplanningtoronto/pages/523/attachments/original/1480338070/Cost-of-Poverty-R10-Final-forweb.pdf
By John Stapleton et al.
November 2016

Who Should Pay for the Cost of Poverty in Toronto (small PDF file - 2 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Who-should-pay-for-the-Cost-of-Poverty-in-Toronto-jan-5.pdf
By John Stapleton
January 2017
(...) Toronto can pursue austerity and cuts or realize longer term savings through investment in poverty reduction.
The choice is yours.

Also from John Stapleton:

Saks in the city meets Dollarama:
Labour Market Inequality in Toronto seen through the lens of the retail divide
(small PDF file, 4 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Saks-in-the-city3.pdf
Toronto is the richest city in Canada accounting for almost 10% of the nation’s GDP, clocking in at just less than $200 billion. It is also the poorest. It has the highest child poverty rate in Canada at one in four children and has the highest percentage of working poor individuals at
10.7% of the population.
NOTE : At the bottom of the each of the four pages of this paper, you'll find links to related online resources - 15 in total.
Recommended reading!

The links in the yellow box below point to Ontario Government content.
For links to Ontario Non-Governmental Organizations, go to
http://canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty_ontario.htm#ngo (further down on the page you're now reading.)


From Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat:
http://news.ontario.ca/tbs/en

Six Canadian cities chosen as sites for anti-poverty case studies, to inform national poverty reduction strategy
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09/02/six-cities-chosen-as-test-sites-for-national-anti-poverty-strategy_n_11836624.html
September 2, 2016
(...) The project will see federal officials run case studies in Saint John, Trois-Rivières, Que., Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife and Tisdale, Sask., which was chosen so federal officials would have a rural community to test ideas.

Related links:

The Government of Canada announces the Tackling Poverty Together Project
Saint John, New Brunswick: first community to be studied
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1119579&_ga=1.199789162.592249347.1473415224
September 2, 2016

Bulletin : Improving Outcomes for Ontarians Living in Poverty
https://news.ontario.ca/tbs/en/2016/03/improving-outcomes-for-ontarians-living-in-poverty.html
March 31, 2016
News Release
Ontario has released its Poverty Reduction Strategy 2015 Annual Report, which highlights the progress being made to lift more people and families out of poverty and improve the lives of the province's most vulnerable people.

2015 Annual Report:

Poverty Reduction Strategy
https://www.ontario.ca/page/poverty-reduction-strategy-2015-annual-report
Ontario is working to ensure that everyone in the province has an opportunity to reach their full potential. We’re working to make that happen through our Poverty Reduction Strategy. This Annual Report highlights the progress we made together in 2015, and outlines the work ahead.

Table of contents:
Minister’s message
Introduction
Breaking the cycle of poverty for children and youth
Helping people achieve employment and income security
Ending chronic homelessness in Ontario
Measuring our success
Conclusion
Description

Source:
Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat

https://news.ontario.ca/tbs/en

---

Additional Resources:

Realizing Our Potential: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
https://www.ontario.ca/page/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019

Poverty Reduction Strategy 2015 Annual Report
https://www.ontario.ca/page/poverty-reduction-strategy-2015-annual-report

Local Poverty Reduction Fund
https://www.ontario.ca/page/local-poverty-reduction-fund

---

- Go to the Ontario Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty_ontario.htm

From Government of Ontario News:

Call for Proposals for Local Poverty Reduction Fund Now Open
New Fund Supports Community-Driven Solutions to Tackling Poverty
http://news.ontario.ca/tbs/en/2015/05/call-for-proposals-for-local-poverty-reduction-fund-now-open.html
News Release
May 13, 2015
Ontario is now inviting community, broader public sector and Aboriginal organizations to submit proposals for the Local Poverty Reduction Fund. The fund, announced in April 2015, will provide $50 million over six years to support innovative and sustainable community-driven initiatives that measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty.

Organizations can submit their detailed business cases for funding until June 10, 2015.

Related links:

Local Poverty Reduction Fund
http://www.ontario.ca/government/local-poverty-reduction-fund
(...) The Local Poverty Reduction Fund will focus on innovative and sustainable local programs that encourage collaboration on solutions that target groups disproportionately affected by poverty including women, single parents, people with disabilities, youth, newcomers, visible minorities, seniors and Aboriginal Peoples.

Local Poverty Reduction Fund video (duration 2:11)
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019

Realizing Our Potential: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy 2014 Annual Report
HTML version :
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019-all
PDF version (2.6MB, 28 pages): https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/4315/poverty-report-2014-en.pdf

2014 Annual Report Infographics (small PDF files, one-pagers):
--- Breaking the Cycle of Poverty for Children and Youth : http://www.ontario.ca/sites/default/files/1_breaking-the-cycle_en.pdf
--- Moving Towards Employment and Income Security : http://www.ontario.ca/sites/default/files/2_employment-and-income-security_en.pdf
--- A Long-Term Goal to End Homelessness in Ontario : http://www.ontario.ca/sites/default/files/3_a-long-term-goal_en.pdf
--- Tracking Our Progress: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Indicators chart : http://www.ontario.ca/sites/default/files/4_tracking-our-progress_en.pdf

Previous annual reports:

Poverty Reduction Strategy (2013 Annual Report)
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2013-annual-report

Poverty Reduction Strategy (2012 Annual Report)
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2012-annual-report

Poverty Reduction Strategy (2011 Annual Report)
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2011-annual-report

Poverty Reduction Strategy (2010 Annual Report)
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2010-annual-report

Poverty Reduction Strategy (2009 Annual Report)
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2009-annual-report

Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/breaking-cycle-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy

Source:
Treasury Board Secretariat
http://www.ontario.ca/treasury-board-secretariat

Local Poverty Reduction Fund to Support Community-Driven Solutions:
New Fund Taps into Grassroots Initiatives

http://news.ontario.ca/tbs/en/2015/04/local-poverty-reduction-fund-to-support-community-driven-solutions.html
News Release
April 7, 2015
Ontario is investing $50 million to support grassroots community partners in lifting people and families out of poverty.
The Local Poverty Reduction Fund will support innovative local solutions and help community organizations demonstrate their progress, evaluate their programs and build a collective body of evidence of poverty reduction initiatives that work.

Backgrounder
http://news.ontario.ca/tbs/en/2015/04/ontarios-local-poverty-reduction-fund.html

April 7, 2015
The Local Poverty Reduction Fund will support innovative local solutions and help community organizations demonstrate their progress, evaluate their programs and build a collective body of evidence of poverty reduction initiatives that work.
The fund is available to a wide range of groups...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Improving Outcomes for Ontarians Living in Poverty
Poverty Reduction Strategy Bulletin
http://news.ontario.ca/prs/en/2015/03/improving-outcomes-for-ontarians-living-in-poverty.html
March 31, 2015
Ontario has released its Poverty Reduction Strategy 2014 Annual Report, which highlights the progress being made to lift more people and families out of poverty and help them reach their full potential.

Realizing Our Potential : Ontario’s
Poverty Reduction Strategy 2014 Annual Report
(PDF - 2.6MB, 28 pages)
https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/4315/poverty-report-2014-en.pdf

Contents:
* Introduction
* Breaking the Cycle of Poverty for Children and Youth
* Moving Towards Employment and Income Security
* Ending Homelessness in Ontario
* Investing in What Works: Using Evidence-Based
* Social Policy and Measuring Success
* Conclusion .

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In September 2014, Ontario launched its second five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential, with a renewed commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty for children and youth. Between 2008 and 2011, the province lifted 47,000 children and families out of poverty.

Realizing Our Potential:
Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (2014-2019)
HTML version :
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019
PDF version (4MB, 52 pages) : https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/3384/en-prs-bklt-aug-28th-approved-final-s.pdf
E-Book version : http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019-0
September 2014

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January 26, 2015

Ontario Appoints Panel to Look at Ending Long-term Homelessness:
Province Taking Steps to address Homelessness

http://news.ontario.ca/mah/en/2015/01/ontario-appoints-panel-to-look-at-ending-long-term-homelessness.html
News Release
Ontario is taking an important step to help break the cycle of poverty by establishing an Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness. The government's new Poverty Reduction Strategy is focused on achieving better outcomes for Ontarians living in poverty such as employment opportunities, income supports, education and housing. As part of this strategy, Ontario set a bold long-term goal to end homelessness. The province will work with this new panel to get practical advice on how to best approach this goal, beginning with ways to define and measure homelessness.

Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness Members
http://news.ontario.ca/mah/en/2015/01/expert-advisory-panel-on-homelessness-members.html

Source:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/index.htm

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Realizing Our Potential:
Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (2014-2019)
HTML version :
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019
PDF version (4MB, 52 pages) : https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/3384/en-prs-bklt-aug-28th-approved-final-s.pdf
E-Book version : http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019-0
September 2014

---

Realizing the Potential of All Ontarians
New Poverty Reduction Strategy Aims to End Homelessness

http://news.ontario.ca/prs/en/2014/09/realizing-the-potential-of-all-ontarians.html
News Release
September 3, 2014
Ontario's new Poverty Reduction Strategy is focused on ending homelessness and providing a stable foundation to help people rise out of poverty. The strategy will invest in initiatives that are evidence-based and measurable, so that Ontario can track its progress and get the best possible results for people. The strategy, Realizing Our Potential, recommits to reducing child poverty by 25 per cent. It will also help support those in poverty to access jobs, education and training opportunities, while continuing to maintain income security for vulnerable Ontarians.

Quick Facts:
* The strategy builds on Breaking the Cycle, Ontario’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy, launched in 2008. The original strategy helped lift 47,000 children and families out of poverty in the first three years.
* Since 2003, Ontario has committed more than $4 billion to affordable housing initiatives.
* Ontario continues to call on the federal government to be a partner in its poverty reduction efforts. A strong federal partner is necessary as the province works toward meeting its poverty reduction goals

---

Backgrounder:
Realizing Our Potential: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, 2014-2019

http://news.ontario.ca/prs/en/2014/09/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019.html
September 3, 2014
Ontario's new Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential, is built around four key pillars:
1. A Long-Term Goal to End Homelessness in Ontario
2. Continuing to Break the Cycle of Poverty
3. Moving Toward Employment and Income Security
4. Investing in What Works

Source:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/

Government of Ontario
http://www.ontario.ca/


Related links:

By Realizing Our Potential: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (2014-2019)
Updated September 3, 2014
HTML version : http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019
PDF version (PDF - 4MB, 52 pages) : https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/3384/en-prs-bklt-aug-28th-approved-final-s.pdf
Table of contents:

* Executive summary
* Introduction
* Building on progress: Ontario’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy
* Poverty interrupted: continuing to break the cycle for children and youth
Working against poverty: moving towards employment and income security
Right at home: a long-term goal to end homelessness in Ontario
Investing in what works: using evidence-based social policy and measuring success
Conclusion

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From
CBC.ca
:
[ http://www.cbc.ca/ ]

Ontario misses target on child poverty reduction, blames Ottawa
'Extraordinary progress' made, though the promised 25 per cent reduction not met

http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/toronto/story/1.2754692
September 3, 2014

On September 3, Alan Neal, host of CBC Radio All in a Day, interviewed Minister Deb Matthews, after which Mike Bulthuis (Executive Director of the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa) offered some initial reactions. The two interviews are available here:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/AudioMobile/All+in+a+Day/ID/2506144261/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the
Toronto Star:

[ http://www.thestar.com/ ]

Wynne’s poverty agenda keeps social justice in the window: Editorial
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/09/04/wynnes_poverty_agenda_keeps_social_justice_in_the_window_editorial.html
September 4, 2014
There’s nothing easy about tackling poverty and homelessness, even in a society as affluent as ours. It’s especially tough at a time when Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government is struggling to squeeze every penny from the $130-billion provincial budget to eliminate a $12.5-billion deficit by 2017-18. So Ontario’s new five-year anti-poverty strategy – dubbed “Realizing our Potential” – was bound to be more aspirational than quick fix when Deputy Premier Deb Matthews rolled it out this week. Social advocates give the government credit for dreaming big.
As Matthews said, poverty should be no one’s destiny. But...

Social groups applaud plan to end homelessness in Ontario, but urge deadline http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/09/03/liberals_promise_to_end_homelessness_some_day.html
September 3, 2014

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful
http://abeoudshoorn.com/blog/?p=999
Abe Oudshoorn

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the
Income Security Advocacy Centre:
[ http://www.incomesecurity.org/ ]
Tackling social assistance poverty:
A test of success for Ontario’s second five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy
http://goo.gl/FRVpwq
September 3, 2014
The provincial government unveiled its second five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy earlier today, called ‘Realizing Our Potential’. ISAC commends government for continuing to focus on reducing and eliminating poverty in Ontario. We cannot have a fair and a just province when 1.5 million Ontarians continue to live with the effects of poverty and inequality every day.

Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/breaking-cycle-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy

On December 4, 2008, the Government of Ontario committed itself to
reducing the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over the next 5 years.

The Strategy Paper:
Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy : Breaking the Cycle (PDF - 1.3MB, 45 pages)
December 4, 2008
Chapter 1: Stronger, Healthier Kids and Families
Chapter 2: Stronger, Healthier Communities
Chapter 3: Opportunity for All
Chapter 4: Smarter Government
Chapter 5: Measuring Our Progress
Chapter 6: Moving Forward
Chapter 7: The Federal Role
Chapter 8: The Municipal Role
Chapter 9: All Hands on Deck

-------------------------------------------------------------

Bill 152, Poverty Reduction Act, 2009
HTML version
PDF version
(358K, 6 pages)
Tabled by the Hon. Deborah Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth Services
February 25, 2009

Second Reading copy:

Bill 152 : An Act respecting a
long-term strategy to reduce poverty in Ontario
(PDF - 349K, 10 pages)
April 28, 2009
Second reading copy, changes annotated

----------------------------

Reports below are in reverse chronological order.

December 16, 2013
Fifth year report:

Breaking the Cycle: The Fifth Progress Report
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy 2013 Annual Report (PDF - 5MB, 76 pages)
The report highlights progress made since the strategy was launched in 2008 and results of recent consultations with Ontarians that will help shape a new, broader five-year strategy in 2014.

Read online (e-pub):
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2013-annual-report
PDF version (5MB, 76 pages):
https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/3365/2013-annual-report.pdf
December 2013
Excerpt (page 69):
We thank the thousands of people who contributed their perspectives in shaping the next Poverty Reduction Strategy, which will be released in the spring of 2014. We recognize that the first strategy was just a starting point, and that there are opportunities that still need to be addressed in the fight against poverty. (...) We also recognize that strengthening the province’s social safety net remains essential so that it will be there for those who need it when they need it. Our government is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by creating the opportunity for all low-income people in Ontario to improve their lives.

Backgrounder : Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy 2013 Annual Report
http://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2013/12/ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2013-annual-report.html
December 16, 2013

Government statement on annual Poverty Reduction Strategy report
http://news.ontario.ca/mcys/en/2013/12/statement-from-minister-of-children-and-youth-services-2013-annual-report-on-ontarios-poverty-reduct.html
December 16, 2013

Key Accomplishments of the 2008-2013 Poverty Reduction Strategy
Infographic
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/documents/breakingthecycle/2013-Infographic.pdf

Links to all five progress reports:
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/realizing-our-potential-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019
(links to these reports are located near the bottom of the page)

Source:
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

December 13, 2012
Fourth year report:

40,000 Children and Their Families Lifted Out of Poverty:
McGuinty Government Releases Fourth Progress Report on Poverty Reduction
http://news.ontario.ca/mcys/en/2012/12/40000-children-and-their-families-lifted-out-of-poverty.html
December 13, 2012
News Release
Ontario has helped 40,000 children and their families get out of poverty since 2008, despite a climate of global economic uncertainty. Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy 2012 Annual Report released today highlights progress made over the last four years in helping children and families emerge from poverty and raise their quality of life. The report contains many encouraging signs of progress...
(Because Statistics Canada data lags by 18 months, the 2012 Annual Report shows progress on income-based indicators for 2009 and 2010 — the first two years of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.)

The report:

Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy 2012 Annual Report
December 2012
HTML version:
http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/poverty-reduction-strategy-2012-annual-report
PDF version (5.6MB, 46 pages):
https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/3363/2012-annual-report.pdf
Table of Contents:
* Minister's Message
* Executive Summary
* Introduction
* The Child and Youth Opportunity Wheel
* Early Years
* Middle Years
* Adolescence
* Early Adulthood
* Opportunities for All
* All Hands on Deck
* Conclusion
* Appendix – Measures, Indicators and Outcomes

Backgrounder and Highlights
http://news.ontario.ca/mcys/en/2012/12/ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2012-annual-report.html

Source:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/index.aspx

Related link:

Ontario anti-poverty efforts pull 40,000 children out of poverty
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1302078
December 13, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
About 40,000 Ontario children have been pulled out of poverty since 2008, according to the McGuinty government’s annual update on provincial efforts to cut child poverty. The report, released Thursday by Children and Youth Minister Laurel Broten, is part of the government’s commitment to help 90,000 children escape poverty by 2013. But since Statistics Canada income data lags by almost two years, Ontarians won’t know if the goal has been met until 2015.

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Third year report:

Breaking the Cycle:
The Third Progress Report
Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
2011 Annual Report
(PDF - 3.6MB, 33 pages)
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/documents/breakingthecycle/2011AnnualReport.pdf
PDF file date : December 16, 2011
Excerpt from the Minister's Message:
The poverty rate for children in Ontario declined from 15.2 per cent in 2008 to 14.6 per cent in 2009, which means 20,000 children have moved out of poverty, due in part to our investments in children and families. As well, the poverty rate for children living in deep poverty declined from 8.5 per cent in 2008 to 7.3 per cent in 2009, meaning 34,000 children were lifted out of deep poverty. Poverty rates for children in single mom-led families dropped most dramatically, from 43.2 per cent in 2008 to 35.2 per cent in 2009. It is important to note that data from Statistics Canada lags by 18 months.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Second year report:

Breaking the Cycle: The Second Progress Report:
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy 2010 Annual Report
December 2010
PDF version
(2.3MB, 34 pages)
Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy – the first in our province’s history — was launched in 2008 with an ambitious goal of reducing the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over five years. This report provides an important record of our progress during the first two years and describes the key steps being taken to help break the cycle of poverty in Ontario and build opportunities that enable every Ontarian to succeed and contribute.

Report highlights:
PDF version
(267K, 2 pages)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First year report:

Breaking the Cycle: The First Year
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, 2009 Annual Report

December 2009
PDF version
(1.2MB, 23 pages)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The original poverty
reduction strategy paper:

Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy
December 2008
HTML version
PDF version
(2.3MB, 34 pages)

Report highlights:
HTML version
PDF version
(116K, 2 pages)

Source:
[ Ministry of Children and Youth Services ]
[ Government of Ontario ]

The links below are, for the most part, organized in reverse chronological order, with the most recent additions at the top.

News Release : Ontario Helping Lift People Out of Poverty
Province Supporting Innovative Solutions to Housing, Employment, and Skills Development

https://news.ontario.ca/prs/en/2016/10/ontario-helping-lift-people-out-of-poverty.html
October 26, 2016 9:00 A.M.
Ontario is investing in 30 community projects across the province that are supporting new ways to help people break the cycle of poverty, find good jobs and end homelessness in Ontario.

Local Poverty Reduction Fund
https://www.ontario.ca/page/local-poverty-reduction-fund
The fund is a $50 million, 6-year initiative created to support innovative, community-driven projects that measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty.

More info about the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy
https://news.ontario.ca/en/search?keywords=&entry_blog_ids%5B%5D=102

Realizing Our Potential: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (2014-2019)
https://www.ontario.ca/page/realizing-our-potential-ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy-2014-2019-all

Ontario Non-Governmental pages:

Six Canadian cities chosen as sites for anti-poverty case studies, to inform national poverty reduction strategy
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09/02/six-cities-chosen-as-test-sites-for-national-anti-poverty-strategy_n_11836624.html
September 2, 2016
(...) The project will see federal officials run case studies in Saint John, Trois-Rivières, Que., Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife and Tisdale, Sask., which was chosen so federal officials would have a rural community to test ideas.

Related links:

The Government of Canada announces the Tackling Poverty Together Project
Saint John, New Brunswick first community to be studied
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1119579&_ga=1.199789162.592249347.1473415224
September 2, 2016

---

Federal release: Government announces Tackling Poverty Together Project
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1119579

Ontario Establishing Income Security Reform Working Group
https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2016/06/ontario-establishing-income-security-reform-working-group.html
Bulletin
June 29, 2016
Ontario has established an Income Security Reform Working Group to help guide the province's efforts to reduce poverty, support people in their efforts to participate in the economy, and provide services in a way that makes sense to the people who need them.

The province is working to move away from a complex system of social assistance, to a more holistic, client-centred approach to a broader income security system. The working group will build on work already underway and provide advice to government on social assistance reform, income security, and supports for housing, health and employment. The Basic Income Pilot announced in the 2016 Budget will help inform this work.

George Thomson, Senior Director of the National Judicial Institute and former Ontario Provincial Court Judge, who also chaired the Ontario Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform, will act as the Income Security Working Group’s facilitator.

Membership of Ontario's Income Security Reform Working Group
Backgrounder
https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2016/06/membership-of-ontarios-income-security-reform-working-group.html
June 29, 2016

Source:
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/index.aspx

Related link:

Provincial panel to draft welfare reform roadmap
https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2016/06/29/provincial-panel-to-draft-welfare-reform-roadmap.html
June 29, 2016

---

- Go to the Guaranteed Annual Income Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/gai.htm

Toronto:

TO Prosperity : Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy
http://goo.gl/luyS8Z

Unanimously approved by City Council on November 3, 2015, TO Prosperity draws on the experiences and ideas of hundreds of Toronto residents from all parts of the city, and sets a bold vision to build a city with opportunities for all.

