Canadian Social Research Links

Non-Governmental and
Municipal Government Sites in Ontario
O-Z

Updated November 30, 2016

version française

[ Go to Canadian Social Research Links Home Page ]

 

Links to Ontario municipalities' websites
- from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario



Weekly 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

UPDATED TO 06 JANUARY, 2017

Open Policy Ontario
(the social policy consultancy of John Stapleton Toronto)

* Visit John's website at
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Selected writings of John Stapleton
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#open_policy

- this link takes you down further on the page you're now reading.

---


NOTE : For all Ontario minimum wage links , go to the minimum wage section of the Ontario Government Sites page


See these related Canadian Social Research Links pages:

--- Guide to welfare in Ontario
--- Provincial government
--- NGO/Municipal govt. [A-C]
--- NGO/Municipal govt. [D-N]
--- NGO/Municipal govt. [O-Z]
--- Review of social assistance in Ontario
--- The Ontario Special Diet Allowance
--- The Drummond Commission report
--- Drug testing people who apply for or receive welfare
--- Spouse-in-the-house (54) (welfare cohabitation rules for single people & single parents) 
--- Government Budget Links page - incl. Ontario budget links
--- Federal, provincial and territorial budgets - incl. Ontario budgets +analysis & critiques
--- Ontario anti-poverty strategies and poverty reduction
--- Early Learning and Child Care (for all Ontario ECD links)
--- Case Law / Court Decisions / Inquests - incl. information on the Kimberly Rogers inquest.
--- Provincial-Territorial Political Parties and Elections in Canada - incl. Ontario election links
--- Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients in Ontario

--- Gouvernement de l'Ontario - page d'accueil (version française)

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

Current Welfare benefit levels in Ontario and much more:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk.htm#rates
Social Assistance, Pension and Tax Credit Rates
Updated quarterly
This factsheet contains current rate information (benefit levels) for 15 federal and Ontario financial assistance programs.
[NOTE : Clicking the link above will take you partway down the Ontario Government Links page of this website.]

Prepared by the
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
[ http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/ ]

 

SEARCH
FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


To search the complete
Canadian Social Research Links website ,
use the text box below:


To search ONLY the page you are now reading,
use Ctrl + F to open a search window.


SUBSCRIBE TO THE
CANADIAN SOCIAL RESEARCH NEWSLETTER

Sign up to receive this free weekly newsletter by e-mail or read it online
(including archives back to January 2005).
Each issue includes all links added to this site during the previous week.
(2800+ subscribers in November 2016)



A young person’s guide to a guaranteed annual or basic income
(PDF - 623K, 25 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/A-young-person-all-in-1-place.pdf
By John Stapleton
April 2016

Table of Contents:

(Click the link above to access all seven parts in a single file.)

Part 1 - Guaranteed Annual Income / Basic Income rules --- pages 1-5
Part 2 - A tale of two GAI’s --- pages 6-8
Part 3 - Our emotionally charged income security system --- pages 9-12
Part 4 - Rights and human dignity --- pages 13-15
Part 5 - The problem of work for a guaranteed or basic income --- pages 16-18
Part 6 - Persons with Disabilities --- pages 19-22
Part 7 - Keeping what’s good from the past --- pages 23 to 25

Source:
Open Policy (John Stapleton)
http://openpolicyontario.com/

The Cost Of Poverty In Toronto
By John Stapleton, Alexa Briggs and Celia Lee
November 2016

Abstract:
This report estimates the price of inaction. Regardless of the strategy used to address poverty, it asks, “What does it cost us to allow poverty to persist in Toronto?” It estimates how much more we may be spending in the health care and justice systems simply because poverty exists, and how much we lose in tax revenue, simply because poverty exists. This preliminary analysis conservatively estimates that the overall cost of poverty in Toronto ranges from $4.4 to $5.5 billion per year. This estimate is largely comparable, with the exception of intergenerational costs, with estimates of the cost of poverty in Ontario at $32 to $38 billion and for Canada at $72 to $85 billion.