Poverty in Toronto
http://goo.gl/kRukgw
The Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy aims to address three worrying socioeconomic trends:
1. Work isn’t working
2.
More education isn't helping
3.
Incomes aren’t meeting basic needs.

Community Engagement
http://goo.gl/LFRLzH
TO Prosperity is grounded on a broad and exclusive community engagement process.

Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy
http://goo.gl/9SKVlz
Learn about the vision, objectives, and recommendations in Toronto's first poverty reduction strategy.
Click this link to access the complete 64-page reduction strategy.

TIP : The last section of the strategy ("References") contains over a dozen related links.
Click the link immediately above to access all of the content below

Table of contents:

Introduction
Poverty in Toronto
Vision & Objectives
Housing Stability
Service Access
Transit Equity
Food Access
Quality Jobs & Livable Incomes
Systemic Change
Moving to Action: The Implementation of TO Prosperity
Letter from Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell
Acknowledgements
Appendix A: Indicators
Appendix B: 2015–2018 Term Action Plan
References <=== includes over a dozen related links

Documents and Reports
http://goo.gl/WlYxHr
Seven key Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy documents and reports, including briefing notes and work plans.

“Honey I shrunk the Poverty Strategy”: How the City of Toronto Budget
took a $25 million welfare saving and turned it into a $6 million poverty strategy
(small PDF file, 3 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Honey-I-shrunk-the-Poverty-Strategy.pdf

By John Stapleton
February 9
(...)
When poverty reduction strategies are put forward, the perennial question is: “where is the money going to come from?”
Well, the simple answer is that the money should come from the significant welfare savings that the City of Toronto is busy deploying elsewhere.

Source:
Open Policy - John Stapleton
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Joe Gunn: Five qualities a federal anti-poverty plan must include
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/joe-gunn/liberals-canadian-poverty-reduction-strategy_b_8954056.html

Five lessons from the failing fight against child poverty
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/five-lessons-failing-fight-against-child-poverty
Ontario vowed to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent between 2008 and 2013.
It came nowhere close.
What can we learn from that failure?
By Kaylie Tiessen
November 30, 2015
It’s been seven years since the Ontario government announced its commitment to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent between 2008 and 2013. That same year marked the beginning of the 2008-09 recession, which hit Ontario hard. Yet even in the face of these struggles, data showed that early poverty reduction efforts were making a difference. By 2010, child poverty had fallen by 8.7 per cent.

But the full five years of data paint a far less sunny picture: Ontario ended its five-year strategy with the same child poverty rate as when it began in 2008. In 2013 — the most recent year of available data — 20 per cent of Ontario’s children lived in poor families.

Ontario can learn a few lessons from the experience of that first strategy.

1. Poverty reduction strategies can work.
2. Poverty reduction requires steadfast commitment.
3. Commitments require steady funding to yield results.
4. Targets and timelines remain useful.
5. Having a federal partner in poverty reduction is a game-changer.
(...)

Kaylie Tiessen is an economist with the
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario office:
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/ontario

-----------------------------------

Related links from
the Toronto Star:

Queen’s Park is failing hungry Ontarians:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/11/26/queens-park-is-failing-hungry-ontarians-cole.html
By Desmond Cole
November 26, 2015
Despite her promise to be the 'social justice premier,' Kathleen Wynne has failed to ensure that low-income Ontarians can afford to eat.

---

Fine sentiments but no progress on child poverty
By Carol Goar
November 25, 2015
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/columnists/2015/11/25/fine-sentiments-but-no-progress-on-child-poverty-goar.html
Since Deputy Premier Deb Matthews unveiled her government’s poverty reduction strategy seven years ago, Ontario’s child poverty has climbed to 20 per cent from 15.2 per cent.

Poverty Free Ontario (PFO)
(Replaces Poverty Watch Ontario - see below.)
The mission of Poverty Free Ontario is to eliminate divided communities in which large numbers of adults and children live in chronic states of material hardship, poor health and social exclusion. An Ontario free of poverty will be reflected in healthy, inclusive communities with a place of dignity for everyone and the essential conditions of well-being for all.
- home page includes links to : * About * Event Calendar * Policy Agenda Overview [ End Deep Poverty /End Working Poverty / Protect Food Money] * Poverty in Ontario [Background / Status of Poverty in Ontario / What Does Poverty Eradication Mean?] * Cross Community Mobilization * Archives

Poverty Watch Ontario * "To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda"
Poverty Watch Ontario is keeping an eye on the provincial poverty reduction consultations and poverty reduction events in Ontario.
Poverty Watch Ontario is a joint venture of the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Ontario Campaign 2000, and the Income Security Advocacy Centre.
[ Poverty Watch Resources - links to websites and reports ]
---
* "As of June 17, 2011, the Social Planning Network of Ontario wishes to give notice that this site Poverty Watch Ontario will now be archived and we encourage all regular and new visitors to go to our new web site – Poverty Free Ontario ."

---

25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
http://25in5.ca/
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

Poverty Reduction Reboot:
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
(YouTube video, duration 42:18)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGW4PuiZqgk&list=UUu_u-P3cBFO7D-sAjxd_I-w
September 23, 2014
With a $10.5 billion deficit, can Ontario really "realize our potential" to break the cycle of poverty even as food bank usage hits record highs? Can Ontario really end homelessness? That's the promise of a new poverty reduction initiative from Queen's Park. The Agenda gathers a range of experts to look at what it will take to transform poverty in this province.

Source:
The Agenda

http://theagenda.tvo.org/

TV Ontario
http://tvo.org/

More spin than substance in poverty reduction plan:
Deb Matthew unveils the latest Liberal poverty reduction plan, setting no targets and offering no money
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/09/09/more_spin_than_substance_in_poverty_reduction_plan_goar.html
Deputy Premier Deb Matthews unveiled a 56-page blueprint for fighting poverty in Ontario last week, which consisted of recycled promises, long-term goals, soothing language and self-congratulations.
By Carol Goar
September 9, 2014
Anti-poverty advocates have learned to welcome crumbs from the Ontario Liberals. That is what they got in the five-year poverty reduction strategy unveiled by Deputy Premier Deb Matthews last week. The 56-page blueprint consisted of recycled promises, long-term goals, soothing language and self-congratulations (despite the fact she fell far short of her last five-year target.)

But social activists lauded the government for its good intentions, its comprehensive framework and its long-sought acknowledgement that homelessness is a provincial responsibility. They politely overlooked the fact that the minister did not raise welfare rates, did not provide a nutrition allowance, did not address the shortage of child care spaces and did not offer rent supplements. Do these advocates really speak for people living in poverty?
(...)
Deputy Premier Deb Matthews did not offer any new funding in her poverty reduction strategy. Nor did she set any measurable objectives.
In fairness, this is more than either of the opposition parties has offered to do. The Liberals have a vision of social justice. And they have made incremental progress since they took power in 2003. Is this reason enough to cheer? Social activists apparently think so. The 1.6 million Ontarians living in poverty still long for tangible help.

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

From Jennefer Laidley of the
Income Security Advocacy Centre:
[
http://www.incomesecurity.org/ ]

Latest Media & Policy News: 8 Sept 2014

http://goo.gl/wtOvku

Click the link above to access any of the articles below.

Top Story: Ontario's Second Poverty Reduction Strategy

Government releases its Poverty Reduction Strategy: “Realizing Our Potential”
Minister Matthews' video on the Office of the Premier’s YouTube channel

Some Statements and Responses

ISAC: The test of the strategy will be how it deals with social assistance poverty
25in5: The strategy's bold vision requires an action plan and investment strategy
ISARC: Strategy's positive elements needs targets, timelines, and new resources
AOHC: Steps in the right direction but no targets, timelines or implementation plan
Ontario NDP
And before the Strategy was announced, a statement on the importance of expanding health and dental benefits

Province-wide Coverage

Advocates applaud the plan, but urge targets and timelines be set
New PRS includes commitment to end homelessness
Star editorial: PRS keeps social justice in the window
Province reconfirms commitment to reduce child poverty by 25%
Ontario misses child poverty target; Ottawa didn’t step up
Ontario recommits to a 25% reduction and pledge to eradicate homelessness

Coverage from Communities Around the Province

* Hamilton:
Advocates say more money needed
AM900 interviews Tom Cooper:
Plan is a step in the right direction
Pike: The Strategy says the right things, but ambition isn’t enough

* York Region:
Advocates are cautiously optimistic

* Northumberland:
Advocates say PRS lacks meaningful action

* London:
Advocates say goals are reasonable

* Niagara:
St. Catherine’s Standard’s Grant LaFleche: Child poverty shouldn’t be an issue, but it is

Ottawa:
* Ottawa Citizen’s Reelevy says there’s much to like but more to do

Associated Resources

Mowat Centre’s report for MCYS on the approaches that work to reduce poverty
And a clinical tool to help doctors screen for poverty

---

Compiled by
Jennefer Laidley
Policy & Research Analyst
Income Security Advocacy Centre
http://www.incomesecurity.org/

Check the ISAC Media and Policy News archive:
http://goo.gl/I32FD
(Back to August 2012, does not include a table of contents for each issue)

Check Gilles' expanded Media and Policy News archive:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/isac_media_scan.htm
(Back to April 2012, includes a table of contents for each issue)

Subscribe to ISAC's Latest Media and Policy News mailing list:
http://goo.gl/XEGZg

Subscribe to the main ISAC E-List (to receive info on ISAC's law reform work, the social assistance review, and other OW / ODSP -related information):
http://goo.gl/j3gzt

---

- Go to the Income Security Advocacy Centre Media Scan page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/isac_media_scan.htm

Can Kathleen Wynne change the conversation on poverty?
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/12/can_kathleen_wynne_change_the_conversation_on_poverty.html
The premier has said refreshingly bold things about the role of government in fighting poverty. Will she make good on her promises? In her recent throne speech, Kathleen Wynne said that "government should be a force for good in people’s lives and it should be active where it is appropriate.”
By Leilani Farha
July 12, 2014
These are tough times in Ontario.
Once an economic giant, Ontario now has one of the largest debt-loads of any sub-national government in the world. And on a day-to-day basis for many, Ontario is a province in crisis.
(...)
In her throne speech, Wynne promised a poverty reduction strategy. If she is serious about this, she must look at the wise and concrete recommendations of the United Nations human rights system. Specifically, the UN calls on governments in Canada to strive to eliminate poverty by developing and implementing a plan in consultation with poor people, and including measurable goals and timelines, accountability mechanisms and a means by which poor people can claim their rights such as courts, tribunals, parliamentary proceedings, local councils or ombudsmen.
(...)
Wynne once said she wanted to be remembered as the “social justice premier.”
This is her chance.

[The author of this article, Leilani Farha, is the Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty.]

Source:
The Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

Related links:

Canada Without Poverty
http://www.cwp-csp.ca/
Canada Without Poverty is a federally incorporated, non-partisan, not-for-profit and charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Canada. [formerly known as the National Anti-Poverty Organization]

Ontario Throne Speech Details
http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/07/03/liberal_government_throne_speech_details_leftleaning_agenda.html

Ontario Election 2014:
Provincial Parties Offer Starkly Different Approaches to Poverty Reduction
*
http://25in5.ca/ontario-election-2014-provincial-parties-offer-starkly-different-approaches-to-poverty-reduction/
June 10, 2014
The results of a new survey* demonstrate varying levels of commitment to poverty reduction among Ontario’s political parties, say Ontario Campaign 2000 and the 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction. (...) Each of the parties committed to the Poverty Reduction Act in 2009, and it’s notable that two parties would move forward with poverty reduction policies while one party proposes policies that would move Ontario backwards. Nonetheless, people in poverty in Ontario need more.

* NOTE : The Ontario Liberal Party won the June 12 election, so the survey results for the Liberals may be considered as a blueprint for the new government's antipoverty plans.

* Survey results (PDF - 76K, 2 pages)
http://25in5.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/OC2000-and-25in5-Grid-PRS-Ontario-Election-2014.pdf

Sources:
Ontario Campaign 2000 :
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/
25in5
Network for Poverty Reduction : http://25in5.ca/

They can't, but we can
(cost of bringing everyone out of poverty in Ontario)
http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/john-stapleton/they-cant-we-can
By John Stapleton
January 21, 2014
So why do we want the poor to eliminate poverty themselves?
"Canada does not accept recommendation 17 or the related recommendation ... to develop a national strategy to eliminate poverty. Provinces and territories have jurisdiction in this area of social policy and have developed their own programs to address poverty."
– Federal Government statement - 2009
(...)
The federal government owns, controls, administers or otherwise funds over 80% of Canada’s income security programs that greatly influence who is and who is not poor. But they have just two things to say: we don’t need a national strategy and the provinces and territories have jurisdiction.

So could the Ontario government go it alone?
The simple answer is ‘yes’ but it could use some help from the federal government – more about that later.
Let’s take a look at how much money it would take to bring everyone out of poverty in Ontario...

Source:
Vibrant Communities Canada

http://vibrantcanada.ca/

The elimination of poverty requires a dedicated plan
http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4298085-the-elimination-of-poverty-requires-a-dedicated-plan/
By Ryan Meili
January 4, 2014
(...) As most provinces have realized (all but British Columbia and Saskatchewan have introduced comprehensive poverty reduction plans), poverty doesn't just go away on its own. Those provinces that have dedicated resources and meaningful measures have seen that investment pay off in significantly fewer people living in poverty, and decreased costs as a result.

The proposed legislation supports Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Source:
The Northumberland View

http://www.northumberlandview.ca/

From Jennefer Laidley of the
Income Security Advocacy Centre:
[
http://www.incomesecurity.org/ ]

December 4, 2013
Today marks the 5th anniversary of Ontario's first five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy.

* The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction says poverty reduction is key to a prosperous economy; bold action needed in the next strategy:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/04/poverty_reduction_key_to_fairer_more_prosperous_ontario.html
Related link:
25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction [ http://25in5.ca/ ]

* Anglican Dioceses share five steps to action on poverty reduction:
http://niagaraanglican.ca/vision/docs/social-justice/Building%20a%20society_Niagara_onepage.pdf

* Community Development Halton calls for strong action:
http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion-story/4238871-combatting-poverty-together/

* Five ideas from Alan Broadbent, of Avana and Maytree:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/target-the-poor-not-the-rich-for-real-solutions-to-income-inequality/article15631870/

Poverty patchwork
Can the grassroots trust the Wynne government after missing targets?
http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=194968
By Paul Weinberg
October 24, 2013
(...)
John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) is very critical of the willingness of groups like the 25-in-5 Network (reduce poverty 25 per cent within five years) to participate in ongoing dialogue with the government. (...) Clarke doesn’t see the point in participating in the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ new round of info-seeking on poverty.
(...)
Policy expert John Stapleton from the 25-in-5 Network wants to “cut a bit of slack” for the government. He believes it was essentially the recession that got in the way of poverty reduction. What we have at Queen’s Park, he says, is a welcome relief from the dictates of the right-wing governments at the national and city level.

TOP FIVE POVERTY FACTS:
12.9% - Ontarians living below the poverty line
$626 - What single people on welfare live on monthly
25% Peoportion of Food bank users in downtown T.O. with a university education or above
40% Food bank clients in the Greater Toronto Area who have gone hungry at least once a week due to lack of money
21% Toronto youths who are unemployed

Source:
Now Toronto
(October 24 issue)
http://www.nowtoronto.com/

From the
Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network:

Making Ontario a place where
everyone has the same opportunities ...

Submission to the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion
Recommendations for the 2014 - 2018 Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy
(Word file - 39K, 11 pages)
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/ottawa_2014-18_PRS.docx
Prepared by the Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network
in consultation with our community.
October 2013
The Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network is presenting these recommendations to the Cabinet Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion Committee on behalf of the Ottawa community.
(...)
Recommendations regarding the 2014-2018
phase of the Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy :

* The Strategy should contain specific measures that will reduce the poverty rate, each year, of one of five specific groups by 5% per year over the five-year life of the Strategy.
* While maintaining the delivery of current programs (OW, ODSP, Employment Ontario, etc.) as separate entities, integrate the administration of all income-related, personal support and training programs at the municipal level (2015).
* Effective July 1st, 2014, all decisions made regarding any benefit or allowance, whether mandatory or discretionary, should be made appealable including through both internal review and external processes.
* Increase the minimum wage by $1.00 per hour PLUS inflation every year for five years on July 1st of each year.
* Increase the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) by inflation PLUS $20 per month on July 1st each year for five years; continue eligibility for the OCB past 18 if the young person is in full-time school.
* Increase the earnings exemption in 2014 and 2015 for all social assistance recipients by $25 per month for each dependent in the family.
* Redefine "earned income" to include income replacement programs such as WSIB, EI, LTD and CPP and use the net rather than the gross income to calculate deductions from Social Assistance (2015).
* Restructure social assistance rates so that the cheque has three basic components: shelter, nutrition and basic needs (July 2014)
* Develop a handbook specific to each municipality detailing all low-income federal, provincial and municipal support programs in that community that would be available to low income individuals and community agencies.
* While these measures will improve the incomes of low income Ontarians, care needs to be taken to ensure that the increases are not taxed back through increases in rent, child care fees, taxes and other government charges.
* Cap the co-pay on the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program at $10 per month (2014) so that people with multiple prescriptions can still afford to purchase their medications and also eat.
* Provide medically-required supplemental nutrition requirements through the Special Diet Allowance (SDA) to all social assistance recipients and all low-income seniors according to the pre-2009 formulary (2014) and extend the SDA to all low-income residents (2017).
* Provide preventative and restorative dental care to all low-income children (2014); all social assistance recipients (2015); all working poor (2016); and all low-income seniors (2017).
* Develop a vision care program for the working poor and children (2015) and extend it to all low income Ontarians (2018).
* Develop a program to provide medical necessities to the working poor (2016) and to all low income Ontarians (2018).
* Restore all items cut from EHSS in recent budgets as well as cuts made to discretionary health benefits (2014).
* Create an infrastructure program that invests in housing and creates jobs.
Set the rent in all social housing at 30% of net household income regardless of source of income effective July 2015 for tenants not receiving social assistance and July 2017 for those receiving assistance.
* Restructure housing with supports so that the supports are tied to the person, not the housing (2015).
* Provide incentives to employers to hire and/or train and/or accommodate low-income Ontarians living with a disability and social assistance recipients for permanent positions (2015).
* Introduce a voluntary participation agreement for all social assistance recipients that provides tangible supports.
* Through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), provide supports to cover education-related expenses for students from families living below the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO) in the form of 50% grants and 50% forgivable loans for the first four years of post-secondary study (Sept 2014).
* Child care allowances should be provided to all low income parents who are involved in training programs, attending school or employed (2017).

Source:
Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network

http://www.oprn-rrpo.ca/en/oprn-rrpo/

------------

For more info on the above, please contact Linda Lalonde
of the Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network :
linda_lalonde_ottawa@yahoo.com

Income Security Advocacy Centre
Submission on the Minimum Wage
http://goo.gl/v3LkIv

October 17, 2013

Advisory Panel to report to government in December
The Ontario government appointed a Minimum Wage Advisory Panel in June 2013 to give advice on how to set the minimum wage. Although ISAC mainly works on social assistance issues, the minimum wage is an important part of ensuring income security for Ontarians and their families. So we wanted to give the Panel our perspective on this issue.

Our submission:
* Supports the 25in5 Network's proposal that the minimum wage should be set at a level that lifts minimum-wage workers out of poverty, adjusted annually for inflation, and reviewed periodically by an independent body;
* Supports the call from the Raise the Minimum Wage Campaign to immediately raise the minimum wage to $14 / hour;
* Calls on the Panel to bring forward recommendations to government to extend minimum wage protections to workers who are currently exempt; and,
* Calls on the Panel to bring forward recommendations to highlight the role of other employment and labour market policies that would help ensure that jobs provide the income security and stability that Ontarians require.

The minimum wage can help ensure income security, but it can also help reduce poverty and income inequality, and help close the gap between the wages of racialized and non-racialized workers, men and women, and recent immigrants and longer-term residents.

Our submission (Microsoft Word file - 100K, 2 pages):
http://www.incomesecurity.org/documents/ISACsubmissiontoMinimumWageAdvisoryPanel-17Oct2013.doc

Read more about the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel:
https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/advisorypanel.php

Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre
http://www.incomesecurity.org/

Submission to Minister Piruzza on
Ontario's Next Five-Year Poverty Reduction Strategy
(Microsoft Word file - 140K, 8 pages):
http://www.incomesecurity.org/documents/ISACSubmissiononpovertyreduction-Oct2013.doc
October 4, 2013
(...)
We appreciate the government's commitment to poverty reduction and the important progress on reducing child poverty that has been made to date. This next five-year period is a critical opportunity for government to continue to make progress, to expand the focus of poverty reduction beyond children, and to be more strategic in its approach. We hope that our recommendations will assist in achieving these objectives.

Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre
http://www.incomesecurity.org/

Note from the Caledon Institute About
Poverty Reduction in Ontario
(PDF - 28K, 3 pages)
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/1017ENG.pdf
September 26, 2013
By Michael Mendelson
While the provinces and territories can and should make an important contribution to reducing poverty, the federal government must also be engaged and do its part. It has at its disposal the most potent instruments to fight poverty and inequality.
(...)
The Caledon Institute has pointed to two zero cost options that the federal government could implement immediately, which would have at least some small impact on reducing poverty. It could eliminate pension incomesplitting, which is almost entirely of benefit only to the wealthiest seniors, and use the resulting one billion dollar savings to boost the Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors. Ottawa could also eliminate the flawed and inequitable Universal Child Care Benefit and nonrefundable Child Tax Credit and redirect the savings to the well-designed and equitable Canada Child Tax Benefit.
(...)
The recent Social Assistance Review is an important contribution to the effort to reform welfare. We do not here intend to undertake a detailed analysis. However, like many others in Ontario, we are reluctant to endorse the integration of Ontario Disability Supports into the Ontario Works program.

Source:
Caledon Institute of Social Policy
http://www.caledoninst.org/
Established in 1992, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy is a private, nonprofit organization with charitable status. It is supported primarily by the Maytree Foundation, located in Toronto. Caledon is an independent and critical voice that does not depend on government funding and is not affiliated with any political party.

Consultation on Ontario's Minimum Wage
by the Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel
Summer 2013

New Advisory Panel to Examine Ontario's Minimum Wage System:
Province Committed to Ensuring a Fair and Prosperous Society for All Ontarians
http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2013/07/new-advisory-panel-to-examine-ontarios-minimum-wage-system.html
July 17, 2013
Ontario has appointed a Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, chaired by Anil Verma, Professor of Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, to help ensure a process that is fair for workers, predictable for business and creates more opportunities for all Ontarians
[Govt. of Ontario news release]

The Consultation paper:

A Consultation Paper On Ontario’s Minimum Wage
HTML Version :
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/consultation.php
Inerested parties were required to provide their response by October 18, 2013.

Panel Terms of Reference
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/terms.php
The Minimum Wage Advisory Panel (Panel) will examine Ontario’s current minimum wage policy and provide advice on an approach for determining the minimum wage in the future. It will examine the effectiveness of other jurisdictions’ minimum wage models.

Panel Members
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/membership.php

Regional Consultations
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/regional.php

Source:
Ontario Ministry of Labour
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english

---

Related link:

Ontario minimum wage panel to look at more than just inflation
http://metronews.ca/news/toronto/741338/ontario-minimum-wage-panel-to-look-at-more-than-just-inflation/
July 17, 2013

Source:
Metro News Toronto
http://metronews.ca/news/toronto/

Why ask if you aren’t listening?
Here we go again: Consultation on poverty reduction going nowhere — they don’t seem to hear what Ontarians are saying
http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4047028-why-ask-if-you-aren-t-listening-/
August 24, 2013
By Deirdre Pike
Usually it's nice when someone asks for your opinion. When you're consulted on a question or an issue, it often means someone values what you think; that your point of view is worth considering and perhaps even acting on.
I've had enough of being consulted lately though, both personally and provincially.
(...)
And now, the consultations on next steps for poverty reduction in Ontario have started in the dog days of summer.
(...)
Frankly, it probably doesn't matter. They don't seem to hear what Ontarians are saying.
(...)
How can a government that says it stands for social justice find a way to finance transit but not to reduce poverty for the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians living in poverty? It's time for change.

[ Author Deirdre Pike is a freelance columnist for The Hamilton Spectator, and she chairs HOPE, Hamilton Organizing for Poverty Elimination. ]

Source:
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/

Lessons from Ontario’s campaign to cut child poverty:
Ontario has reduced child poverty for three years in a row, and its strategy holds important lessons for future progress.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/07/03/lessons_from_ontarios_campaign_to_cut_child_poverty.html
July 03 2013
By Greg deGroot-Maggetti, Margaret Hancock and Heather McGregor
Child poverty in Ontario has dropped for a third consecutive year. According to the latest figures just released by Statistics Canada, Ontario’s child poverty rate of 13.8 per cent in 2011 was down from 15.2 per cent three years earlier.
(...)
As Ontario sets out to consult regarding its next five-year anti-poverty strategy, the past strategy provides five important lessons.
* The first is that setting targets matters...
* The second lesson is that public engagement matters...
* Third, there are no silver bullets when it comes to complex issues such as poverty...
* Fourth, good social policy makes all the difference.
* Lastly, when it comes to investments, you only get out of it as much as you put in...
(...)
The most important lesson of all is that building dignity and opportunity for all cannot stop at words and aspirations.

Greg deGroot-Maggetti is co-chair of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.
Margaret Hancock is Executive Director of Family Service Toronto.
Heather McGregor is CEO of YWCA Toronto.

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

May 2, 2013
Ontario Budget 2013
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/budgets_2013.htm#on
The 2013 Ontario Budget was tabled in the Ontario Legislature on May 2, 2013.

The link above will take you to the Ontario section of the 2013 Federal and Provincial-Territorial Budgets page, where you'll find links to:
* The 2013 budget papers from the Ontario Ministry of Finance
* Media budget coverage from CBC News, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun
* Analysis and critique of the budget measures from the following:
---The Income Security Advocacy Centre
--- The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
--- The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
--- Ontario Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
--- Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario
--- Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction
--- TD Bank Economics - Federal and Provincial Budgets

2013 Ontario Speech from the Throne

Ontario's Liberal government won't fall on throne speech
But further New Democratic Party support will depend on budget

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/02/18/ontario-throne-speech-kathleen-wynne.html
February 19, 2013
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's minority Liberal government presented a legislative plan Tuesday that won the temporary support of the NDP, ensuring its survival for now. New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath said the throne speech was vague, but showed some promise. (...) According to the speech, the governing Liberals intend to remain focused on creating jobs and improving the economy, while ensuring that opportunities are extended to all Ontarians.
NOTE : To read the complete text of the 2013 Ontario Speech from the Throne, click the link above and then scroll to the bottom of the article, just before the "Comments" section.

Source:
CBC News
Toronto
http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/

Related links:

From
25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction:

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/
February 19, 2013
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 (click the link above) 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.

Achieve Ontario's Poverty Reduction Target:
http://25in5.ca/earnmorekeepmorerestore/

* EARN MORE : Work should be a way out of poverty, not a trap into it.
* KEEP MORE : For people on social assistance, it's impossible to get ahead when the little you have is taken away.
* RESTORE : It's hard to reach your fullpotential on an empty stomach or in inadequate housing.

TAKE ACTION!
http://25in5.ca/1045-2/
Send an e-postcard to Premier Kathleen Wynne, PC Leader Tim Hudak, and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to remind them to fulfill
their commitment to reduce child poverty by 25% in Ontario by the end of 2013.

Source:
25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction

http://25in5.ca/
The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network of groups and individuals working province wide to eliminate poverty in Ontario

[Ontario] Leadership hopefuls pledge action against poverty
http://25in5.ca/liberal-candidates-pledge-action-against-poverty/
January 22, 2013
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.

Results of the Candidates' Questionnaire on Poverty Reduction
http://25in5.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Liberal-leadership-candidates-questionnaire.png

Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
http://25in5.ca/
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

Meeting the Poverty Reduction Target:Strong Leadership and Good Policy Required
Fourth Annual Progress Report on Poverty Reduction in Ontario
(PDF - 299K, 18 pages)
http://25in5.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Meeting-the-Poverty-Reduction-Target-Dec-4-2012.pdf
December 4, 2012

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.

Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction

http://25in5.ca/
The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty in Ontario.

---------------------------------------------

Related links:

From the
Wellesley Institute:

Time for Ontario to make some tough choices: poverty and inequality are not inevitable
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/time-for-ontario-to-make-some-tough-choices-poverty-and-inequality-are-not-inevitable/
December 4, 2012
By Steve Barnes
In 2008, the Ontario government committed to reduce child poverty by 25 percent in 5 years. 2013 marks the final year in the province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy, and a new report by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction shows that we have a long way to go to meet our target.

25 in 5 sets out key investments that we need to make now to ensure that we meet our target, including:
1) Fully implement the Ontario Child Benefit in 2013.
2) $100 increase for single adults on Ontario Works.
3) Restore the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit
4) Updating Ontario’s minimum wage

Source:
Wellesley Institute

http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com
The Wellesley Institute is a Toronto-based non-profit and non-partisan research and policy institute. We focus on developing research, policy and community mobilization to advance population health.

---

From the
Toronto Star:

Ontario risks missing anti-poverty pledge
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1297127
December 4, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Without a promised hike to Ontario’s child benefit, Queen’s Park will not meet its pledge to lift 90,000 children out of poverty by 2013, anti-poverty advocates warn.
“With one year and one final budget remaining in Ontario’s historic first poverty reduction strategy, we call on all … political parties to commit to fulfilling the first poverty reduction target,” they say in their fourth annual progress report being released Tuesday.

The provincial strategy, released in 2008, promised a broad range of measures to cut Ontario’s child poverty rate by 25 per cent within five years. They included an annual child benefit of up to $1,310 per child by next December. More than one million Ontarians live in poverty, including about one in every seven children and teens.

11 comments about this article
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1297127#comments

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

Reducing child poverty in Ontario by 25% by 2013 : How are we doing? - December 3

December 4 marks the fourth anniversary
of Ontario's promise to reduce child poverty by 25% by 2013.
(video, duration 2:47)
http://ontarionewswatch.com/onw-news.html?id=448
December 3, 2012
In this video, Trish Hennessy (Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Ontario Office) argues that a boost in the minimum wage would really help get us there.

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/

In its 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Ontario government made a commitment to review social assistance, comprising Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (see page 15 of the complete report below).
Here's the final report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.

Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario
recommends sweeping reforms to create paths into employment and out of poverty
http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1058305/prospects-report-charts-course-to-transform-social-assistance
October 24, 2012
News Release
Ontario's social assistance system must do a better job of helping people move into employment and supporting all recipients, including those with disabilities, to participate in the workforce to the maximum of their abilities. These findings are among the comprehensive Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario, the final report to government of the 22-month Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, led by Frances Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh. Together, the report's 108 recommendations chart a new course for social assistance towards a simpler, more effective and accountable system that removes barriers to employment and increases opportunities to work.

Complete report:

Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario (PDF - 2.5MB, 184 pages)
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/social/publications/social_assistance_review_final_report.pdf
October 2012
(...)
This report charts a new course for social assistance in Ontario, a course designed to support all recipients to participate in the workforce to the maximum of their abilities and to guarantee income security for those who cannot work. It is the final report of the review of social assistance established as part of Ontario’s 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy. That strategy articulated a vision of a province where all people have the opportunity to realize their full potential.
[Source : Excerpt from the Executive Summary, p.19]

Highlights of Proposed Reforms (MS Word file - 59K, 5 pages) [dead link]
http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/uploads/File/Backgrounder---Highlights-of-Proposed-Reforms---Eng.doc
The report makes 108 recommendations to transform social assistance into a simpler, more effective and accountable system that is better at moving people into jobs and out of poverty.
Proposed reforms are grouped under the following headings:
* A single, integrated social assistance program delivered at the local level
* A simplified benefit structure
* Treatment of child support as earned income (incl. earnings exemptions)
* Initial steps to improve adequacy of financial support
* Strengthening accountability
* Acting on income security
* First Nations and social assistance
* Implementing change

Related links [dead link]
http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/final-report
- includes links to the following:
* News Release: Prospects report charts course to transform social assistance
* Video News Release
* Fast Facts About Social Assistance
* Highlights of proposed reforms
* Backgrounder: Improving the Employment Prospects of People with Disabilities
* Backgrounder: What People Are Saying
* Letter from Business Advisory Panel on Income Security Reform
* Letter from Social Assistance Review Advisory Council
* Video statement from Bill Downe, Chair, Business Advisory Panel on Income Security Reform
* Video statement from Gail Nyberg, Chair, Social Assistance Review Advisory Council
* Video clips from Frances Lankin, Commissioner
* Video clips from Munir A. Sheikh, Commissioner

Source:
Commission for the Review
of Social Assistance in Ontario
[ http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/home ]
Commissioners : Frances Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh

Media coverage:

From the
Toronto Star:

Ontario commission calls for integrated welfare program, including for disabled, that removes barriers to work.
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/1276481
October 24, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Ontario’s $8.3 billion welfare system should be transformed into a simpler, more effective and accountable system that helps move more people, including the disabled, into jobs and out of poverty, says the long-awaited report from the province’s social assistance review commission.
Under this “transformational change,” disability benefits, children’s benefits and health benefits would be removed from social assistance and be available outside welfare to all low-income Ontarians, say commissioners Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh in their 183-page report released Wednesday. The commission, established in November 2010 to remove barriers and increase opportunities for people to work, was part of the province’s 2008 poverty reduction strategy. Central to the report’s 108 recommendations is the proposed merger of Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) into a single, integrated program with provincial standards but delivered locally by municipalities, which already administer OW

19 Comments about this article
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/1276481--ontario-commission-calls-for-integrated-welfare-program-including-for-disabled-that-removes-barriers-to-work#comments

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

Reviews / Critiques of the report:

From the
Wellesley Institute:

Important progress toward a health-enabling social assistance system, but more work is required
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/economics/important-progress-toward-a-health-enabling-social-assistance-system-but-more-work-is-required/
October 24, 2012
By Steve Barnes
The release today of the final report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario recommends a number of important steps toward improving the health of people on social assistance.
* Increasing rates (...)
*
Merging programs (...)
*
Extending benefits to all low income Ontarians (...)
*
Assessing health and health equity impacts (...)
*
Urgent need to reinstate the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (...)
*
Important progress, but more work is required
(...)
The Commission’s report makes significant progress in a number of critical areas within the social assistance system. Increasing the single OW rate and allowing people on social assistance to keep more of their employment income are major steps forward that the Province should act upon immediately.

Source:
Wellesley Institute

http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/
The Wellesley Institute is a Toronto-based non-profit and non-partisan research and policy institute. We focus on developing research, policy and community mobilization to advance population health.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) welcomes the final report from the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario; People with mental illness and addictions need income and employment supports to live their best lives
http://goo.gl/cmgWb
October 24, 2012
Today CAMH welcomed the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario’s final report “Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario” especially those proposals that would improve the lives of people with mental health issues.
(...)
CAMH contributed research and clinical expertise to the development of the report, particularly related to best practices for the employment of people with mental health issues. The report highlights the importance of sustainable employment for all social assistance recipients, including those with disabilities, while also recognizing that a stable income is necessary for those who cannot work.

Source:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

http://www.camh.ca/
CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) responds
to the final report of the Social Assistance Review
http://goo.gl/oSHOu
October 24, 2012
The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) is urging the provincial government to respond to the report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario by immediately engaging with people on social assistance. “It is time to move social assistance away from punishment and surveillance and toward dignity and support,” said Mary Marrone, Director of Advocacy and Legal Services. “The first step must be to evaluate the Commission’s recommendations in consultation with the people who will be most affected – those on OW and ODSP.”
(...)
“The report includes some important recommendations, many of which reflect a broad-based consensus,” said Marrone. “We urge the province to act immediately on these – including improving income adequacy, increasing asset limits, improving supports for employment, providing a 50% exemption for child support payments, improving access to other supports like childcare and housing, and expanding drug and dental benefits to all low income Ontarians”. Marrone noted that other recommendations should clearly not be adopted by government...

Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)

http://www.incomesecurity.org/
ISAC works with and on behalf of low income communities in Ontario to address issues of income security and poverty.

What did ISAC say to the Commission during its consultations?

* ISAC's submission in response to the Commission's first discussion paper
http://sareview.ca/isac-resources/submission-to-the-commission-for-the-review-of-social-assistance-in-ontario/

* ISAC's submission after the second discussion paper
http://sareview.ca/isac-resources/isac-response-to-second-discussion-paper/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

See also the ODSP Action Coalition website:
[ http://www.odspaction.ca/ ]
...for their submissions.

---

- Go to the Ontario Social Assistance Review Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/on_sa_review.htm

Ontario Leads in Poverty Increases and Dead Last in Social Program Funding:
New Report Says Ontario is Falling Behind
http://www.weareontario.ca/index.php/fallingbehind/
August 29, 2012
Media Release
An Ontario-wide coalition of more than 90 groups and organizations concerned with growing inequality released an unprecedented new report today showing that Ontario has sunk to last place in Canada when measured against every important social indicator.

Complete report:

Falling Behind : Ontario’s backslide into widening
inequality, growing poverty and cuts to social programs
(PDF - 2.4MB, 48 pages)
http://www.weareontario.ca/wp-content/uploads/OCF-RPT-FallingBehind-20120829.pdf

Falling Behind : Fact sheets (PDF - 4.4MB, 15 pages)
http://www.weareontario.ca/wp-content/uploads/OCF-RPT-Factsheets.pdf

Source:
Ontario Common Front ("
We Are Ontario")
http://www.weareontario.ca/

Ontario’s Trillium Benefit: A new way to help the poor
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1225861
July 12, 2012
Laurie Monsebraaten
Social Justice Reporter
22 Comments
About 3.5 million low- and moderate-income Ontarians this week are receiving their first Trillium Benefit, a provincial initiative that combines three quarterly tax credits into a new monthly payment.
The benefit, which includes the provincial sales, property and energy tax credits, was first announced in the 2011 budget and provides monthly payments of up to $113 for a single person, $142 for a single parent and $124 for a senior.
(...)
Designed to help households better manage their monthly expenses by providing the money earlier and more frequently than before, the benefit, worth about $2.4 billion annually, is the first outside Quebec to be paid monthly through the tax system to all low- and moderate-income people. Quebec’s monthly “Solidarity Tax Credit” was also introduced this month. Until now, only seniors, the disabled and parents with children received monthly benefits through the tax system. And it is why some social policy experts say the benefit sets the stage for the introduction of a guaranteed annual income.

“It puts the delivery platform in place,” said John Stapleton, a retired social services ministry official who now advises government and community agencies on policies to ease poverty. “The next step would be to increase the amount of money available,” he said. Stapleton encouraged the government to move to monthly tax credits and also appears in a finance ministry video explaining the new benefit.

The benefit is part of the province’s poverty reduction strategy, said Children and Youth Minister Eric Hoskins who oversees the province’s anti-poverty file.

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

Related links:

The Trillium Benefit
http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/otb/index.html
Starting July 2012, the Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) combines the following into one monthly payment:
*
Ontario Sales Tax Credit * Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit * Northern Ontario Energy Credit
If you are receiving any of the three tax credits that have been rolled into the new Ontario Trillium Benefit your money will be coming to you - by direct deposit or by mail - every month.
Source:
Ontario Ministry of Finance
http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/
)

From Ontario Campaign 2000:

Campaign 2000 Releases its 2012 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario (small PDF file, 1 page)
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/releases/2013RepCardMedia%20Release.pdf.pdf
News release
February 28, 2013
[ Version française du communiqué:
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/releases/2013RepCardMedia%20ReleaseFR.pdf.pdf ]
Campaign 2000 released its annual Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario on Thursday, February 28th 2013 in Toronto. The 2012 report card, entitled Strengthening Families for Ontario’s Future, calls on Ontario’s minority government to reduce child and family poverty in the 2013 Budget. Policy recommendations are offered to all political parties to redress the persistence of child poverty in Ontario.

Complete report:

Strengthening Families for Ontario's Future (PDF - 1.6MB, 16 pages)
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/reportcards/2013ReportCardOnChildPovertyOntario.pdf

February 2013
[ Version française du document complet:
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/reportcards/2013FRENCHReportCard.pdf ]

2011 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario

Ontario does not have a
choice on Poverty Reduction
(PDF - 216K, 2 pages)
http://goo.gl/auobG
February 6, 2012
Media Release
Toronto – Ontario cannot afford to have the poverty reduction strategy sit on the margins, warns Ontario Campaign 2000. The economic and social potential of the province is at risk of being further eroded if the austerity agenda is given precedence over the wellbeing of Ontario’s children and their families. The government no longer has a choice in whether or not to concentrate on poverty reduction over other policy areas – poverty reduction must be a necessary part of overall public decision-making. The 2011 report card, Poverty Reduction in an Age of Uncertainty and Change, focuses on
child, family and youth poverty and finds that 393,000 children are still living in poverty in Ontario.

Poverty Reduction in an Age of Uncertainty and Change:
2011 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario
(PDF - 960K, 13 pages)
http://goo.gl/ZhU4E
Table of contents:
* Key Recommendations
* Measuring Child Poverty
* Ontario Deprivation Index
* Employment Insecurity
* Economic insecurity amongst youth
* An Unequal Society
* Ontario Child Benefit
* Ontario’s Social Assistance
* Mental Health and Child Poverty
* Child Care in Ontario
* Affordable Housing
* Conclusion

Source:
Ontario Campaign 2000
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/
Part of
Campaign 2000
http://www.campaign2000.ca/
Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan, cross-Canada coalition of over 120 national, provincial and community organizations committed to working together to end child and family poverty in Canada.

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2012/01/08/ontarios-poverty-reduction-strategy/
By Nick Falvo
January 8, 2012
December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession. Its focus was almost exclusively child poverty, and at full implementation (i.e. 2013), it will result in $300 million in new annual spending. This is equivalent to 0.3 percent of total provincial spending in Ontario, which is roughly $100 billion. (...) Let’s not kid ourselves though (pun intended): the Strategy has its shortcomings. First, 0.3 percent of total spending is a relatively modest spending boost when it comes to poverty. Because of the modest new spending made available for the Strategy by the McGuinty government, the Strategy didn’t even attempt to make inroads with respect to Ontario’s lack of affordable housing; that was left to a separate Strategy [ http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page9181.aspx ]
(...)
Nor did the Poverty Reduction Strategy attempt to increase social assistance benefit levels, even though single adults without dependents on welfare in Ontario currently receive less than $8,000 a year; rather, it announced the creation of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario [ http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/ ]

Source:
Relentlessly Progressive Economics Blog

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/relentless/

[ Progressive Economics Forum (PEF)
http://www.progressive-economics.ca/ ]
The Progressive Economics Forum aims to promote the development of a progressive economics community in Canada. The PEF brings together over 125 progressive economists, working in universities, the labour movement, and activist research organizations.