Complete report (PDF - 5.5MB, 20 pages)
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/socialplanningtoronto/pages/523/attachments/original/1480338070/Cost-of-Poverty-R10-Final-forweb.pdf

Related links

Poverty costs Toronto up to $5.5 billion each year
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/poverty_costs_toronto_up_to_5_5_billion_each_year
November 28, 2016
A new report estimates poverty is costing Toronto between $4.5-$5.5 billion each year due to increases in cost to the health and justice system as well as lost tax revenue.:

Cuts to low-income services proposed as new report says Toronto is Child Poverty Capital of Canada.
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/new_report_says_toronto_is_child_poverty_capital_of_canada

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/

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

From the
Toronto Star:

Cost of poverty in Toronto pegged at $5.5 billion a year
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/11/28/cost-of-poverty-in-toronto-pegged-at-55-billion-a-year.html
Low-income residents pay less tax, are more likely to be unemployed or under-employed and have higher health costs and interactions with the justice system, according to new report.
November 28, 2016

---

From the CBC:

Poverty is costing Toronto billions a year, report says
'Spending on poverty reduction is a good economic investment,' report concludes

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/poverty-toronto-cost-billions-1.3870594

Source:
CBC News
November 28, 2016

---

- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (O-Z) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm

Solitary Confinement Series
Innovation Fellowship, Inclusive Local Economies

http://metcalffoundation.com/stories/metcalf-stories/solitary-confinement-series/
2016
By Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton

The Resilient Neighbourhood Economies (RNE) project [ http://metcalffoundation.com/stories/publications/resilient-neighbourhood-economies-report/ ] focused on building sustainable economic opportunities for low-income people and ran from 2012 to 2015. The project was a partnership between Metcalf’s Inclusive Local Economies Program and two community-based organizations. During RNE’s three years, both community organizations raised concerns about roadblocks that individuals on social assistance face that prevent them from exploring self-employment or entrepreneurial opportunities. We asked Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton [ http://openpolicyontario.com/ ] to explore this issue. The result is this series of guest posts titled Solitary Confinement. In these posts John will share first-hand accounts, provide analysis of structural barriers, and shine a light on examples or solutions that can address disincentives. Click on the two links below to read the first two postings.

May 2016: From Solitary Confinement to "One to Many"
http://metcalffoundation.com/stories/metcalf-stories/solitary-confinement-series/#from-solitary-confinement-to-one-to-many
This is the second in a series of posts that explore the difficulties social assistance recipients face when pursuing self-employment or entrepreneurial options. It is co-written by John Stapleton and Leila Sarangi. (...) While not an ideal framework, One-to-Many enabled the women to use Ontario Works benefits and resources to support a socially-driven collaborative enterprise model and help them on their path to self-sufficiency.

February 2016: Two case studies and the income/employment conundrum
http://metcalffoundation.com/stories/metcalf-stories/solitary-confinement-series/#two-case-studies-and-the-income-employment-conundrum-content
This is the first in a series of posts that explore the difficulties that social assistance recipients face when pursuing self-employment or entrepreneurial options. My focus is primarily on newcomers who are searching for a way to be self-reliant. I also focus on situations in which barriers are particularly acute. (...) Fortunately, Toronto Employment and Social Services has developed a new experimental model that respects entrepreneurship and understands the need to provide consistent messaging to recipients and organizations undertaking group entrepreneurship. It is called the “one-to-many” model and the odyssey that resulted in that model is the subject of a future posting.

Source:
Metcalf Foundation

http://metcalffoundation.com/

Ontario’s basic income program poses threat to existing social programs
https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/blogs/insight/ontarios-basic-income-plan-poses-a-threat-to-144120414.html
By Aaron Broverman
28 Apr, 2016
The 2015 Ontario Budget increased Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates. The increases started on the October 30 cheque for both OW and ODSP. Click the link above to see a chart showing the current (as of October 1) and new (as of October 30) Basic Needs and Maximum Shelter amounts for different family types. It also shows Ontario Child Benefit amounts, because the OCB is an important part of the total amount of income that people on OW and ODSP who have children get each month. All the children in these examples are under age 18.

Source:
Yahoo Finance

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

Related links:

Ontario Works (OW) - for eligible people without disabilities 
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/ow/index.aspx

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) - for eligible people with disabilities
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/index.aspx

Social Assistance Rates and the OCB (small PDF file)
http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/sites/all/files/OW_and_ODSP_rates_and_OCB_as_of_Oct-2015.pdf
October 1, 2015

Ontario Tenant Heat & Electricity Survey
http://www.ontariotenants.ca/electricity/Heat-Electricity-Survey-01.phtml
This interesting quality of life survey was done by Ontario Tenant Rights this year about insufficient heating for tenants.