Child poverty easing in Ontario, report says
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1096936
December 4, 2011
By Laurie Monsebraaten
A 2009 decision to boost the Ontario Child Benefit to cushion struggling families during the recession helped pull 19,000 children out of poverty, advocates say in a new report on the province’s anti-poverty efforts. But on the third anniversary of Ontario’s Dec. 4, 2008 pledge to cut child poverty by 25 per cent by 2013, more action is needed if the province hopes to meet its target, warns the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction in a report being released Monday.
Source:
Toronto Star

From 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network:

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/
News Release
December 5, 2011
TORONTO– 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 report:

Common Ground: A Strategy for Moving Forward on Poverty Reduction
Third Annual Progress Report on Poverty Reduction in Ontario
(PDF - 264K, 32 pages)
http://25in5.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/25-in-5-Common-Ground-final.pdf
December 5, 2011
Ontario has officially passed the halfway point to its promised target date of reducing child poverty by 25 per cent by December 2013. Much has happened since December 4, 2008, the date the Ontario government announced its first five-year poverty reduction commitment. But, especially in light of ongoing economic turmoil, much more needs to be done in order to meet the target.
(...)
During the 2011 election campaign, common ground on poverty reduction emerged in ten distinct areas. Taking action on these “Common Ground Commitments” would go a long way in reducing child and family poverty in Ontario by 25% in 2013.
1. Introduce a new Housing Benefit: Housing
2. Reform Social Assistance
3. Support Transition to Work
4. Raise the Ontario Child Benefit
5. Take Action on Minimum Wages
6. Step up for Fair Employment
7. Build New Affordable Housing
8. Make Early Learning Vision a Reality
9. Support Affordable Education
10. Set the next target.
(...)
In addition, 25 in 5 recommends action in six further areas, which must be on the radar screen of all Ontario’s political parties:
1. Raise social assistance incomes
2. Invest in community-based services that Ontarians turn to when they need help and support
3. Build a public education system that focuses on equitable outcomes
4. Introduce a strategy for disproportionately poor communities
5. Introduce dental care for all low-income
6. Create a transit infrastructure for opportunity.

Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
http://www.25in5.ca/
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

Related links:

Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/breakingthecycle/index.aspx
- this is the Ontario Government's poverty reduction website.
- incl. links to reports and news releases, along with "Help for Families" : * Education and early learning * Employment *
Financial support * Tax benefits for families * Housing * Health and wellness * Children's Activities
Source:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/index.aspx

[ Government of Ontario
http://www.gov.on.ca/ ]

---

Poverty Free Ontario (PFO)
http://www.povertyfreeontario.ca/
The mission of Poverty Free Ontario is to eliminate divided communities in which large numbers of adults and children live in chronic states of material hardship, poor health and social exclusion. An Ontario free of poverty will be reflected in healthy, inclusive communities with a place of dignity for everyone and the essential conditions of well-being for all.

---

Commission for the Review
of Social Assistance in Ontario
http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/
Led by Frances Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh, the Commission is charged with examining social assistance in Ontario through engagement, research and analysis to provide the government with a concrete action plan to improve the system for the people who need it.

---

Social Assistance Review
http://sareview.ca/
This is the Income Security Advocacy Centre's sub-site on the Ontario social assistance review.
Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre

http://www.incomesecurity.org/

Poverty reduction does make a difference
June 26, 2011
By Greg deGroot-Maggetti*
The evidence is in. A lot of people in Canada took a real hit during the recent recession. Figures from Statistics Canada show that poverty became a reality for more Canadians between 2007 and 2009. No surprise there, really. It’s hard to imagine poverty falling in the worst global recession in recent history. But look a little closer and something more interesting appears. In Ontario, child poverty actually fell between 2008 and 2009, inching down from 15.2 per cent to 14.6 per cent. That means 19,000 Ontario children and their families were moved out of poverty, despite very tough times. Granted, the change is small, but it’s a stark contrast to other provinces that were also hit hard by the recession. In Alberta, for example, child poverty soared by 25 per cent in the same period. What’s the difference? Ontario took concrete action to reduce child poverty. Provinces like Alberta didn’t. (...) Now is the time for all parties in Ontario to talk about their poverty reduction policies and plans. We need to know what action they plan to take to make sure all Ontarians, adults as well as children, will experience less poverty.

[* Author Greg deGroot-Maggetti is poverty advocate for Mennonite Central Committee Ontario and a former member of the National Council of Welfare.]

[ Comments (16) ]

Source:
Toronto Star

Ontario Social Assistance Review
Commission’s Consultation Calendar

June 23, 2011
The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario will be travelling around the province talking to people in eleven communities. The calendar shows the communities the Commission will be visiting, the date of their visit, and who you can contact for more information. This calendar will be updated as more information becomes available.
Source:
Social Assistance Review
[ An initiative of the
Income Security Advocacy Centre ]

Related link:

Commission for the Review
of Social Assistance in Ontario
Government of Ontario
Led by Frances Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh, the Commission is charged with examining social assistance in Ontario through engagement, research and analysis to provide the government with a concrete action plan to improve the system for the people who need it.
- includes links to
A Discussion Paper: Issues and Ideas; Summary and Workbook; and a Guide to Hosting a Community Conversation.

TIP : Scroll down just a bit further on the page you're now reading for more links to the launch of the Commission's website and consultation products.

Ontario poverty rate up since last election
June 17, 2011
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Almost 300,000 more Ontarians sunk into poverty since the McGuinty government was elected in 2007 on a pledge to fight the problem, according to the latest Statistics Canada income data from 2009 released this week. Despite the 2008 recession that battered Ontario industries, the province’s 13.1 per cent poverty rate was still slightly below the national average of 13.3 per cent, says Ontario’s Social Planning Network. The network of social planning councils crunched the numbers using the Low Income Measure, after taxes, the province’s new method of measuring poverty. But Ontario’s 17 per cent growth in poverty since 2007 was the highest in the country, the group says.

[ Comments (23) ]

Source:
Toronto Star

Launch of the Ontario Social Assistance Review website
June 9, 2011

Commission for the Review
of Social Assistance in Ontario
Website launched June 9, 2011
Led by Frances Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh, the Commission is charged with examining social assistance in Ontario through engagement, research and analysis to provide the government with a concrete action plan to improve the system for the people who need it.

The Commission has released A Discussion Paper: Issues and Ideas; Summary and Workbook; and a Guide to Hosting a Community Conversation.
Links to all three products appear below.

According to Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator of Campaign 2000, the review website also includes a calendar"...which does not yet identify when consultations will be held, but we are hearing that they aim to complete consultations by the end of July."

---

A Discussion Paper: Issues and Ideas
June 2011
PDF version - 478K, 50 pages [dead link]
Word version (.doc) (404K, 50 pages) [dead link]
Context:
In the 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Ontario government committed to reviewing social assistance — Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) — with a focus on removing barriers and increasing opportunities for people to work. It subsequently appointed the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC) to provide advice on a proposed scope for the review. Taking into account the advice of the Council, the government established the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario in November 2010.   The Commission’s task is to carry out a comprehensive review and provide specific recommendations and a concrete action plan for reforming the social assistance system. The Commissioners are expected to submit a final report to the government by June 30, 2012.
Source : Excerpt, page 7

---

Summary and Workbook
June 2011
PDF version (343K, 34 pages) [dead link]
Word version (.doc) (241K, 34 pages) [dead link]

---

Hosting a Community Conversation
If you would like guidance on organizing a community meeting, a Guide to Hosting a Community Conversation is also available.

Guide to Hosting a Community Conversation
PDF version (119K, 6 pages) [dead link]
Word version (.doc) (78K, 6 pages) [dead link]

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"We’d Like to Hear From You"

* Make a Comment - online form, max. 150 words [dead link]
* Fill Out the Workbook [dead link]
* Send in a Submission
- a selection of submissions will be posted on the site to help facilitate dialogue on social assistance issues. [dead link]
* Sign up for Updates by email [dead link]

---

Also found on the
social assistance review website:

Selected Reports on Key Social Assistance Issues [dead link]
- links to over a dozen relevant reports from the Ontario and federal governments, the non-governmental sector and even TD Economics

Social Assistance Today [dead link]
Ontario’s social assistance system is made up of two programs: Ontario Works for people in temporary financial need, and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), which is intended to help people with disabilities live as independently as possible and to reduce or eliminate disability-related barriers to employment. Together, Ontario Works and ODSP serve approximately 857,000 Ontarians each month. In 2009–10, total provincial expenditures on social assistance were about $6.6 billion, about six per cent of the provincial budget.
*Recommended reading!
- Click the link above, then use the links in the left margin to find out more about:
* Eligibility
* Income Assistance and Other Benefits (incl. Total Annual Income for Selected Households,OntarioWorks and ODSP as at December 2010)
* Employment Services and Supports
* Program Delivery and Cost-sharing
* Other Programs
* Profile of People Receiving Ontario Works
* Profile of People Receiving ODSP

---

In late fall 2011, an Options Paper will be released to solicit further input from stakeholders and communities, and to help frame the Commission’s recommendations to government.

The Commission’s Final Report is due to the government in June 2012.

Source:
Government of Ontario
Social Assistance Review website

Related link:

Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) - Ontario ministry responsible for social assistance

Moving to a Poverty Free Ontario
June 9, 2011
The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) plans to launch an initiative to build cross-community support for a Poverty Free Ontario by the end of this decade. In May 2010, the SPNO leadership set policy development and cross-community mobilization for a poverty-free Ontario as a major provincial and community level priority for SPNO and its local and regional organizational members in 2011.
(...)
PFO Strategy for 2011:
A Policy Agenda for a Poverty Free Ontario

A new Policy Agenda for a Poverty Free Ontario would build on SPNO’s policy development work in 2008. Essentially, policy proposals will be developed and advanced in three key areas for the eradication of poverty in Ontario:
1. End Deep Poverty: Upgrade Social Assistance
2. End Working Poverty: Assure Basic Minimum Wages
3. Protect Food Money: Phase in a Full Housing Benefit
Source:
Poverty Free Ontario (PFO)
The mission of Poverty Free Ontario is to eliminate divided communities in which large numbers of adults and children live in chronic states of material hardship, poor health and social exclusion. An Ontario free of poverty will be reflected in healthy, inclusive communities with a place of dignity for everyone and the essential conditions of well-being for all.
- home page includes links to : * About * Event Calendar * Policy Agenda Overview [ End Deep Poverty /End Working Poverty / Protect Food Money] * Poverty in Ontario [Background / Status of Poverty in Ontario / What Does Poverty Eradication Mean?] * Cross Community Mobilization * Archives

Source:
Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO)
[Poverty Free Ontario is an initiative of the SPNO]
SPNO is a coalition of social planning councils, community development councils, resource centres, and planning committees located in various communities throughout Ontario. SPNO plans to launch an initiative to build cross-community support for a Poverty Free Ontario by the end of this decade.

Facing facts about poverty
Editorial
March 7, 2011
Poverty is not a choice. In fact, a deeply-ingrained sense of hopelessness, of a continuing lack of choices, is both a result and a cause of the continuing cycle that traps about three million Canadians – about one of every nine of us. Being poor is miserable. It is demoralizing, unhealthy, stigmatizing and stressful. It is frustrating and it is discouraging. No one in poverty – or, crucially, the professionals who work to combat poverty – see being poor as a “holiday” from personal responsibility or from work. And yet a survey commissioned by the Salvation Army, as part of its new Dignity Project initiative, shows that half or nearly half of Canadians believe that if people really want to work, they can always find a job; that a family of four can “get by” on $10,000 to $30,000 a year; that people who live in poverty in Canada “still have it pretty good.” One out of every four Canadians blames poverty on laziness and low moral values.
(...)
Reducing poverty is not going to happen by trying to change the people who are poor. It is going to happen when we all fully understand the benefits not just to society but to our economy by removing roadblocks, shattering the stereotypes, allowing people to build on assistance without penalizing them immediately for it. There are success stories in Hamilton’s poorest neighbourhoods, where innovative programs are focusing not just on employment skills but on self-confidence, self-education, physical and mental health. What the Salvation Army initiative does is try to make Canadians recognize the realities of poverty; that clarity could lead to better understanding of what is needed to reduce it.
Source:
Hamilton Spectator

Demand Ontario welfare reforms you would want as a recipient
December 8, 2010
By Joseph Jolley (Guelph Mercury Community Editorial Board)
About a week ago, the Ontario Government announced the creation of a panel to make recommendations for what is being described as the largest overhaul to Ontario’s welfare system in 20 years. (...) This effort might have been taken seriously, if it happened even a year ago. Now, it is a meaningless waste of time and effort. Next year is an election year in Ontario. If present polling trends continue to hold, that election will produce a Tory majority government. As some of you may recall, the Tories have their own version of welfare reform. The election will most likely happen even before Mr. Sheikh and Ms. Lankin have finished their work. (...)
It should be pointed out to the cheerleaders for the war against the poor that a good social assistance system is in their own best interest. These people don’t seem to realize that all it takes is a few twists of fate to put them into this little version of hell. Yes, it can happen to you. So, how would you want to be treated?
Source:
Social Assistance Review
[ Part of the Income Security Advocacy Centre ]

A flurry of announcements but little content
December 6, 2010
By Carol Goar
Poverty reduction plans poured out of Queen’s Park so fast last week it was hard to keep up with the paper flow.
But once all the packaging had been stripped away and the self-congratulatory rhetoric sifted out, there wasn’t much left. Welfare rates were still below the poverty line. Healthy food was still out of reach. Affordable housing was still a dream.
(...)
[ On December 1], Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten released Breaking the Cycle (*see below), the government’s second annual progress report on its poverty reduction strategy. The 28-page booklet was chock-full of accomplishments, many of which had little to do with poverty reduction. The minister highlighted everything from the harmonized sales tax to the incorporation of not-for-profit agencies.
There were three genuine improvements in the year-end roundup:
• In July, the government raised the Ontario Child Benefit by $8 a month.
• In September, it rolled out its full-day kindergarten program, giving 35,000 preschoolers a double boost: early learning and a better chance of having an employed parent.
• And in October, it launched its long-promised Healthy Smiles program, which provides free dental checkups and teeth cleaning to low-income children.
(...) By week’s end, it was clear that, for all the paper his government had churned out and all the announcements his ministers had made, McGuinty had very little to say about reducing poverty.
Source:
Toronto Star

Welfare reform: Breaking the cycle of poverty
December 4, 2010
Right now in Ontario, there are more than 830,000 people who can’t get by without a monthly welfare or disability support cheque. And more than 15 per cent of our children live in poverty, despite the fact that many of their parents have full-time jobs. Food bank use is up; affordable housing and subsidized daycare wait lists are growing; and good jobs are increasingly hard to find. Meanwhile, our existing social safety net has proved incapable of fixing these interconnected problems.
That is why the social assistance review, launched by the Liberal government at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, is so important. Munir Sheikh, former Statistics Canada chief, and Frances Lankin, former head of the United Way of Toronto and former provincial minister of health, will spend the next 18 months comprehensively reviewing Ontario’s social assistance programs.
Source:
Toronto Star

Breaking the Cycle:

Poverty Reduction Strategy Helping Ontario Families:
McGuinty Government Releases Second Progress Report

News Release
December 1, 2010
Ontario continues to make investments through the poverty reduction strategy that are helping low-income families during challenging economic times. Today, the second annual report of the Breaking the Cycle strategy was released, detailing progress made over the past two years to help children and families hit hardest by the recession and stimulate Ontario’s economic recovery.

Ontario Launches Comprehensive Social Assistance Review:
The Hon. Frances Lankin, P.C., Dr. Munir Sheikh To Lead Commission

November 30, 2010
Ontario is launching the largest review of social assistance programs in over 20 years. The review will examine social assistance and its relationship with other federal, provincial and municipal income security programs to gain a better understanding of how these programs, working together, can provide better outcomes for people. (...) The review will begin January 2011 and finish in June 2012.

Going forward, the Special Diet Allowance will also be revised to make it compliant with the recent Order of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and more accountable to taxpayers. The program, along with other existing social assistance benefits, will be considered within the context of the Social Assistance Review.
Source:
Government of Ontario

Backgrounder : Ontario's Social Assistance Review
In the 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy, Ontario committed to reviewing social assistance with a focus on removing barriers and increasing opportunities for people to work. In January 2010, Ontario appointed the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council to provide advice on a proposed scope for the review. The council's June 2010 report recommended a review of the whole income security system, including, but not limited to, social assistance. This includes a comprehensive review of income security, employment supports and related services for working-age adults. (...)Detailed information on opportunities for public input during the review will be available in the new year.

Backgrounder : Changes to the Special Diet Allowance
Ontario is revising the Special Diet Allowance to make it more accountable to taxpayers and compliant with the recent Order of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. (...) The Special Diet Allowance will be one of a broad range of special purpose benefits considered in the context of Ontario's comprehensive social assistance review, which begins January 2011. (...) The revised Special Diet schedule will take effect April 1, 2011.

Source:
Ministry of Community and Social Services

See also:

Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy (Government of Ontario)
- incl. links to :
* Why It Matters * What's Happening Now * Where We Want to Be * Research * Meet the Team * Chair's Update (Deb Matthews) * Ontario Child Benefit * Ontario Disability Support Program * Ontario Works Program

Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC)
SARAC as created by the government of Ontario to recommend a scope and terms of reference for a review of Ontario's social assistance system. The Ontario government committed to conducting a social assistance review as part of its Poverty Reduction Strategy.
[*NOTE: The SARAC link above is broken, because the mandate of SARAC has expired, and the Government of Ontario has deleted some of the content on the MCSS website pertaining to SARAC.
ARGH! I hate it when they do that.
[ To retrieve the missing page, copy its URL and paste it into the Wayback Machine at Archive.org ]

Report of the Ontario Social Assistance Review Advisory Council:
Recommendations for an Ontario Income Security Review
HTML version
PDF version - 300K, 33 pages
May 2010

[ Social Assistance Advisory Council Members - biographical notes ]
Source:
Ministry of Community and Social Services

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25 in 5 welcomes Ontario’s Social Assistance review news
November 30, 2010
TORONTO -The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction welcomes the news that Ontario’s long awaited Social Assistance review will start in January and be led by two very able commissioners: Frances Lankin and Dr. Munir Sheikh.
“We’re very pleased with the broad terms of reference for this review. It will provide recommendations not only on how to transform social assistance but on how it should connect to other income security programs that many of us need to rely on at some point in our lives, such as disability support programs and Employment Insurance,” said Jacquie Maund, Coordinator of Ontario Campaign 2000.
Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

See also:

Poverty Watch Ontario - "To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda"
Poverty Watch Ontario is keeping an eye on the provincial poverty reduction consultations and poverty reduction events in Ontario.
Poverty Watch Ontario is a joint venture of the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Ontario Campaign 2000, and the Income Security Advocacy Centre.
[ Poverty Watch Resources - links to websites and reports ]

---

Related article
in the Toronto Star:

Ex-StatsCan chief Sheikh to lead Ontario’s welfare reform
November 30 2010
By Tanya Talaga
Ontario’s much-anticipated welfare reforms will be led by the former Statistics Canada chief who quit in disgust after Ottawa scrapped the long-form census, the Star has learned. The hiring of Dr. Munir Sheikh is a shot across the bow at the federal government by the provincial Liberals who will make the announcement Tuesday along with future plans for the controversial special diet allowance that helps those living in poverty. Sheikh became a symbol of public service defiance when the statistician quit on principle in July after the Conservative government scrapped the long-form census, which provincial governments use to develop social policy, in favour of a voluntary survey.
Source:
Toronto Star

New from Ontario's
25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction:

Report on Year Two of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy
News Release
TORONTO
November 29, 2010
A coalition of poverty reduction advocates urges the Ontario government to redouble its efforts to cut poverty by 25% by 2013 or risk falling short of the goal. In a report marking the second anniversary of the province’s poverty reduction promise, the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction says recession has put even more heat on the Ontario government to put its commitment on the front burner. (...) The 25 in 5 report, Building a Resilient Ontario, concludes Ontario was smart to stay the course on poverty reduction during the worst of the recession, but the true test of the government’s commitment comes post-recession and into recovery.

Year Two Report:

Building a Resilient Ontario : From Poverty Reduction to Economic Opportunity
Year Two of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy
(PDF - 886K, 27 pages)
In this, the second annual report of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, we continue to track the progress of the Ontario government in meeting its poverty reduction commitments. (...) In the first part of the report, we look at the importance of poverty reduction initiatives for all Ontarians given the current economic and social context . (...) And we also offer government a plan for priorities in the coming year, to give Ontarians leadership in these anxious times.
- includes a
chart that compares the government of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Commitments with the Five Tests outlined in 2008 by the 25 in 5 Network (see below), and shows the government’s progress on its commitment in Years One and Two of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Year One Report:

Making Good on the Promise:
Evaluating Year One of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy

December 2, 2009
HTML version
PDF version
(221K, 27 pages)

The "Five Tests" Report:

Five Tests For Success of the
Ontario Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
(PDF - 252K, 4 pages)
October 2008
TEST # 1: A target to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% within the next five years.
TEST # 2: A clear way to measure progress – a solid lead income measure combined with a set of additional indicators.
TEST #3: Policy specifics
TEST #4: Legislation and Accountability
TEST #5: A commitment to a downpayment on poverty reduction in the 2009 budget
Source:
Poverty Watch Ontario ("To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda")
Poverty Watch Ontario is keeping an eye on the provincial poverty reduction consultations and poverty reduction events in Ontario.
Poverty Watch Ontario is a joint venture of:
* Social Planning Network of Ontario
* Ontario Campaign 2000
* Income Security Advocacy Centre

Source:
25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction
The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty.

2010 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Ontario
Poverty Reduction: Key to Economic Recovery for Ontario Families
(PDF - 182K, 8 pages)
(...) Despite tight fiscal times the 2009 and 2010 provincial budgets included a number of measures that have benefited low income families, including increases to the minimum wage and the Ontario Child Benefit, stimulus spending on affordable housing, funding to save child care subsidies, and implementation of full day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year olds. But the poorest 6.5% of Ontario’s population, those who receive social assistance, have seen no increase in welfare benefits in real dollars. In terms of purchasing power, benefits are as low now as in 1967.
Source:
Ontario Campaign 2000

Related links:

Family Service Toronto
Family Service Toronto (FST) helps people face a wide variety of life challenges. For over 90 years, we have been assisting families and individuals through counselling, community development, advocacy and public education programs. Our services are available to everyone who lives or works in Toronto.

Child poverty up in Ontario
By Laurie Monsebraaten
November 24, 2010
Queen’s Park needs to step up efforts if it hopes to cut child poverty by 25 per cent by 2013, advocates say
Source:
Toronto Star


NOTE:
This is one of a series of provincial reports all released under the Campaign 2000 banner on November 24 (2010), the anniversary of the 1989 unanimous House of Commons resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000. For links to the complete collection of federal and provincial reports and (selected) related media coverage, go to the Children, Families and Youth Links (NGO) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/chnngo.htm


Recommendations for
Short Term Rule Changes For 2010
(PDF - 213K, 11 pages)
Social Assistance Review Advisory Council
Dated February 2010 (submitted as confidential)
Released to the public August 16, 2010
NOTE: Although this paper was just released, Laurie Monsebraaten points out in her Toronto Star article below that the Ontario government-appointed Social Assistance Review Advisory Council made these 13 recommendations respecting short-term changes for quick action in a report this past February.

Related links:

Fix welfare rules, panel urges province
by Laurie Monsebraaten
August 16, 2010
(...) Short-term welfare changes recommended by Ontario's Social Assistance Review Advisory Council:

Proposed changes not yet implemented:

* Ensure people on welfare with earnings don’t face unreasonable hikes in subsidized rent.
* Increase asset limits.
* Extend asset exemptions to RRSPs and tax-free savings accounts.
* Treat Employment Insurance benefits as earnings for people receiving Ontario Disability Support Program payments.
* Allow those who have been disqualified from Ontario's student loan program to receive welfare while attending college or university.
* Do not treat loans as income.
* Do not stop welfare payments for dependent children leaving school.
* Allow single parents to keep partial child support.
* Increase medical transportation rates.

Proposed changes accepted in March 2010:

* Let friends and family give casual gifts to people on welfare as is currently allowed for disabled people on benefits.
* Allow those who receive windfalls to remain eligible for welfare.
* Don't reduce welfare for those sharing accommodation
* Change welfare suspension rules for not participating in job search and other requirements
Source:
The Toronto Star

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read the Council's
final report:

Recommendations for an Ontario Income Security Review:
Report of the Ontario Social Assistance Review Advisory Council

May 2010
HTML version - table of contents + links to individual sections of the report
PDF version (300K, 33 pages)

------------

From the
Ministry of Community and Social Services:

Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC)
SARAC was created by the government of Ontario to recommend a scope and terms of reference for a review of Ontario's social assistance system. The Ontario government committed to conducting a social assistance review as part of its Poverty Reduction Strategy.
[ Social Assistance Advisory Council Members - biographical notes ]

From Social Assistance Review to Income Security Review:
Why it Matters for Low-Income Ontarians

July 2010
The Social Assistance Review Advisory Council issued a report on June 14, 2010 (see below). In this report, the Council calls on the provincial government to conduct an Ontario Income Security Review. The Council’s report is important, because it gives the government a roadmap for how to review social assistance and other income security programs in Ontario. But it’s also important because it expands the focus of the discussion.
Before, people were talking about how to improve Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Now, we can talk about a bigger vision for how to improve all income and support programs, so that people on OW and ODSP – and all low-income people in Ontario – can have better, more productive, more respectful programs to help them when they need it.
Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)

Related links:

Ontario should adopt bold vision for welfare reform
Government panel says radical reform needed to meet Ontario’s changing economic needs
By Laurie Monsebraaten
June 14, 2010
Ontario should adopt a bold vision for welfare reform that includes new income supports and services for all low-income residents, says a government-appointed panel in a report being released Monday. “We are currently investing billions into federal and provincial programs that too often trap people in poverty and fail to offer alternatives to social assistance,” said Gail Nyberg of the Daily Bread Food Bank who chaired the panel of anti-poverty experts. (...) Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur appointed the panel last December to advise the government on the scope and terms of reference for a review of social assistance, promised in 2008 as part of the Liberals’ anti-poverty strategy.
Source:
The Toronto Star

Read the report:

Recommendations for an Ontario Income Security Review:
Report of the Ontario Social Assistance Review Advisory Council

May 2010
HTML version - table of contents + links to individual sections of the report
PDF version (300K, 33 pages)

Executive summary
(...) The Social Assistance Review Advisory Council concludes that Ontario does not need a review solely of social assistance – it needs a comprehensive review of Ontario’s income security system. Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program represent 23 percent of all provincial and federal income security program spending that serves working-age adult Ontarians. Social assistance is but one piece of a patchwork of income security, employment and social supports.

Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC)
SARAC was created by the government of Ontario to recommend a scope and terms of reference for a review of Ontario's social assistance system. The Ontario government committed to conducting a social assistance review as part of its Poverty Reduction Strategy.
[
Social Assistance Advisory Council Members - biographical notes ]

Source:
Ministry of Community and Social Services

See also:

Letters from Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur
to the Chair of the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council:
* June 10, 2010 (PDF - 22K, 2 pages)
* March 26, 2010 (PDF - 42K, 1 page)

____________________________________________________________

Version française:

Rapport du conseil consultatif d'examen de l'aide sociale de l'Ontario
Recommandations en vue de l'examen du système de sécurité du revenu de l'Ontario

Mai 2010
Version HTML - table des matières et liens vers les fichiers pour chaque section du rapport
Version PDF (231Ko., 39 pages)
Sommaire du rapport
(...) Le Conseil consultatif d’examen de l’aide sociale conclut que l’Ontario ne devrait pas se borner à étudier l’aide sociale mais devrait plutôt procéder à un examen exhaustif du système provincial de sécurité du revenu. Le programme Ontario au travail et le Programme ontarien de soutien aux personnes handicapées représentent 23 % de l’ensemble des charges de programmes provinciales et fédérales au titre de la sécurité du revenu visant les Ontariennes et les Ontariens en âge de travailler. L’aide sociale n’est que l’un des morceaux de la mosaïque formée par les mécanismes de sécurité du revenu, d’aide à l’emploi et de soutien social.
Source:
Conseil consultatif d’examen de l’aide sociale
[ Notes biographique au sujet des membres du conseil ]

Source:
Ministère des Services sociaux et communautaires

Voir également:

Lettres de la ministre des Services sociaux et communautaires adressées à
la présidente du conseil consultatif d'examen de l'aide sociale de l'Ontario:

* lettre du 10 juin 2010 (PDF - 22Ko., 2 pages)
* lettre du 26 mars 2010 (PDF - 42Ko., 1 page)

Five Principles for a New Nutritional Supplement Program
May 20, 2010
The Ontario government is replacing the Special Diet Allowance Program with a new nutritional supplement program. As it designs this new program, the government must ensure that it is not viewed in isolation from other aspects of the social assistance system and the problems that people who rely on it experience on a regular basis. (...) Recognizing that the new program will be created before the [Social Assistance] Review can take place, we urge the Ontario government to use the following five principles as guideposts for the development of an “Ontario Nutritional Supplement”:
1. CLEAR POLICY OBJECTIVE
2. ACCESSIBILITY, ADEQUACY, AND EQUITY
*** Genuine accessibility to the program
*** Adequate levels of support
*** Regular adjustments to keep up with rising costs
*** Equity. This includes ensuring that all people on social assistance who have health challenges are given financial support appropriate to their needs.
3. MEETING THE NEED
4. RESPONSIBILITY FOR CURRENT RECIPIENTS
5. TAKE THE TIME TO GET IT RIGHT

TAKE ACTION!
Help us make sure the new Ontario Nutritional Supplement meets the test by:
1. Showing your support for these Five Principles by endorsing them online at http://www.25in5.ca/take-action/
Endorse as an individual or get your organization to endorse.

2. Sending an email to the government to show your support, using 25 in 5’s automatic email at http://www.25in5.ca/take-action/
Your email will go to Minister Deb Matthews, Minister of Health, who is responsible for setting up the new Nutritional Supplement program. It will also go to Laurel Broten, Minister Responsible for Poverty Reduction, and Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance.

3. Sharing your support for these Five Principles with your MPP.
You can find out who your MPP is by going to http://fyed.elections.on.ca/fyed/en/form_page_en.jsp
After finding the name of your riding, click on “information about your MPP”.

4. Telling your story about the benefit you’ve had from being on Special Diet, by going to http://25in5.ca/without-special-diet/
Share what it will mean to you if the provincial government’s new Nutritional Supplement program doesn’t meet the Five Principles test. If you work with people currently receiving Special Diet, please tell them about this opportunity to tell their story.

Premier McGuinty Responds to 25 in 5
Posted to the 25 in 5 website May 17, 2010
On April 29, Michael Creek and Greg deGroot-Maggetti of 25 in 5 wrote to the Premier about the cancellation of the Special Diet Allowance (see below), which will have an impact on several thousand OW and ODSP recipients, and the 1% increase to social assistance rates, which falls short of the inflation rate. Predictably, the reply from the Premier (dated May 6) follows the dog-eared template that many advocacy groups know so well from past experience:
1. Thank you for your valuable feedback regarding [insert name of issue] in Ontario.
2. List McGuinty government's accomplishments in the area of [insert name of issue].
3. Reiteration of McGuinty government's firm commitment to reform and improve [insert name of issue].
4. Redirect letter/request to the Minister responsible for [insert name of issue] for further processing (read possible delay).

The letter from 25 in 5 to
Premier McGuinty:

Open Letter to Premier McGuinty
from the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction:

Budget Decisions on Social Assistance Call Commitment into Question

April 29, 2010

Source:
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction
25 in 5 is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty.

2010 Ontario Budget - March 25, 2010

2010 Ontario Budget: Sector Highlights
Poverty Reduction Strategy

- one per cent increase in adult basic-needs allowances and maximum shelter allowances in Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program in the fall of 2010.
- Special Diet Allowance - being phased out and replaced by a new nutritional supplement program to be administered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
- Ontario commits $63.5 million a year permanently in the area of child care, to fill the gap left by the federal government (since the termination of the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement).
- provincial minimum wage will rise to $10.25/hour on March 31, 2010.
- $11.8 billion in tax relief for people over three to enhance ongoing sales and property tax relief, cut personal income taxes and help Ontarians adjust to the transition to the Harmonized Sales Tax
NOTE: the remainder of the highlights page is an overview of poverty reduction measures announced since the previous Ontario budget, such as the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council, new housing infrastructure initiatives, increased funding for the Youth Opportunities Strategy, improvements to dental services for kids in low-income families, full-day learning for four- and five-year olds, and more...

Source:
2010 Ontario Budget (main budget page)
March 25, 2010


NOTE: For a large collection of links to analysis and critique of the 2010 Ontario budget by a number of NGOs, see:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/budgets_2010.htm#on

Have the poor fallen off the agenda?
March 15, 2010
By Carol Goar
"(...) As budget day approaches, anti-poverty groups aren't expecting much. They know times are tough. They know education, not poverty reduction, is McGuinty's priority. They know the poor are always told to wait when there is a deficit. They'd like to trust the premier. But all the harbingers look bleak.
Source:
Toronto Star

A test of Ontario's appetite to fight for poverty reduction
By Mike Creek (25 in 5 Network for Poverty reduction),
Adrianna Tetley (Association of Ontario Health Centres),
ODSP Action Coalition
March 20, 2010
Ontario is about to face one of the biggest tests of its commitment to poverty reduction. Will it comply with an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling that says it must end discrimination in its special diet allowance program, or will it target the program for cuts as part of its deficit reduction plan? At stake is not only Ontario's "25-in-5" poverty reduction target but also the very lives of the many Ontarians who have nowhere else to turn for support. The special diet program is a long-standing part of Ontario's social assistance system. It provides additional allowances for people with higher food costs due to prescribed medical dietary treatment.(...) In 2008, Ontario committed to a five-year poverty reduction strategy. All parties in the Legislature agreed to take public action to reduce poverty by 25 per cent by the year 2013 – the 25 in 5 target. We celebrated the turning of the corner on the poverty debate in Ontario. We would be the first to applaud the government's decision to maintain the special diet program and, in keeping with the tribunal's ruling, enhance allowances accordingly. Eliminating the program, however, could erase all the goodwill the government has built on poverty reduction.
Source:
Toronto Star

* 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
* Association of Ontario Health Centres
* ODSP Action Coalition

Related link:

Letter from the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO)
and the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) to the
Minister of Community and Social Services
(dead link)
March 18, 2010
"...the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario and Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario strongly urge you to withdraw the directive and respect the professional opinion of authorized health professionals, including nurse practitioners, in those cases where, in their clinical judgment, a social assistance recipient’s condition entitles them to the Special Diet Allowance.
Source:
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario

Ontario 2010 Pre-Budget Consultations

Promoting Economic Recovery, Advancing Poverty Reduction:
Pre-Budget Submission to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
(PDF - 51K, 8 pages)
Submitted by: Social Planning Toronto
February 3, 2010
In this submission, we focus on initiatives that will promote economic recovery and advance the provincial government’s commitment on poverty reduction.

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
Social Planning Toronto (SPT; formerly the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto) is a nonprofit community organization engaged in research, policy analysis, community development and civic engagement aimed at improving the quality of life of Toronto residents. SPT’s work focuses on poverty reduction with an emphasis on income security, good jobs, affordable housing and strong public education.

Related links:
(links to presentations to Committee by SPT and other groups in January/February 2010)

Committee Transcripts of the
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

This link gives you access to all transcripts of this Committee right back to 2007, including (but not limited to) pre-budget consultations that preceded the Ontario Budgets from 2007 to the upcoming 2010 budget expected late in March. The top seven links in the right-hand column are all 2010 pre-budget consultation transcripts.
Source:
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

RESEARCH TIP:
I highly recommend government pre-budget consultation websites as a rich source of information on Canadian social programs in an economic and fiscal context.
I'm using Ontario as an example here, but every jurisdiction in Canada has a pre-budget process in place for organizations and people to make their pitch about the best way to allocate budget dollars. There's usually a link to the pre-budget process on the main budget page for each province/territory.

If you click the Ontario "Committee Transcripts" link above, you'll note (on the next page, at the top of the right-hand column) links to seven transcripts of submissions made to the Committee by interested organizations and individuals. You'll have to click on the link for each transcript to see a list of the groups and people whose presentations are included in that day's transcript. The seven transcripts cover the Committee hearings from January 25 to February 3 (2010), and they include presentations from a wide range of intervenors, from the National Citizens' Coalition and social advocacy groups, to municipal councils and labour unions. If you've read this far, I think you'll want to check all seven daily transcripts for compelling presentations (and a wealth of program information) by the ODSP Action Coalition, the Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network, the Wellesley Institute, the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, Ontario Campaign 2000, Social Planning Toronto, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, the Income Security Advocacy Centre, and many more...

[ Use the same technique to find pre-budget submissions for any jurisdiction by any organization that has a presence on the Internet. It's a slow and cumbersome process, but it offers insights into our social programs and our social policies that you often can't find elsewhere...]

__________________________________________

Another submission to the
Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs:

Stepping up for Ontarians:
Staying the course on poverty reduction commitments
(PDF - 168K, 7 pages)
Submission to Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs
February 1, 2010
(...) What we know from this past recession is that we are all vulnerable. Every child is vulnerable, every middle class job is vulnerable, every household is vulnerable, and every community is vulnerable. But strategic solutions are at hand. Some solutions require immediate investments to
protect the vulnerable and stimulate the economy by keeping and creating good jobs; others require simple rule changes to ensure the Premier meets his government's priority of providing the best public services for Ontario's vulnerable.
Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

- Go to the 2010 Canadian Government Budgets Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/budgets_2010.htm

The City of Ottawa's
Poverty Reduction Strategy

Poverty Affects Us All:
A Community Approach to Poverty Reduction
(PDF - 1.9MB, 83 pages)
Undated (PDF file date: December 11, 2009)
Ottawa's initiative builds on the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy and expands the target group to include individuals, families and children living on low income. The focus of Ottawa's Strategy is to implement local initiatives that reduce poverty, promote awareness and complement existing activities in the community.The report presents 3 Strategic Priorities and 16 Recommendations, including concrete, local actions that can be achieved and measured within a two-year timeframe. Beginning in 2010, Phase II of the Strategy will implement the recommendations and monitor progress by developing measures and tracking outcomes.
Source:
Poverty Affects Us All : A Community Approach to Poverty Reduction
Note : Report to be presented to Community and Protective Services Committee and Council
21 January 2010
By Steve Kanellakos, Deputy City Manager (City Operations)
[ version française :
La pauvreté, c'est l'affaire de tous : une approche communautaire pour réduire la pauvreté ]

Related links:
…….. something left over at the end of the month (PDF - 167K, 48 pages)
Report from the Community Poverty Reduction Strategy Forum
held on June 25, 2008
at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa.
Prepared by the Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network
for the Ontario Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction
chaired by the Hon. Deb Matthews.

City of Ottawa Proposes Poverty Reduction Strategy [dead link]
September 28, 2009
Source:
Citizens for public Justice

Ottawa Poverty Network (dead link)
The Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network is a group of community organizations and anti-poverty advocates that
came together in early 2008 to support the participation of low income individuals in the development of
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Alliance to End Homelessness in Ottawa

Ontario Campaign 2000

National Campaign 2000

Ontario Making Progress On Poverty Reduction
McGuinty Government Releases First Annual Report
News Release
December 2, 2009
Ontario is delivering on its poverty reduction strategy by making historic investments in low-income families during challenging economic times. The first annual report on the Breaking the Cycle strategy released today highlights three pillars that the government has delivered on:
* Accelerating the Ontario Child Benefit
* Moving forward with full-day learning for four and five year olds
* Tax fairness for low-income families

Complete report:

Breaking the Cycle: The First Year
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, 2009 Annual Report

December 2009
HTML version
PDF version
(1.2MB, 23 pages)

Related link:

Ontario Deprivation Index
December 2, 2009
A 'deprivation index' is a list of items or activities considered necessary to have an adequate standard of living, but those who are poor are unlikely to be able to afford. The items in a deprivation index are not a comprehensive list of basic needs since in a wealthy society such as Ontario most households, even the poor, are likely to have most of the basic necessities. The items in the index are intended to distinguish the poor from the non-poor. According to research, the items in Ontario's index are all widely seen by Ontarians as being necessary for a household to have a standard of living above the poverty level. (...) Ontario's deprivation index was developed through a unique partnership with the Ontario government, the Daily Bread Food Bank, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy and Statistics Canada.

Source:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
[ Government of Ontario ]

Making Good on the Promise:
Evaluating Year One of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy

December 2, 2009
HTML version
PDF version
(221K, 27 pages)
A year ago, as Canada plunged into one of the sharpest recessions since the Great Depression, the Ontario government assumed long-awaited leadership to tackle poverty. On December 4, 2008 it promised to enact a plan to reduce child and family poverty by 25 per cent by 2013. Making good on that promise would lift more than 90,000 Ontario children and their families out of poverty within five years. This report evaluates what has been done so far and how much further they'll have to go to meet the goal.

Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. (...) We are asking our government for a plan to reduce Ontario poverty levels by 25% in 5 years and by 50% before 2018.