Source:
Ontario Tenants Rights
http://www.ontariotenants.ca/index.phtml

“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/

Social Assistance in Ontario: Periods of Tumult and Calm
http://openpolicyontario.com/social-assistance-in-ontario-periods-of-tumult-and-calm/
For the first time in over a year and without much fanfare, the Ontario Government has begun to publish monthly social assistance caseload numbers. One guesses that the reason for the hiatus was the much-reported troubles with their new social assistance computer system called SAMS. The newest figures are for November 2015 and the new charts on the MCSS website include caseload figures going back two years including the 13 months from November 2014 to November 2015 that were missing.

They are here for Ontario Works (in PDF format):
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/social/reports/OW_EN_2015-11.pdf

...and here for the Ontario Disability Support Program:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/social/reports/ODSP_EN_2015-11.pdf

Now that we have 35 years of reliable data, what does it tell us?
(...)
With the stars aligned (so to speak) at all three levels of government across most of Ontario, poverty reduction strategies can now be harmonized to implement real reform. We can bring in income security for all children outside of social assistance and implement a basic income for all low income adults with a special supplement for people with disabilities as recommended in Brighter Prospects (PDF) : http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/social/publications/social_assistance_review_final_report.pdf

This has allowed me to update an excel file (the link immediately below) which many readers have seen in the past that includes reliable data for the last 35 years (since 1981) for caseloads (payments) , beneficiaries (men women and children receiving assistance), unemployment, and population.

Stapleton, J. (2016) Ontario unemployment and SA rates 1981 monthly to November 2015 (Microsoft Excel file)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Copy-of-Ontario-unemployment-and-SA-rates-1981-to-2008-2009-monthly-to-November-2015.xlsx

---

Source:
Open Policy (John Stapleton's blog/website)
http://www.openpolicyontario.com/

Every ninth child in Ontario : A Cost-Benefit Analysis for Investing in
the Care of Special Needs Children and Youth in Ontario (PDF - 2.1MB, 59 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/every-ninth-child-report-final.pdf
Supporting the voices of children and youth with special needs
By John Stapleton, Brendon Pooran, René Doucet et al.
November 2015
(...)
About one child in nine in Ontario has special needs (i.e., "a need that is related to or caused by a developmental disability or a behavioural, emotional, physical, mental or other disability"). The Ontario government is deeply involved in the lives of special needs children and shares responsibility for them with their parents and civil society. Ontario’s government spends approximately $5 billion on its 300,000 children with special needs. Various estimates place the actual cost of supports for special-needs children at more than $10 billion, perhaps as high as $12 billion.
(...)
Summing up: three recommendations:
1. Recommendation 1: the need for a government-wide strategy of inclusion,
2. Recommendation 2: the need to continue and expand support, and
3. Recommendation 3: the need for a tracking system.

Source:
Open Policy (John Stapleton`s blog/website)
http://www.openpolicyontario.com/

---

- Go to the Children, Families and Youth Links (NGO) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/chnngo.htm

NOTA : Le lien vers la version française suit l'anglais ci-dessous.)

Ontario’s Soldiers’ Aid Commission:
100 Years of Assistance to Veterans in Need 1915-2015
(PDF - 3.7MB, 78 pages)
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/community/OntariosSoldiersAidCommission.pdf
By James A. Onusko
[ Project Manager: John Stapleton, Soldiers' Aid Commission Commissioner ]
"This history is dedicated to the memory of the Commissioners we have lost since the beginning of the new millennium, all of whom advocated strongly for the commemoration of the SAC's 100th anniversar y: "
(...) "In 2015, there are other Veteran assistance programs and newer non-profit organizations that tend to the needs of soldiers. Our interconnected world and our ability to instantly communicate have made it possible for concerned groups to support and fundraise on their behalf. However, nothing can replace the historical and social importance of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission. Our country and province owe a debt of gratitude to the selfless citizens and volunteers that have committed themselves to the health and welfare of those who fought for us during Canada’s formative years. The history on the following pages documents well the struggles and accomplishments of this remarkable, benevolent society.")
Source: Foreword by the
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

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

Version française:

Commission d’aide aux anciens combattants de l’Ontario :
100 ans d’aide aux anciens combattants dans le besoin 1915-2015
(PDF - 2.8Mo, 86 pages)
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/fr/mcss/community/OntariosSoldiersAidCommission_Fr.pdf
Auteur : James A. Onusko
[ Chef de projet : John Stapleton, commissaire de la
Commission d’aide aux anciens combattants ]
"Cette histoire est dédiée à la mémoire des commissaires que nous avons perdus depuis le début du nouveau millénaire et qui ont tous vivement soutenu la
commémoration du 100e anniversaire de la Commission."
(...)
En 2015, il existe d’autres programmes d’aide aux vétérans et de nouveaux organismes sans but lucratif qui veillent aux besoins des militaires. Notre monde interconnecté et notre capacité de communiquer instantanément ont permis aux groupes concernés de les soutenir et de collecter des fonds en leur nom. Toutefois, rien ne peut remplacer la valeur historique et sociale de la Commission d’aide aux anciens combattants. Notre pays et notre province ont une dette de gratitude envers les citoyens et les bénévoles qui se sont occupés de la santé et du bien-être de ceux et celles qui ont combattu pour nous pendant les premières années du Canada. L’histoire racontée dans les pages suivantes documente bien les luttes et les accomplissements de cette société à la fois bienveillante et remarquable.
Source:
Avant-propos de la
lieutenante-gouverneure de l’Ontario

RETIRING ON A LOW INCOME - Learnings from the Toronto Library and The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
Presentations by John Stapleton – Open Policy – October 2015 (PDF - 12 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Retiring-on-a-low-income-post-mortem.pdf

Hunter Gatherers in Toronto: “What a long strange trip it’s been”
by John Stapleton
Before the rate cuts of 1995, the single welfare rate was $663 a month. On November 1, it will go from $656 to $681 a month surpassing the $663 amount for the first time on the 20th anniversary of the cuts. Core inflation since 1995 has increased by 45% and the welfare diet has gone up by 107%[6].
http://openpolicyontario.com/hunter-gatherers-in-toronto-what-a-long-strange-trip-its-been/

The “Welfare Diet” 20 years later:
The growing nutrition crisis for Ontario’s poorest people
(PDF - 2.1MB, 13 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Welfare-Diet-20-years-later.pdf
October 2015
By John Stapleton
with Jamille Clarke-Darshanand
with assistance from
Richard Matern and Anne Tweddle
(...)
In today’s Ontario, the four big prerequisites for healthy eating are safe, secure, and energy efficient facilities for:
* Storage
* Cooking
* Refrigeration
* Freezing.
The very poor seldom have access to all of these things. Without refrigeration, fresh produce spoils. Without secure housing, there is nowhere to store food safely and protect it from theft. In public housing, appliances break down regularly and take a long time to get fixed. Hydro costs are very high, and are often exacerbated by monthly interest on unpaid bills.

Source:
Open Policy Ontario
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Related links:

Cost of Ontario’s 1995 ‘welfare diet’ soars amid inadequate rates
What seemed like an impossibly meagre food budget in 1995 has become even more unattainable today.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/10/10/cost-of-ontarios-1995-welfare-diet-soars-amid-inadequate-rates.html
By Laurie Monsebraaten
October 10, 2015
Welfare diet by the numbers:
$681 - Monthly welfare rate for a single, able-bodied person starting Nov. 1
$962 - What that person would be receiving if rates weren't cut in '95 and were increased by inflation.
$90.81 - Monthly cost of food items in 1995 “welfare diet.”
$189.91 - Monthly cost of food items in welfare diet in 2015.
45% - Inflation since 1995.
107 - Percentage increase in cost of items in the welfare diet since

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

---

The original CBC story
from 20 years ago this past week:

1995: ‘Tsubouchi diet’ causes uproar in Ontario - CBC Archives (video, 2 minutes)
http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1995-tsubouchi-diet-causes-uproar-in-ontario

The plight of low income hardworking seniors (Part Deux. addendum)
By Gilles:
In last week's newsletter, I included a link to a diatribe by social advocate John Stapleton regarding the confusing and ridiculous rules around the treatment of income from work received from various sources by people over 65 in receipt of government financial assistance. However, I neglected to include a link in that same newsletter to a March 29 article in the Toronto Star with more detailed information.

Here's a link to John's blog post (March 27):
http://openpolicyontario.com/the-plight-of-low-income-hardworking-seniors/

...and a link to the Star article dated March 29:
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/03/29/should-poor-seniors-have-to-pay-to-volunteer-porter.html
Should poor seniors have to pay to volunteer?
By Catherine Porter
March 29, 2015
Phillip Dufresne lives on $1,000 monthly disability cheques and gets an additional $120 monthly in honorariums for volunteering in the community. But when he turns 65 in a few months, the government will claw most of that back.