Related link:

Ontario risks missing poverty reduction targets: report [dead link]
Anti-poverty campaigners say Ontario risks missing its targets just one year into its plan to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent by 2013.
December 2, 2009
The 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network says some good steps have been taken but warns that without immediate public support, the province's poverty rate will "explode."
In a report released ahead of the province's own update, the group also says that repeating the mistakes of the 1990s recession — especially making cuts to public sector programs and services — will make it harder for people to move out of poverty. It wants the province to review its rules around social assistance and make increases to the Ontario Child Benefit, affordable housing and the minimum wage.
Source:
CBC

From Promise to Reality – Recession
Proofing Ontario Families
2009 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Ontario
(PDF - 234K, 8 pages)
November 2009
* Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy - Key commitments and progress as of November 2009
* Indicators of Child & Family Poverty: A 20 Year Retrospective
* Rate and Depth of Poverty
* Working Poor Families
* Children at Greater Risk of Poverty
* Children in Families on Social Assistance
* Food Bank Use by Children
* Access to Affordable Housing
* Access to Quality, Regulated Child Care
* Looking Ahead - The Need for Strong Leadership in Tough Times
* Next Steps in Poverty Reduction – What Ontario Needs to Do Now

Version française:
D’une promesse à la réalité – prémunir les familles ontariennes contre la récession

Rapport 2009 sur la pauvreté des enfants et des familles en Ontario
(PDF - 231Ko., 8 pages)
Novembre 2009

Related link:
Campaign 2000

More Support For Crown Ward Students
McGuinty Government Building Tomorrow's Highly Skilled Workforce

November 12, 2009
Ontario is helping more Crown wards succeed at college, university and apprenticeship training. Seven new Crown Ward Education Championship Teams will offer mentorship, peer support, motivation, and guidance to Crown wards across the province. This doubles the number of teams in Ontario to 14. The teams will help these students access and succeed in postsecondary education and training. Teams include volunteers from local school boards, Children's Aid Societies, postsecondary institutions, community agencies, Employment Ontario and provincial ministries. Support of Crown wards is part of Breaking the Cycle: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, which aims to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over five years -- lifting 90,000 kids out of poverty -- by boosting benefits for low-income families and enhancing publicly-funded education.

Learn more:
* Breaking the Cycle: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy
* Find out more about Ontario's colleges and universities.
* See how Ontario is helping to build a highly skilled workforce.
* ontario.ca/news
* Removing Education Barriers For Crown Wards

Source:
Newsroom - Ontario Government

Five benchmarks for social assistance
Ontario's fiscal woes come as bad news for the
growing number of Ontarians dealing with the fallout from the recent economic storm.
By Pat Capponi (Voices From the Street) and
Jennefer Laidley (Income Security Advocacy Centre)
October 27, 2009
As provincial coffers dry up, thousands of individuals and families also face increasing financial hardship. With unemployment expected to hit 10 per cent by 2010, there could soon be 400,000 of us out of work. And while federal changes to employment insurance will offer some short-term relief, they may be too little, too late. (...) The commitment to review Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program – made in the province's poverty reduction strategy last December – has been agonizingly slow to get off the ground. (...) [T]he newly appointed minister responsible for poverty reduction, Laurel Broten, and the government's poverty reduction results team must make the social assistance review their first order of business to support Ontario's strategy for climbing out of the recession. As Ontario considers its plan for moving forward, the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction offers the following five benchmarks for a social assistance review that will meet the test:
* The review must be grounded in a bold vision: economic security and opportunity for all Ontarians.
* The review must be proactive.
* A timely process to launch deep reforms must be part of the review package.
* Providing decent, adequate income supports must be a stated outcome of the review.
* People who have had to rely on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program must have a leading role in shaping the review's recommendations.
Source:
Toronto Star

Authors Pat Capponi and Jennefer Laidley are members of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty.

Related links:

Voices From the Street (dead link)
Voices from the streets was launched in 2005 with funding from the City of Toronto’s Supporting Community Partnership Initiative to develop a speakers bureau comprised of individuals with mental health and addictions history. (...)
Voices From the Street is comprised of individuals who have had direct experience with homelessness, poverty, and/or mental health issues. The organization works to put a human face to homelessness and involves people with direct experience as leaders in a public education process.

Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
The Income Security Advocacy Centre works with and on behalf of low income communities in Ontario to address issues of income security and poverty.

Social Assistance Review - A sub-site of the Income Security Advocacy Centre
Comprehensive source for issues, stories, resources, analysis, and news about the review
- incl. links to : About - Take Action - Tell Your Story - Resources - News

25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
25 in 5 is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty.

25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
Commitments Made; Action Taken?

eBulletin for October 14, 2009
Table of contents:
1. Quote of the Week: This is Our Chance to Get it Right
2. How is the Government Doing on Poverty Reduction?
3. Action Alert: No Cherry Picking on Early Learning
4. An Update from the Housing Network of Ontario
5. Dental Treatment for Low-Income Ontarians
6. Star Editorial Suggests We "Do the Math"
7. Ontario's Food Banks Hard Hit
Source:
25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

No Relief in Sight This Thanksgiving: 1700 Ontarians “Do the Math” and Find Social Assistance Rates Don’t Add Up
October 8, 2009
Press Release
October 8, 2009
TORONTO – Thanksgiving is a time to remember that everyone should have enough food to eat — if not to celebrate with an abundant meal, at the very least to meet the minimum requirements for health and dignity. But data released from a new website shows what too many people lining up at food banks this Thanksgiving already know: social assistance in Ontario does not add up. The Stop Community Food Centre recently launched a web-based budgeting tool called “Do the Math” that asks people to weigh in on what they think a person on social assistance needs to survive. More than 1,700 people have completed the survey since it launched in June 2009, and results show that even the most frugal estimates fall far short of what people receive on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Source:
Poverty Watch Ontario
Mission : To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda

The Stop Community Food Centre
From its origins as one of Canada’s first food banks, The Stop has blossomed into a thriving community hub where neighbours participate in a broad range of programs that provide healthy food, as well as foster social connections, build food skills and promote engagement in civic issues.

Time for a “Made in Ontario”
Working Income Tax Benefit
[dead link]
Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity and Open Policy Ontario
call for improvements to Working Income Tax Benefit design in Ontario to help low-income earners escape welfare.
September 2, 2009
Press Release
Toronto – The government of Ontario should accept the invitation from the federal government to modify the design of its Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). WITB benefits should be re-oriented to support low-income earners when they work more, thereby easing their move from social assistance onto full-time employment when welfare benefits are lost.

Complete report:

Time for a “Made in Ontario”
Working Income Tax Benefit
(PDF - 897K, 28 pages) [dead link]
September 2009
Open Policy Ontario
John Stapleton, Principal
"Low-income Ontarians who are attempting to break out of poverty to achieve financial sustainability often find barriers in their way. In fact, many who try to break away from welfare and find employment face strong disincentives to work. They continue to struggle with insufficient work, low wages, and little-to-no wage progression. (...) This report is not about addressing the full range of welfare reform; rather, it seeks to merge the WITB and Ontario’s welfare system and thus provide greater incentives for low-income Ontarians to achieve full-time employment by reducing the barriers created by the welfare wall. (...)

Authors:

James Milway and Katherine Chan,
Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity
The Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity is an independent, not-for-profit organization that deepens public understanding of macro and microeconomic factors behind Ontario’s economic progress. We are funded by the Government of Ontario and are mandated to share our research findings directly with the public. The Institute serves as the research arm of the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress. The mandate of the Task Force, announced in the April 2001 Speech from the Throne, is to measure and monitor Ontario’s competitiveness, productivity, and economic progress compared to other provinces and US states and to report to the public on a regular basis.

John Stapleton,
Open Policy Ontario
John Stapleton is Metcalf Innovations and St Christopher House policy fellow and an expert on social policy and income issues.

Ontario Social Assistance Review
On December 4, 2008, the Ontario government released its Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Strategy made a commitment to “undertake a review of social assistance” (p30). But what this means is still unclear. The government has not yet released any terms of reference for the Review – so there is no indication how it will proceed, who will lead it, or how people with lived experience and local communities can be involved. But we know it won’t be enough for the Review to simply tinker with program rules, changing bits and pieces here and there. Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program are built on a foundation of ideas that work against the principle of poverty reduction.
- incl. links to: About - Take Action - Tell Your Story - Resources - News
Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre

Related links:

Are welfare laws oppressing the poor?
Activists say old social assistance rules hurt disabled, drive people further into poverty
June 24, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
"(...) Queen's Park had promised to review the [welfare] system this year as part of its groundbreaking poverty reduction plan, released in December. The government repeated the pledge in its March budget but has yet to say when the review will start, how broad it will be and how the community will participate. A spokesperson for social services minister Madeleine Meilleur, whose ministry will lead the review, said the government is still committed to the initiative and "eager" to get started but has yet to determine its scope. (...) Ontario's social assistance system must be part of the government's strategy for a prosperous Ontario, said Mary Marrone, legal director for the Income Security Advocacy Centre, which staged the forum [Toronto Forum on welfare reform, held June 23].
Source:
The Toronto Star

2009 Research Roundtable Proceedings
June 14, 2009
On Tuesday, March 3, Social Planning Toronto hosted its 2009 Research Roundtable: “Research for Social Change”. The event brought together more than 125 community-based, government and academic researchers, policy analysts and activists to share information on current research initiatives, discuss opportunities for collaboration, and exchange ideas for using research to advance social change and challenge poverty in Ontario. The Roundtable provided an opportunity to share perspectives on poverty-reduction research from our various vantage points – inside and outside of government – broadly focused around Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).

Download the full proceedings (Microsoft Word format - 381K, 39 pages)

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
Social Planning Toronto is committed to independent social planning at the local and city-wide levels in order to improve the quality of life for all people in Toronto. It is committed to diversity, social and economic justice, and active citizen participation in all aspects of community life.

Town Hall a success as Toronto families remind MPs: Good jobs and public services reduce poverty
Repairing EI, establishing a national public child care program, good green jobs and investment in affordable housing identified as priorities at community town hall meeting.
June 2, 2009
TORONTO-On Monday evening, more than 100 people participated in a town hall meeting held to get input from community members who will not be given an opportunity to address Parliamentary hearings about the federal role in poverty reduction.

A Poverty Reduction Plan for Canada (PDF - 318K, 21 pages)
Notes from a town hall meeting on the role of the federal government in poverty reduction
June 1, 2009
TORONTO - On June 1st, Campaign 2000 and the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction held a Town Hall Meeting to get community input on what the federal role should be in reducing poverty in Canada. The event coincided with the Toronto hearings of the Federal Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA). This is the only hearing in Ontario of this federal committee studying poverty, but many were not able to formally present to the Committee. This Town Hall provided an opportunity for community groups and people with lived experience of poverty to present to a community panel
Source:
25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction

Related links:

* Campaign 2000

* Federal Standing Committee on
Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

Designing new architecture for Ontario social assistance
Forget trying to reform the current system and build a new one that is both simpler and fairer
June 2, 2009
By John Stapleton
When Ontario's long-promised review of welfare begins this spring, the provincial government faces a stark choice. Does it spend years trying to unravel a set of 800 social assistance rules that make up the current outdated system? Or will this government take the bolder road and build an entirely new and improved income security system? (...) The social assistance system in Ontario was rebuilt during the 1990s with the introduction of the Ontario Works Act and the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. The purpose was to provide a basic welfare program in Ontario Works whose success was predicated on the principle that only the neediest of the needy would receive assistance. Success was defined in terms of leaving the program. Reliance on the program was considered dependency. That system does not work. It needs replacing.
Source:
The Toronto Star
John Stapleton is a Metcalf Innovations Fellow, and Community Undertaking Social Policy Fellow at St. Christopher House in Toronto.
This article is based on his report on Ontario's new income architecture, The 'Ball' or the 'Bridge': The stark choice for social assistance reform in Ontario (see below).
[ Open Policy - John Stapleton's personal website ]

Complete report:

The ‘Ball’ or the ‘Bridge’:
the stark choice for social assistance reform in Ontario
(PDF - 243K, 5 pages) [dead link]
May 2009
By John Stapleton
"(...) If Ontario chooses to keep the ‘ball’ (the 800 rules that guide welfare in Ontario) stuck together and loosen eligibility rules (as it has historically done during recessions), caseloads will climb and peak approximately three years following the end of the recession at tremendous cost to the province while thwarting human potential in a significant portion of Ontario’s adult population. The choice is stark for social assistance reform in Ontario. We either can risk more than doubling Ontario’s social assistance population as we did in the early 1990s or we can build the new bridge. The choice is ours to make."

Source:
Ontario Alternative Budget
[ Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ]



May 25, 2009
From the
Canadian Council on Social Development:

Poverty Reduction Policies and Programs
Poverty in Ontario – Failed Promise and the Renewal of Hope Ontario
(PDF - 411K, 34 pages)
By Glynis Maxwell, Community Development Halton (Social Planning Network of Ontario)
Table of contents:
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
PROFILE OF POVERTY IN ONTARIO
DEVELOPMENT OF POLICY AND PROGRAMS
* The Post-War Era
* 1975 to 1985: A Growing Need to Tackle Poverty
* 1985 to 1995: SARC and the Failure of Reform
* 1995 to 2003: The ‘Common Sense Revolution’
CURRENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
* Social Assistance Incomes
* Minimum Wage
* Quality of Employment
* Barriers to Employment for Social Assistance Recipients
* Barriers to Employment for Newcomers
* Affordable Housing
* Child Care
* Developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy
CONCLUSION

Source:
Poverty Reduction Policies and Programs
Social Development Report Series, 2009
[ Canadian Council on Social Development ]

Also from CCSD :

Poverty Reduction Policies and Programs in Canada (PDF - 341K, 29 pages)
By David I. Hay, Information Partnership


A better tool box for poverty reduction
May 25, 2009
By Carol Goar
One of the defining characteristics of an effective social agency is that it never stays still. It changes as the population of a community changes. It creates new programs when the existing ones don't meet the needs of its clients. It constantly looks for better ways to do things and better tools to help people. Governments, on the other hand, lock their programs in place with rigid rules. They demand conformity. They manage change by imposing limits and off-loading responsibilities. This clash of visions leads to stifled creativity and half-solved problems. That is the message a Senate delegation heard when it came to Toronto this month, seeking solutions to urban poverty. Three members of the subcommittee on cities – Senators Art Eggleton, Jane Cordy and Hugh Segal – spent a morning at Woodgreen Community Services, one of Toronto's leading social agencies...

Source:
Toronto Star

Related link:
Woodgreen Community Services
At WoodGreen we believe that everyone should have access to
the essentials of life whether that means a roof over their head, a stable job or child care they can trust.

Poverty Reduction Becomes Law in Ontario: Amended Bill 152 Gets All-Party Support
May 6, 2009
Toronto– Ontario has taken a historic step forward on poverty reduction with the all-party approval of Bill 152, the Poverty Reduction Act, said the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. The legislation requires Ontario to set a new poverty reduction target and plan of action at least every five years, and to consult regularly on its progress with low income people, groups at heightened risk of poverty, and other key stakeholders. Poverty in Ontario can no longer be ignored. (...) Amendments were made to the original Bill after the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy heard suggestions over two days of public hearings from two dozen community representatives, and received over 40 written submissions.
Source:
25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network (Ontario)

Related links from the Toronto Star:

'Historic' law compels Ontario to fight poverty
Requires the province to create goals to cut numbers living in need
May 7, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
and Tanya Talaga
Fighting poverty is now the law in Ontario.In a unanimous vote yesterday, Queen's Park passed legislation that commits the province to become a leading jurisdiction in the battle against poverty. The Poverty Reduction Act, hailed by advocates as "historic," requires successive governments to draft poverty-fighting strategies with specific goals every five years and to report annually to the legislature on progress.

Welcome boost for poverty bill
Editorial
May 07, 2009
It is significant that a bill committing the Ontario government to a plan to reduce poverty was passed with all-party support in the Legislature yesterday. It suggests there is widespread agreement among the politicians that it is no longer acceptable – either morally or economically – to leave more than a million Ontarians in poverty. That acknowledgement – and the law now on the books – is a wonderful beginning. But it is just a beginning. We ought not to forget that in 1989 our federal politicians voted unanimously to "achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000." Sadly, two decades after that resolution, the number of poor children is nearly the same.

Activists strengthen anti-poverty legislation
May 07, 2009 04:30 AM
By Greg deGroot-Magetti and Sarah Blackstock
The historic Poverty Reduction Act passed this week with the support of all three political parties. This important legislation requires the Ontario government, now and for years to come, to create and implement poverty reduction strategies. No longer can poverty be ignored.

From the 25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction:

Update on Legislation - A Letter from Minister Matthews
May 1, 2009
I’m writing to give you an update on Bill 152, the Poverty Reduction Act. As you may have heard, the bill passed 2nd reading and was sent to the Social Policy Committee to get public input on the bill. This was a great opportunity to get feedback on the proposed bill and to further engage people on this landmark piece of legislation. Following the input of 24 deputants and 13 written submissions, I think we have a strengthened piece of legislation, and I’m grateful for the thoughtful contributions made by all those who participated.

Real gains made as poverty reduction becomes law
A Special Message from the 25 in 5 Legislative Action Table
April 29, 2009
Dear friends,
Ontario is on the cusp of an historic step forward on poverty reduction as final reading of Bill 152 is set to begin on Thursday of this week. We would like to send out a word of gratitude for everyone who helped craft the 25 in 5 recommendations and who participated in the hearings for Bill 152, the Poverty Reduction Act. – our final submission is available at www.25in5.ca.

Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy
regarding Bill 152, An Act respecting a long-term strategy to reduce poverty in Ontario
(Word file - 226K, 6 pages)
April 2009

Source:
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5 is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty.

Related link:

Bill 152 : An Act respecting a
long-term strategy to reduce poverty in Ontario
(PDF - 349K, 10 pages)
Second reading copy, changes annotated

Strengthen poverty bill
Editorial
April 20, 2009
Unemployment numbers are soaring, welfare cases are rising and food banks are reporting shortages. The economic downturn has made Ontario's plan to reduce poverty even more crucial than when it was first promised by the Liberals. The initial target is to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent within five years. We have seen targets like that before, and they have been missed. But what makes this plan somewhat different is the accompanying legislation, which would make poverty-reduction an ongoing government responsibility. Children's Minister Deb Matthews, who designed the province's anti-poverty strategy, states: "The only way we're ever going to succeed in the fight against poverty is for it to become a core responsibility of governments now and in the future." Political interests and governments come and go, so the anti-poverty bill – now before a legislative committee – would be a tool to hold politicians to account.
Source:
Toronto Star

Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy and the 2009 Budget
March 26, 2009
"(...) The Poverty Reduction Strategy' target is to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over the next 5 years. All low-income families with children would see the benefits of this strategy, which would help lift 90,000 children out of poverty. The government, however, cannot do this alone. Meeting this goal depends on having a willing partner in the federal government, as well as a growing economy.
- incl. info on enhancements to the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB), tax relief for families and individuals, a new youth opportunities strategy, community hubs, Social Assistance rate increases and review of social assistance "with the goal of removing barriers and increasing opportunity — with a particular focus on people trying to move into employment from social assistance."
(Hmmmm - the terminology used here reminds me of the way Mike Harris used to describe his hand-up-not-handout-USA-Jobs-First-style-Common-Sense-Revolution approach - Gilles.)
- also incl. info on support for housing, Ontario's minimum wage, a new Deprivation Index for Ontario, the Poverty Reduction Act, and initiatives the McGuinty government has introduced since 2003-04 to support low-income families and individuals
Source:
2009 Ontario Budget
[ Budget Highlights ]

From the Government of Ontario:

Helping Families In Need:
McGuinty Government To Increase Ontario Child Benefit And Invest In Affordable Housing
March 20, 2009
Ontario is doing more to support low income families facing challenging economic times. The government is proposing to increase the Ontario Child Benefit this July, from $600 to a maximum of $1,100 per child per year. The Ontario Child Benefit helps 1.3 million children by giving moms and dads monthly support. Ontario is also planning to increase its investment in social and affordable housing to create short-term jobs in construction and renovation while improving the lives of people with low-incomes. Working with the federal government, Ontario would renovate 50,000 social housing units and build 4,500 new affordable housing units through a joint investment of $1.2 billion.
Source:
Newsroom - Ontario.ca

Ontario Child Benefit (OCB)
The Ontario Child Benefit is financial support that low-income families can receive to help provide for their children. It’s also the centrepiece of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. About 465,000 families with 960,000 children receive a monthly Ontario Child Benefit payment each month. That’s up to $50 per child each month, increasing to up to $67 per child each month as of July 2009.
Source:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services

***********
Related links:
***********

Ontario doubles payout for low-income children
Child benefit increases to $1,100 yearly to ease the economic fallout
March 21, 2009
By Tanya Talaga
The Ontario child benefit available to low-income families will nearly double to $1,100 a year beginning in July, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday. The Liberals had planned on increasing the monthly child benefit by 2011 as part of their anti-poverty reduction strategy, but accelerated the payout to help families during the economic downturn, he told a news conference at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. The government promised four months ago to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent in five years, but said that federal funding and a strong economy were required to reach the target. Anti-poverty advocates have been watching closely to see whether the Liberals, facing a projected $18 billion deficit over two years, will deliver. Yesterday's announcement increases the maximum child benefit to $92 from $50 per child, per month. About 465,000 families with a total of 960,000 children receive a monthly payment, with the maximum annual benefit currently $600. The maximum benefit is available to families earning less than $20,000 a year.
Source:
The Toronto Star

Poverty investments a good first start: 25 in 5
March 20, 2009
Commitments made by Premier Dalton McGuinty today to invest in two important poverty reduction initiatives bode well for all Ontarians, says the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.
NOTE: the following links are copied from the above blog posting:
Media and community responses
to the Ontario Government announcement:
* Low-income Ontarians, and provincial economy get welcome boost from new investments - The Wellesley Institute[dead link]
* Ontario budget to boost child benefit, social housing funds - CBC.ca[dead link]
* Affordable housing to get $1.2B boost - Toronto Star
* Ont. speeds up increase in child benefit to July 1 - CTV.ca
Source:
25 in 5 Network
for Poverty Reduction

Ontario makes substantial
down payment on new provincial housing plan
[dead link]
March 20, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
Ontario has made a substantial down payment to meet the housing needs of tens of thousands of people who are precariously housed or homeless. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and housing minister Jim Watson have announced plans today to invest $624.5 million over the next two years in affordable housing initiatives. When combined with matching federal dollars, it amounts to more than $1.2 billion. (...) Today’s provincial housing announcement meets the first priority set out by the Wellesley Institute in our 2009 budget recommendations to the Government of Ontario, which was to fully match federal affordable housing dollars. But provincial housing investments still lag behind the deep and persistent need across the province, and Ontario is lagging behind provides such as Alberta [see below] in making commitments for urgently needed new housing investments.
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]


Major Milestones in Poverty Reduction in Ontario
(PDF - 56K, 1 page)
December 2008
By John Stapleton
Brief overview of 10 significant poverty reduction initiatives in Ontario, from the First Upper Canada Statute in 1792 to the 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Source:
Open Policy (John Stapleton's website)

From The Toronto Star:

What Ontario has to do to fix the hole in welfare
March 18, 2009
By Don Drummond (Chief Economist, TD Bank Financial Group)
and John Stapleton (Metcalf Foundation Fellow)
Our welfare system provides Ontarians with a false sense of security. Many assume it has been designed to offer temporary protection to individuals who are ineligible for Employment Insurance, or no longer able to participate in this program. But this so-called safety net has some large holes. It does not catch all those it should. And the ones it does catch often become entangled in the web, finding it difficult to get back out. In short, it has a way of keeping the destitute down. (...) We have argued that the asset limits for welfare eligibility need to be raised substantially. A particular aspect of this is to exempt certain amounts in Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and the new Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). The Ontario government has an opportunity to do this in its March 26 budget. It would be an important step forward in its poverty reduction strategy. (...) The end game is to provide temporary support for individuals who lose their job and then help them get back into the labour market as soon as possible, when the economy turns around. Under present welfare rules we are destined to repeat the patterns of the past when too few are protected and those who are become entangled. By creating a better future for those who need it most, the government can help make sure we don’t repeat history.

Poverty strategy belongs in budget
Editorial
March 17, 2009
When Premier Dalton McGuinty committed to reduce poverty, just four months ago, his plan spoke passionately about alleviating the suffering of families living in poverty and, in doing so, improving the economic future for all Ontarians. The need is even greater now. Yet, just days before the provincial budget that could elevate the plan from nice words to concrete action, there are troubling signs that the government is backing off...

Poverty fight must continue
Timely investments will reduce poverty but also stimulate local economies
March 17, 2009
By Sarah Blackstock, Pat Capponi and Janet Gasparini
"(...)These are challenging economic times and, historically, it has been during such dark moments that previous governments did the most for the poor and the jobless. Abandoning the poor during an economic downturn is not the kind of leadership Ontarians envision for their government. Now is not a time for cold feet. It is a time for bold action.Now, more than ever, we turn to our government to meet its commitment."
(Sarah Blackstock is a policy analyst with the Income Security Advocacy Centre. Pat Capponi is facilitator of Voices From the Street. Janet Gasparini is chair of the Social Planning Network of Ontario.)

[ See also : 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction ]

Economic crisis could stall poverty plan, minister says
March 13, 2009
By Joanna Smith
OTTAWA–The economic crisis could disrupt an Ontario government strategy to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent over the next five years, provincial Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews said yesterday. (...) The provincial government released its anti-poverty blueprint – which aims to lift 90,000 Ontario children above the poverty line by 2014 – last December. Matthews says she has always been upfront about its dependence on economic growth and co-operation from all three levels of government. Matthews said worsened economic conditions could result in an interruption in implementing the strategy but insisted the government can still succeed. "I am optimistic we can achieve it and I can assure you that kids will be better off as a result of this strategy regardless of the economy," she said.

---

Ontario needs to step up and tackle social deficit
Ottawa gave province fiscal breathing room but did little to help poor and unemployed
Opinion
March 4, 2009
By John Stapleton, Janet Gasparini and Neethan Shan
Two important questions faced Ontario's poverty reduction plan after its December release:

- How much further would Ontario's economy deteriorate?
-
What would the federal government do in its winter budget to support Ontario's goal to reduce poverty by 25 per cent in the next five years?
Well, we now have the answers. Ontario lost 71,000 of the 129,000 jobs lost in Canada in January 2009. And Ottawa intends to do just about nothing at all about poverty. (...) It's disappointing, to say the least, that the federal government chose to ignore its important role in supporting provincial moves to reduce poverty. But Ontario's finance minister still has plenty of options to demonstrate his own government means business when it comes to reducing poverty. There is no doubt that we live in difficult times and the economic parallels to the Great Depression are striking. But unlike the 1930s, we do not need to wait for years before we do something about it.

Put Food in the Budget (dead link)
March 3, 2009
By Brian Eng
Fighting poverty is the best medicine money can buy according to the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa). They partnering with the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction in an Ontario-wide campaign to urge the Ontario government to add a Healthy Food Supplement to the Basic Needs Allowance for all adult recipients of social assistance, as part of its Spring 2009 budget. (...) alPHa’s 36 member public health units have endorsed two separate resolutions since 2001 urging the Ontario Government to set social assistance rates according to the true costs of basic needs. The Put Food in the Budget campaign calls for the addition of a $100.00 Healthy Food Supplement to the Basic Needs Allowance as a down-payment on closing the gap between social assistance incomes and the cost of healthy eating. The campaign was launched on February 19 in Toronto by Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown, with representatives from the Stop Community Food Centre and the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.
Comment found in:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]

Source:
Association of Local Public Health Agencies
We are a non-profit organization that provides leadership to boards of health and public health units in Ontario. Our members include board of health members of health units, medical and associate medical officers of health, and senior public health managers.

Related links:

* Put Food in the Budget campaign
* The Stop Community Food Centre
* 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction

A New Era In The Fight Against Poverty
Proposed Legislation Commits Ontario To Long-Term Action

News Release
February 25, 2009
For the first-time ever, Ontario has introduced poverty reduction legislation that, if passed, would ensure that successive governments remain focused on the fight against poverty. As part of Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, the proposed Poverty Reduction Act would:
* Require successive governments to report annually on key indicators of opportunity – these will typically include income levels, school success, health care and housing.
* Mandate future governments to consult widely before developing future strategies, including consultation with those living in poverty.
* Require Ontario to develop a new strategy at least every five years.
* Require future governments to set a specific poverty reduction target every five years.
Source:
Ontario Government tables The Poverty Reduction Act, 2009
February 25, 2009
- incl. links to the complete Bill, the news release, background information, the province's December 2008 poverty reduction strategy report and more...

Social Assistance Rule Changes To Support Education And Employment (dead link)
Fact Sheet, February 25, 2009
The following changes to social assistance rules (taking effect between March and May) are designed "to help recipients pursue educational and employment opportunities and improve their lives and the lives of their children."
* Enhancement of earnings exemptions rules for social assistance recipients who are full-time post-secondary students.
* Enhancement of the Up-front Child Care Benefit paid to social assistance recipients who are required to pay in advance for child care costs when they begin or change jobs or work-related activities.
* The process of internal reviews regarding a decision made affecting clients' assistance will be improved.

Related links:

Poverty plan slammed as an empty gesture
February 26, 2009
By Tanya Talaga and Laurie Monsebraaten
The provincial government's anti-poverty legislation was hailed yesterday as a historic step forward, but one that critics said lacked both direction and funds. The Liberals' long-anticipated bill to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent in five years was derided by critics as being full of loopholes and lacking direction when record numbers of people are using food banks.
Source:
The Toronto Star

From the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction:

Poverty reduction legislation positive;
budget action must follow: 25 in 5 Network
Toronto, February 25, 2008
Making poverty reduction the law in Ontario is an important step towards achieving a poverty free Ontario, says the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. But government must take concrete next steps that extend poverty reduction targets to all Ontarians over the next decade, and to make investments now to meet its initial target. “Legislation is critical to ensuring that poverty reduction becomes central to the Ontario government’s agenda. That’s why we need to get it right from the beginning.” said Greg deGroot-Maggetti of the Mennonite Central Committee. “We need a process to make sure the legislation that gets enacted is as strong as possible to ensure ongoing progress toward a poverty free Ontario, backed by broad public support and all-party endorsement.” [ More... ]

A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario
A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario – the result of consultations in 30 Ontario communities – lays out a plan that could reduce the number of poor Ontarians by 197,420 (15 per cent) and reduce the number of poor children in Ontario by 62,000 (19 per cent) within the next three years.
- incl. links to the press release and the full blueprint.

Depression-era hardship could await Ontarians
Press Release
February 12, 2009
TORONTO – Without government action, the lack of adequate income security programs could plunge Ontarians suffering the worst of the current recession into dire straits, says a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).Silence of the Lines: Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Crash of 2008 shows how the economic downturn is already worse than the Great Depression but predicts different results for Ontarians who end up down on their luck.
Source:
Ontario Alternative Budget
[ Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ]

Complete report:

The Silence of the Lines:
Poverty reduction strategies and the crash of 2008
(PDF - 135K, 5 pages) [dead link]
By John Stapleton
"(...) people who once could successfully apply for welfare during a rough patch (along with all the people turned away from EI) are going to be turned away at the welfare office. The reason for this is that since the last major recession, governments have brought in four significant sets of changes:
• Lower social assistance rates;
• Much lower assets limits;
• Earning exemptions policies that do not apply to new applicants; and
• ‘Workfare’ — now called ‘community participation’.
The confluence of these four sets of changes has not been tested in a recession but when the ‘new poor’ make a welfare application, they will be turned down to live off lower paid jobs or their dwindling savings. When they re-apply later on, they will be told that ‘any job is a good job’ and will be pointed in the direction of the relatively plentiful low paid jobs that will be available.

Related link:

Open Policy- John Stapleton's personal website
John is a Policy Fellow with the Metcalf Foundation and St. Christopher House in Toronto.

A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario:
Blueprint could help cut child poverty by 19%

News Release
February 12, 2009
TORONTO – A report by the 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network shows how the Ontario government could get three-quarters of the way towards its goal to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent. A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario – the result of consultations in 30 Ontario communities – lays out a plan that could reduce the number of poor Ontarians by 197,420 (15 per cent) and reduce the number of poor children in Ontario by 62,000 (19 per cent) within the next three years.

Complete report:

A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus
and Poverty Reduction in Ontario
(PDF - 157K, 28 pages)
February 2009

* 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
* Ontario Federation of Labour
(Sheila Block of the OFL wrote the report)

Related link:

Welfare 'stimulus' touted
February 12, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
If Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to protect Ontario's faltering economy, he should give more money to people like René Adams so she can buy her daughters healthy food and pay for swimming lessons, poverty activists say. The Toronto single mother, who volunteers at a local food bank while she looks for full-time work, says every extra penny she receives goes back into the local economy. (...) In addition to cutting poverty, putting money into the hands of those who need it most is the best way to stimulate the economy at a time of global economic uncertainty, says a report by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. (...) The proposed economic stimulus and poverty reduction package calls on Ontario to spend $5 billion over the next two years to beef up welfare and other social supports and build new child-care spaces and social housing units.
Source:
The Toronto Star

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired:
Taking Action on Poverty, Poor Health and Bad Jobs
February 9, 2009
Falling on the heels of the release of Ontario’s landmark poverty reduction strategy, Sick and Tired paints a grim picture of the health of the province’s poorest residents. This new report from the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto, University of Toronto’s Social Assistance in the New Economy Project and the Wellesley Institute documents the compromised health of social assistance recipients and the working poor in Ontario. It includes practical and pragmatic recommendations to strengthen the province’s poverty reduction plan, address the increased burden of ill health among poor people in Ontario, and promote equitable access to health services in Ontario. In addition, many of our recommended actions will promote much-needed economic stimulus as an antidote to Ontario’s struggling economy and promote cost savings in the health care system. This is a companion to our research, released in December, which looks at the health status of poor people across Canada and is called Poverty Is Making Us Sick (link below).
Partners:
* Wellesley Institute
* Social Assistance in the New Economy [dead link]
* Community Social Planning Council of Toronto

Complete report:

Sick and Tired: The Compromised Health
of Social Assistance Recipients and the Working Poor in Ontario
(PDF - 5.3MB, 35 pages)Ontarians Waiting For
Leadership On Poverty Reduction
February 2009

Related links:

Poverty is making us sick : A comprehensive survey
of income and health in Canada
(PDF - 522K, 39 pages) (dead link)
By Ernie Lightman Ph.D, Andrew Mitchell and Beth Wilson
December 2008
Source:
Social Assistance in the New Economy

From The Toronto Star:

Higher welfare payments urged:
Report considers ways province can help solve chronic health problems affecting poor Ontarians
February 9, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Queen's Park should boost welfare payments and improve access to disability assistance for Ontarians who can't work for health reasons as a remedy for chronic health problems among the poor, according to a report produced by the Community Social Planning Council, with the University of Toronto and the Wellesley Institute. People on welfare are 10 times more likely to have attempted suicide than those living on middle- or upper-incomes, notes the report, which is to be released today.

The poverty-health link
Editorial
February 10, 2009
Money may not buy happiness, but it does do wonders for your health. A new study – by the Community Social Planning Council, University of Toronto and the Wellesley Institute – has drawn a direct link between poverty and ill health. Ontarians on welfare suffer from diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, mood disorders and other chronic ailments at up to four times the rate of middle- or upper-income earners. Such findings are always disturbing, but given the current economic downturn, there's even greater cause for concern over this study.

What's new from The Socialist Project:

Breaking the Cycle or Going Around in Circles?
The Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy
January 3, 2009
By Peter Graefe
"(...)what should we make of the McGuinty strategy, and of the 25in5 campaign around it? Is a strategy of positive engagement a wise one for making gains, or will it only deliver thin gruel?"

Also from The Socialist Project:

Economic Crisis and the Poor:
Probable Impacts, Prospects for Resistance
December 8, 2008
By John Clarke
Now that the crisis of the financial markets has become a crisis of the 'real' economy, it is obvious that those who already face poverty (or live on the edge of it) will be hit extraordinarily hard in the days ahead. Over the last three decades, social programs that served to partially redistribute wealth or limit the disciplinary power of unemployment on the working class were massively reduced. With this 'social safety net' seriously compromised, we can expect a rapid and deep process of impoverishment to take effect as the downturn unfolds. The scale and severity of this will pose major challenges but open up huge possibilities in terms of mobilizing poor communities.

Source:
The Socialist Project
At a meeting in Toronto in the fall of 2000, some 750 activists responded to a call to “rebuild the left” by developing a structured movement against capitalism. (...) The Socialist Project does not propose an easy politics for defeating capitalism or claim a ready alternative to take its place. We oppose capitalism out of necessity and support the resistance of others out of solidarity. This resistance creates spaces of hope, and an activist hope is the first step to discovering a new socialist politics.

Socialist Links - 200+ online resources for social activists!

Welfare won't be much help
December 24, 2008
John Stapleton
With the adoption of Breaking the Cycle, Ontario plans to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent in five years. It will be tough for the Ontario government to meet this commitment as poverty usually increases during recessions and welfare caseloads grow. Poverty and its attendant costs increase a lot in major recessions. Just like the Great Depression, we started the present recession with a liquidity crisis, a debt bubble and a crisis in confidence. By 1932, Ontario's relief expenditures had tripled while old age pension costs had doubled. Governments are now bracing for a new onslaught but we will not see these spectacular cost increases in the current recession.
Source:
The Toronto Star

An End to the Countdown: The Beginning of a 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Strategy
December 16, 2008
1. Ontario turns corner on more than a decade of poor bashing, says Pat Capponi
2. Poverty Plan Lays Foundation for Action, Budget investments must be next step
3. TAKE ACTION: Investments key in the 2009 Ontario budget
4. Regulating Temp Agencies - Good News for Temp Workers, says Workers Action Centre
5. Hardship of welfare getting harder, Ontario’s welfare incomes falling behind
6. Red letter day for poverty reduction: selected media and partner links
7. Thank you: More than 1,500 endorse 25 in 5 Declaration for Poverty Reduction
Source:
Social Planning Network of Ontario

Poverty Reduction Strategy needed in Budget 2009 (dead link)
December 17, 2008
In a letter to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (PDF - 207K, 4 pages), CPJ calls on the government to present a "visionary stimulus package" as part of the Federal Budget anticipated for January 27, 2009.

Vision to Action: Canada Without Poverty
Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance
(PDF - 329K, 7 pages)
Pre-Budget Consultations
August, 2008

Source:
Citizens for Public Justice

Provincial Coalition calls for greater focus
on People with Disabilities as Poverty Plan rolls out
(Word file - 43K, 1 page)(dead link)
December 5, 2008
While welcoming the government’s poverty reduction strategy and its plan to review social assistance, the ODSP Action Coalition encourages the government to include a greater focus on people with disabilities. People with disabilities experience higher rates of poverty than the general population. “I was disappointed when I looked at the page of the government’s strategy that related to people with disabilities and found no new supports to help me get out of poverty,” says Terrie Meehan, an activist with the Coalition. The strategy indicates that the government will be undertaking a review of social assistance, which includes the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The Coalition would like to see the review focus not only on supporting people to move from ODSP into the workforce but also how to make the program easier to access and more responsive to the individual needs of people with disabilities.
Source:
ODSP Action Coalition
[ODSP = Ontario Disability Support Program]

Ontario's new anti-poverty plan at a glance
December 8, 2008
By Noor Javed, Tanya Talaga, Laurie Monsebraaten
A look at the expectations and outcomes of key issues highlighted in Ontario's new anti-poverty plan.
- includes what advocates wanted, what they got and the reaction in each of the following areas : welfare - communities - employment - chid care
Source:
Toronto Star

The Economic Crisis Will Lead To A Social Assistance Crisis:
How Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy Will Fail
December 5, 2008
The Poverty Reduction Strategy announced this week has been scaled down from a “poverty reduction strategy” to a “child poverty reduction strategy”. Single people on welfare and disability will see no benefit whatsoever from the new plan. The strategy claims it will reduce child poverty by 25% in 5 years but, people on social assistance will continue to get poorer.
Source:
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
OCAP is a direct-action anti-poverty organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We mount campaigns against regressive government policies as they affect poor and working people.

Economic Crisis and the Poor:
Probable Impacts, Prospects for Resistance
December 8, 2008
By John Clarke
In poor communities, this [current economic] crisis comes after a long process of pushing them down during the decades of neoliberalism. There is already anger and the realization that bad is going to get much worse – and it will make large numbers of people look for answers. The issue is to demonstrate in practical forms of organized resistance that these worsening conditions are not unstoppable and inevitable. That is the starting point for a movement that can respond to this crisis and pose a bold anti-capitalist vision of what it is fighting for.
Source:
(Author John Clarke is with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty)
The Socialist Project
At a meeting in Toronto in the fall of 2000, some 750 activists responded to a call to “rebuild the left” by developing a structured movement against capitalism. (About this site)

From the Toronto Star:

'First step' on poverty draws praise
December 5, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten and Tanya Talaga
Anti-poverty activists are cheering Ontario's ambitious $1.4 billion plan to cut child poverty by 25 per cent in five years, but vow to ensure the Liberal government lives up to its promise. "This is a fundamental first step that should be applauded. We should say: Congratulations. Thank you. Now let's get down to implementing it," said Toronto United Way President Frances Lankin. That may be easier said than done...

Two cheers for anti-poverty plan
Editorial
December 5, 2008
Ontario has taken a vital step toward breaking that cycle with a focused poverty reduction strategy. Announced yesterday, it seeks to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent within 5 years. That mean 90,000 children and their families would escape poverty.Unfortunately, the strategy is far too dependent on the willingness of Ottawa to contribute an additional $1.5 billion a year to boost the federal child tax benefit and the working income benefit.

Ontario backs '25-in-5' poverty plan
Reduce child poverty by one-quarter in five years
December 4, 2008
The Ontario government will promise today to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent within the next five years – a target activist groups say is critical to a meaningful poverty strategy. The Liberal government, led by Children and Youth Minister Deb Matthews, is expected this afternoon to deliver its much-anticipated strategy on how to improve the lives of needy Ontarians.

Historic day for poverty activists: Province to release poverty plan
December 3, 2008
By Carol Goar
As economic times darken and the poorest feel the pinch, relief might be on the way with the introduction tomorrow of Ontario's long-awaited poverty reduction plan. Tomorrow is the day poverty activists have worked for, fought for and longed for. But it comes with a daunting challenge. Nothing in the poverty reduction plan the Ontario government is set to unveil will help the tens of thousands of Ontarians who are skimping on food, facing eviction and staring at layoff notices right now.

Toronto Star War on Poverty Series

---

Related links from Poverty Watch Ontario:

Re. welfare review:
"Today the government announced it will undertake a review of social assistance with the goal of reducing barriers and increasing opportunity. (...) As an initial step, signaling the direction of the government’s promised social assistance review, the plan will immediately change three rules which function as barriers for people on social assistance.
* First, the plan pledges to fully exempt the earnings of any person on social assistance participating in post-secondary education.
* The second change extends the upfront child care benefits to allow parents to continue their participation in employment and employment assistance activities.
* The third change is an extension of the time to request internal reviews of social assistance decisions from ten to thirty days
Source:
25 in 5 Backgrounder

Poverty Plan Lays Foundation For Action
December 4, 2008
"TORONTO - Ontario is on track to becoming a leader in poverty reduction in a plan that is not only crucial to the province’s economic recovery but is also the right thing to do, says the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. (...)
- “Today, Ontario is turning a corner on poverty,” says Pat Capponi of Voices from the Street.
- “Today’s announcement signals an understanding that poverty reduction is smart economics,” says Jacquie Maund, Campaign 2000 Ontario Coordinator.
- “Thousands of Ontarians asked for a plan with targets, timelines and accountability. The government listened,” says 25 in 5 spokesperson Cindy Wilkey.
- “We expect poverty reduction to become a central feature in the next five provincial budgets - and the 25 in 5 Network will continue to hold our government to its promise to make this plan a reality,” says Peter Clutterbuck, executive director, Social Planning Network of Ontario.

How does the government’s plan perform against the Five Tests?
25 in 5 Backgrounder on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Announcement

December 4, 2008
The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral coalition of more than 350 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working to eliminate poverty. In October 2008, the 25 in 5 Network produced Five Tests for Success of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. See how the Ontario plan matches up to each of the five tests.

Five Tests For Success of the
Ontario Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
(PDF - 252K, 4 pages)
October 2008

Source:
Poverty Watch Ontario ("To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda")
Poverty Watch Ontario is keeping an eye on the provincial poverty reduction consultations and poverty reduction events in Ontario.
Poverty Watch Ontario is a joint venture of Social Planning Network of Ontario, Ontario Campaign 2000, and the Income Security Advocacy Centre.

Coalition releases innovative plan to address housing poverty
[missing link]
News Release
November 17, 2008
TORONTO – A coalition of private, public and non-profit housing associations, community organizations, academics, and foundations released a proposal today for a new housing benefit for low-income Ontarians. The proposal, outlined in A Housing Benefit for Ontario: One Housing Solution for a Poverty Reduction Strategy, recommends a new income benefit that will help low-income, working age renters with high shelter costs in communities across Ontario. The proposal would add a necessary affordable housing component to Ontario’s highly anticipated Poverty Reduction Strategy, expected in December.

A Housing Benefit for Ontario
One Housing Solution for a Poverty Reduction Strategy
(PDF - 255K, 30 pages)
November 2008
"(...)The proposed benefit pays an average of $103 per month to an estimated 66,000 families and 129,000 individual and couple households. The amount of the benefit is based on a formula that pays 75% of shelter costs between a floor and a ceiling that varies by community size. The housing benefit is reduced as income rises."

Housing Benefit Summary (PDF - 57K, 2 pages)

Housing Benefit Q & A (PDF - 44K, 5 pages)

Source:
Proposal submitted to the Province of Ontario by a coalition of industry and community organizations:
Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
Greater Toronto Apartments Association (no website found)
Metcalf Charitable Foundation
Atkinson Charitable Foundation
Daily Bread Food Bank

Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) - 2 weeks to go
November 17, 2008
With 2 weeks until the December deadline, 25 in 5 goes on the road
1. Quote of the week: Too Much Poverty, Too Few Solutions Letting Our Young People Down
2. Leadership in Hard Times: 25 in 5 Network launches 22-city tour to promote poverty reduction
3. Three ways you can make a difference for poverty reduction, including DEADLINE TODAY to appear before pre-budget consultations in Toronto
4. Governments can use crisis to repair and rebuild infrastructure while fighting poverty, says economist Armine Yalnizyan
5. Five provinces and counting on poverty reduction, is Manitoba next?
Source:
Poverty Watch Ontario
To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda

------------------------------------------------

Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) 3 weeks until the December deadline
Three weeks until the December deadline, three imperatives on why we must act
November 11, 2008
1. Quote of the week: everyone has a role to play, but government must lead on poverty reduction, says Niagara Bishop
2. Why we must act now: the social, political and economic imperatives for poverty reduction
3. Three ways to make a difference between now and the December deadline
Source:
Poverty Watch Ontario
To monitor and inform on cross-Ontario activity on the poverty reduction agenda

Ontarians Waiting For
Leadership On Poverty Reduction
(PDF - 307K, 13 pages) [dead link]
November 2008
By Trish Hennessy
"(...) Between September 24 and October 21, 2008 Environics Research conducted a national poll of 2,023 Canadians for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. This report represents the responses provided by Ontarians, and it tells a story of economic worry and of resolve: Ontarians say now is the time for governments to make us proud and take clear steps to reduce poverty in our provinces."
Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Economic woes might delay poverty agenda: McGuinty
September 16, 2008
GODERICH — The economic slowdown that is hitting Ontario especially hard will likely mean the province will have to delay its promised anti-poverty plan. Premier Dalton McGuinty says the economy and its impact on the province's revenues and future spending plans was a main topic at a Liberal caucus retreat in Goderich.
Source:
CTV Toronto

Related link:

Economic road bumps no excuse to slow down on poverty reduction
September 16, 2008
TORONTO - A coalition of over 100 organizations across Ontario (see the next item below from Poverty Watch Ontario) are urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to follow through on his promise to actively and comprehensively address poverty in this province. "The threat of an economic downturn makes leadership on poverty reduction more important than ever," said 25 in 5 spokesperson Jacquie Maund, of Ontario Campaign 2000. "And it's a signal that we can't afford to delay implementation of a plan."
Source:
CNW Group (formerly Canada Newswire)

Poverty Plan Needs Real Backbone, Ontarians Say
Media Release
September 8, 2008
TORONTO - If Ontario is going to seriously tackle poverty it must invest in a comprehensive multi-year plan, not just a set of quick fixes. That’s the message that government MPPs heard in more than 50 community consultations on poverty reduction over the summer, according to a new report by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.

The report:

Summary Report:
Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations
(March-August 2008)
(PDF - 101K, 15 pages)
September 8, 2008

Source:
Poverty Watch Ontario
Poverty Watch Ontario is a joint initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Ontario Campaign 2000 and the Income Security Advocacy Centre. These organizations have partnered since early 2008 to promote a cross-Ontario community dialogue on a poverty reduction strategy for the province.

Related links:

25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. (...) We are asking our government for a plan to reduce Ontario poverty levels by 25% in 5 years and by 50% before 2018

Social Planning Network of Ontario
The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) is a coalition of social planning councils (SPC), community development councils (CDC), resource centres, and planning committees located in various communities throughout Ontario.

Ontario Campaign 2000
Ontario Campaign 2000 is a provincial partner in Campaign 2000, with 66 member organizations across the province.
[ Campaign 2000 ]

Income Security Advocacy Centre
The Income Security Advocacy Centre works with and on behalf of low income communities in Ontario to address issues of income security and poverty.

From the Government of Ontario:

Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction [ dead link]
"(...) Members will work to develop poverty indicators and targets, and a focused strategy for reducing child poverty and lifting more families out of poverty. The goal of this committee is to make progress in the fight against poverty over the course of the government's four-year mandate."

New from the Ontario Association of Food Banks:

Ontario's Food Banks present plan to cut poverty in half by 2020
News Release
August 19, 2008
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) released a new report today, entitled Our Choice for a Better Ontario, in response to a call for submissions from the provincial government's Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction. The report sets a goal of cutting poverty in half by 2020 through a renewed investment by the federal and provincial governments.

Complete report:

Our Choice for a Better Ontario:
A Plan to Cut Poverty in Half by 2020
(PDF - 1.4MB, 64 pages)
August 2008 (PDF file date)
"(...) Our challenge is great. Hunger and poverty disproportionately affects certain populations and places in Ontario. Ontario’s economy is also in a period of significant transition. Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians lack the basics of life, including food, shelter, and education. We believe that our universal goal must be to cut poverty in half by 2020, with a focus on reducing the deepest poverty. In order to meet this goal, we have established twelve supportive goals focusing on key sectors, people, and places. "
- goals cover the following areas:
* Housing * Education * Financial Inclusion * Employment & Enterprise * Energy * Health * Neighbourhoods and communities * New Canadians * Single parents * First Nations * Ontarians with Disabilities * Children
Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is the umbrella organization for food banks across the province, representing over 100 members in communities across Ontario.

Related link:

We must spend to fight poverty: report
Low-fee credit unions for the poor and a plan to help low-income households pay for heat and hydro are among a broad series of initiatives needed to fight poverty in Ontario, say the province's food banks in a report released recently. Cutting poverty in half by 2020 would lift more than half a million Ontarians out of poverty and should be the McGuinty government's "commitment of a generation," says the report by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.
Source:
Sudbury Star
September 2, 2008

- Go to the Food Banks and Hunger Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/foodbkmrk.htm

New Asset and Income policies to assist low-income adults under Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
Towards a comprehensive approach to accommodate new (2008)federal programs and
encourage self-reliance under Ontario’s asset and income tested benefit programs
(PDF - 954K, 58 pages)
Andrea Baldwin/John Stapleton/Don Drummond
July, 2008
Source:
TD Economics

NOTE : you'll find more TD Economics reports on the home page (the link in the previous line)

Related link:

Ontario can help the poor save
But provincial rules blunt the impact of new tax-free savings plan for people on welfare
July 25, 2008
For eight straight years, the number of welfare recipients in Ontario has remained unchanged, with an approximate caseload of 200,000. This puts into question the current system's ability to effectively transition high-risk groups, including working-age adults, to the labour force. There are enormous social costs to bear when such a large number of people rely on the welfare system. It can place serious strains on recipients, their families and the communities they live in. However, enabling individuals to become self-reliant is not just a social imperative – it's also an economic priority. That's because, in an era of tight labour markets, our province relies on a greater participation in the workforce. We all have something to gain when an individual makes the successful journey from welfare to work.
Source:
The Toronto Star

From the 2008 Ontario Budget (March 25, 2008):

Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy
The government’s Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction, chaired by the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth Services, will focus on expanding opportunities for those living in poverty. It will develop a focused poverty reduction strategy with measures, indicators and reasonable targets by the end of 2008. The Committee will review how best to organize and align the current system of supports to ensure more effective investment and more efficient administration. The government will work with communities and other governments to expand opportunity for all Ontarians and reduce poverty over the long term.
- includes info on the following early initiatives under the Poverty Reduction Strategy : * Dental Care for Low-Income Families * Student Nutrition Program * Parenting and Family Literacy Centres * Making Education More Affordable
Source:
Budget 2008 Papers, Chapter 1, Section C:
A Better Future for Families: Improving Quality of Life

- also includes info on : * Investing in Social Housing * Asset-Building Strategy for Low-Income Ontarians * Increased Support for Social Assistance * Minimum Wage * Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grants * Ontario Property and Sales Tax Credits for Seniors * more...

Supporting Families Receiving Social Assistance (chart and descriptive text) (dead link)
"(...) proposing to increase the basic adult allowance and maximum shelter allowance by two per cent in 2008–09."

Source:
Ontario Ministry of Finance

From the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

Ontario: 'Poverty Reduction'? Reforming without Reforms in a Neoliberal World
by John Clarke
June 30, 2008
"(...)Clearly, the present round of Ontario Government consultations on poverty can't be wished away. It is dominating the political landscape in Ontario at the moment. In OCAP, we deplore this fact but have to recognize it. At present, we can only present our point of view and realize that we are not able to transfer community energy from talking with Liberals to mobilizing against them. However, there is one obvious limitation to the government's consultation strategy. At a certain point, the talking has to stop and the results of the process must be revealed. At that time, the striking lack of progress on poverty reduction is going to hit people in the face."
Source:
Centre for Global Research
The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists. Based in Montreal, the CRG is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec.

[ more Canadian content from CRG ]

Related link:

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
OCAP is a direct-action anti-poverty organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We mount campaigns against regressive government policies as they affect poor and working people.
[John Clarke, author of the above article, is with OCAP.]

From the Income Security Advocacy Centre (Toronto):

Ending Poverty in Ontario:
Building Capacity and Organizing for Change
A Workshop for Engaging Low Income People
(PDF - 980K, 116 pages)
Spring 2008
This manual has been developed to assist facilitators to hold community-based workshops with low income people and other community members active in ending poverty. The workshop is designed to encourage discussion about what is needed to end poverty in Ontario, and to identify actions that can be taken within your community. (...) Campaign 2000 and ISAC will be working with community partners to deliver these workshops in Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Owen Sound, Windsor, and Toronto, and will be producing a “Call to Action” report at the end of 2008 for government and the community.
NOTE : On the ISAC Resources page, you'll find links to the Word version of individual sections of the manual, along with over three dozen more Public Education Materials, Policy Papers and Legal Documents
Source:
A joint project of the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) and
Campaign 2000
(a cross-Canada public education movement to build Canadian awareness and support for the 1989 all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000.)

Make your voice heard on Social Assistance (PDF - 36K, 2 pages)
- May 2008

Action Alert: Poverty Reduction Consultations (Word file - 60K, 3 pages)
- May 2008

Action Alert:
Back-to-school and Winter Clothing allowances end in 2008
(Word file - 49K, 2 pages)
- May 2008

OW and ODSP Recipients Should File 2007 Tax Returns (PDF - 32K, 1 page)
- April 2008

Source:
The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
ISAC was established in 2001 by Legal Aid Ontario to serve low income Ontarians by conducting test case and Charter litigation relating to provincial and federal income security programs.. (...) ISAC's legal work takes place in the broader context of law reform, public legal education and community development.

Related links:

25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.
Source:
Community Social Planning Council of Toronto

From The Toronto Star:

Ontario : 'Have the guts to help,' poor tell the province
June 10, 2008
(...) Some 1.3 million Ontarians live in poverty and the Liberals have promised to have a poverty-reduction strategy – and targets to measure the government's progress – in place by year's end. Ontarians had their first chance to publicly air their views on the government's plans at three meetings yesterday across the city of Toronto attended by Liberal MPPs.

The buzz about bee stings and the poor
June 7, 2008
Laurie Monsebraaten
A provocative new book argues you can't do anything for yourself when you're being swarmed by bees. It's just an analogy, but author and philosopher Charles Karelis's take on poverty is a stinging refutation of generations of social policy.

Child poverty crusade
Editorial
June 2, 2008
The late June Callwood was a tireless activist who until her death last year fought and won many battles. Her last great crusade was to eradicate child poverty in Canada. So it is fitting that her birthday today has been declared June Callwood Children's Day in Ontario. As Premier Dalton McGuinty sees it, we should take the opportunity "to commit ourselves to action."

Gap between passion and revenue
May 23, 2008
Carol Goar
Expectations are running high. Revenues are running low. And Premier Dalton McGuinty has decreed that there will be no deficit and no tax increases. Yet Deb Matthews, who heads the cabinet committee drafting Ontario's poverty reduction strategy, is defiantly sanguine

Determining a deprivation index
Daily Bread Food Bank using survey to develop 'economic strain' guide for poverty in Ontario
April 19, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten

Defining poverty
April 19, 2008
As the province grapples with that question, the Star asked dozens of local experts. Here are their answers.

Definition of poverty stalls federal committee
April 16, 2008
By Joanna Smith
OTTAWA–The federal government should hurry up and define poverty so it can move on to doing something about it, said witnesses at a parliamentary committee laying the foundation for a national poverty strategy yesterday.

Getting together to fight poverty
April 15, 2008
A disparate coalition of more than 100 individuals and anti-poverty groups has done what many thought was impossible by agreeing on the broad strokes of a poverty reduction strategy for Ontario.

MPs from all parties set to tackle poverty
Committee plans to look at Regent Park's success with education program
April 4, 2008
By Richard Brennan
OTTAWA–A parliamentary committee is setting out to establish the framework for a national poverty strategy by meeting with groups and individuals across Canada already doing their bit to help the poor. The Human Resources and Social Development Committee decided yesterday it is high time for a plan, which would ultimately require federal government approval, to tackle the growing problem.

Source:
War on Poverty: Special Coverage
[ The Toronto Star ]

Campaign for poverty reduction building momentum (dead link)
April 5, 2008
By Peter Clutterbuck, Social Planning Network of Ontario
Sustaining employment. Livable Incomes. Strong and supportive communities. When it comes to tackling poverty, these are the core messages that are emerging from communities across Ontario. The Social Planning Network of Ontario is currently traversing the province to build support for a bold poverty reduction vision. Local social planning members and community partners in 12 cities are bringing together Ontarians from all walks of life to discuss the best way to move forward on an anti-poverty plan.
Source:
Social Planning Network of Ontario
The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) is a coalition of social planning councils (SPC), community development councils (CDC), resource centres, and planning committees located in various communities throughout Ontario. Each of the individual organizations has their own mandates but are connected in the cause of effecting change on social policies, conditions, and issues.
- incl. links to : * Home * News * Reports * Links * FAQs * About Us * Contact Us

Income Security Advocacy Centre's Response
to the Ontario Government's Poverty Announcement
(PDF file - 36K, 1 page)
Press Release
March 17, 2008
Premier’s Poverty Reduction Announcement:
“A Good Start, but a Long Way to Go”
Toronto – Calling the Premier’s Poverty Reduction announcement “a good start,” Mary Marrone, Director of Advocacy & Legal Services at ISAC, said, “But they’ve got a long way to go.” The Income Security Advocacy Centre is a specialized community legal clinic with a provincial mandate to improve the income security of people living in Ontario through test case litigation, policy advocacy and community organizing. The Premier’s office announced funding for three priority programs this morning as a ‘kickstart’ to a Poverty Reduction Strategy, expected by the end of 2008.
Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)

Transcript of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
January 21, 2008
Pre-budget consultations, including several presentations dealing with the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy.
- incl. submissions by : HUGH MACKENZIE * ONTARIO LONG TERM CARE ASSOCIATION * INCOME SECURITY ADVOCACY CENTRE * CANADIAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION * MYCHOICE.CA * CAMPAIGN 2000 * WELLESLEY INSTITUTE * CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS-ONTARIO * ONTARIO NON-PROFIT HOUSING ASSOCIATION * 25 IN 5: NETWORK FOR POVERTY REDUCTION *TORONTO AND YORK REGION LABOUR COUNCIL * more...

Report of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATION 2008
(PDF - 2.4MB, 74 pages)
March 17, 2008
This report is an overview of the main issues raised by presenters during the pre-Budget consultation.

From Campaign 2000:

Work isn't working for Ontario Families
Poverty Reduction requires a Jobs Strategy, says Campaign 2000
News alert
May 12, 2008
Toronto – In the face of mounting evidence on the role of the labour market in family poverty, today Campaign 2000, the coalition working to end child and family poverty, joined with the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and the Canadian Labour Congress (Ontario Region) to call for the inclusion of a good jobs strategy in the provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy. Their joint report, Work Isn’t Working for Ontario Families: The Role of Good Jobs in Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy establishes that many Ontario parents cannot achieve financial security for their families not because they can’t find work, but because they can’t find a good job.

Complete report:

Work Isn’t Working for Ontario Families:
The Role of Good Jobs in Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
(PDF - 180K, 28 pages) [dead link - try using the search engine]

Media release: Campaign 2000 comments on 2008 Ontario Budget
25 Mar 08
The anti-poverty coalition Campaign 2000 is encouraged to see the Ontario 2008 budget include a number of measures that reflect the Government’s commitment to address poverty.

Media release: Poverty Reduction Missing from Budget
26 Feb 08
The federal budget passed up the chance to offer the almost 800,000 children living in poverty in Canada a shot at a better life, says Campaign 2000, the national coalition of over 120 partners working to end child and family poverty in Canada.

Media release:Time for Initial Steps in Poverty Reduction Strategy
20 Jan 08
Campaign 2000 Calls for a Down Payment on Poverty Reduction in the 2008 Budget.

A Poverty Plan for Ontario - from Ontario Campaign 2000
- includes links to Ontario Campaign 2000's pre-budget submission to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs Pre-Budget Hearings(January 2008), the July 2007 discussion paper proposing a poverty reduction strategy for Ontario (see the link immediately below) and the 2006 Report card on child and family poverty in Ontario (plus links to child and family poverty reports for earlier years).

A poverty reduction strategy for Ontario (PDF file - 396K, 14 pages)
July 2007
"This discussion paper outlines what a Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario should look like, based on lessons learned from success in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions. It identifies indicators for measuring poverty, targets and timelines for poverty reduction, and outlines the key components of an action plan."
Source:
Ontario Campaign 2000
- includes links to many more poverty reduction papers from Ontario Campaign 2000.

25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.

25-in-5 Resources - links to websites and reports (local, provincial, national and international) on the subject of poverty reduction

Source:
Community Social Planning Council of Toronto


War on Poverty
- links to 50+ articles and editorials about the plight of Canada's needy and possible reforms to the social programs that assist them.
Source:
The Toronto Star


Time for a Fair Deal: Report of the Task Force on
Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults
(PDF file - 282K, 67 pages) [dead link]
May 2006
Recommended income security reforms for Canada and Ontario:
- Reform Employment Insurance to address the significant decline in coverage of the unemployed and the related decline in access to employment supports and training.
- Create a new refundable tax benefit consisting of a basic tax credit for all low-income working-age adults and a working income supplement for low-income wage earners.
- Create a new national disability income support program for persons whose disabilities are so substantial that they are unlikely to enter the paid labour force.
- Increase the National Child Benefit to an adequate level.
- Establish an independent provincial body, with representation from labour and employers, to recommend periodic increases to the minimum wage and monitor the employment and economic effects.
- Implement an integrated child benefit platform for all low-income parents with children that pays benefits outside the social assistance system.
- Provide basic health (prescription drugs and vision care) and dental coverage to low-income workers.

Source:
Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA") [dead link]
MISWAA was formed in the fall of 2004 by the Toronto City Summit Alliance, a broad-based coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region, and by St. Christopher House, a multi-service neighbourhood centre that works with low-income people in Toronto. The Task Force is a diverse group made-up of over fifty experts and leaders from major employers, policy institutes, labour unions, academia, community organizations, advocacy groups, foundations and governments, as well as individuals with first-hand knowledge of income security programs.

- Go to the Ontario Government Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk.htm

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