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

Related link:
Open Policy Ontario - John Stapleton's blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Welfare recipients treated like guinea pigs:
Ontario government’s ‘improvement’ to its disability program hurts those who are trying hardest.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/03/31/welfare-recipients-treated-like-guinea-pigs-goar.html
By Carol Goar
March 31, 2015
If everything had gone according to plan, the Ontario government would be rolling out a new Employment-Related Benefit for people with disabilities on April 1.
[ http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/news/releases/2015/20150210.aspx ]
Things did not go as planned, of course. Last fall the Ministry of Community and Social Services installed a costly new social assistance program on its computers.
[ http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/sams.aspx ]. Since then, it has lurched from one snafu to the next: overpayments, underpayments, missing payments, privacy breaches and error-ridden tax forms. It is unclear when — or even whether — this mess will be cleaned up.

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

Much of my life I have been a struggling low income person.
http://openpolicyontario.com/much-of-my-life-i-have-been-a-struggling-low-income-person-guest-blog-by-pamela-chynn/
Guest blog by Pamela Chynn
I am talking today as a struggling university and journalism student, as a person who has on and off been on social assistance, as a person who has been on unemployment insurance a few times, as a person who has a couple of times been technically homeless and has been through the surreal roller coaster nightmare of couch surfing, as a temp worker, as a minimum wage worker and currently after having endured several years of bullying that resulted in suffering a long and hard battle with depression and anxiety – temporarily on ODSP.

Source:
Open Policy Ontario - John Stapleton's Blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/

From
Social Planning Toronto:

SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin : March 6, 2015
http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a8f54eab94acd8c455bb09550&id=8b3d328eb3&e=f39c876800

This issue:
* Connecting with Newcomer Youth Through Meaningful Recreation – Conference
* “Happily Ever After: Two Years Later?” – Forum on Mergers, Integrations and Amalgamations in Community Sector
* Campaign Against 4 Year Limit on Migrant Workers: Petition to Stop Mass Deportations
* Call for Nominations for the Social Planning Toronto Board of Directors

Earlier issues of SOUNDBITES:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#spt
- this link will take you to a collection of earlier issues of SOUNDBITES further down on the page you're now reading.

SPT Member Organizations
http://socialplanningtoronto.org/about-us/member-organizations
- links to over 250 member organizations in Toronto, from ACCESS EMPLOYMENT to YWCA of Greater Toronto

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/
For more than 50 years, SPT and its predecessor organizations have served as a vital voice for the non-profit community sector in Toronto – conducting research and supporting community mobilization that has made a real difference for our organizations, our communities, and the most vulnerable residents in our city.

 

Interview with John Clarke, organizer at the
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in Toronto
(podcast, duration 21:38)
http://freecityradio.org/post/112840293655/interview-ocaps-john-clarke-on-the-struggle
March 5, 2015
Listen to an interview with John Clarke, organizer at the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) [ http://ocap.ca/ ] in Toronto, speaking about the struggle against poverty, homelessness and austerity. In this interview John speaks specifically about the recent and ongoing struggles in Toronto to open shelters for LGBT youth and also a 24-hour drop-in centre for women and trans people.

Also this interview talks about specific struggles against poverty and homelessness in Toronto within the context of the broader context of violent neoliberal economics in Canada, specifically the wave of austerity-driven policies in recent years. John connects the specifics of struggles in Toronto to the broader context of deepening systems of social & economic violence against poor, marginalized and homeless people.

Source:
Free City Radio
http://freecityradio.org/


From the
Wellesley Institute:

Low Wages, No Benefits
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/publications/low-wages-no-benefits/
By Steve Barnes
February 17, 2015
One-third of workers in Ontario do not receive employer-provided benefits. Seniors and those receiving social assistance are eligible for some level of public coverage, however, low-income Ontarians who are employed, are falling through the cracks without any health coverage at all. Living with low income and experiencing a lack of resources can increase the risk for poor health. Low income is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, higher rates of diabetes complications, and poor mental health due to high rates of anxiety, stress, and depression. Good dental care, access to medication, and vision care are important parts of maintaining overall health and are particularly income sensitive.

This paper uses data from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics to identify who is more or less likely to have employer-provided health benefits.

The complete paper:

Low Wages, No Benefits : Expanding Access
To Health Benefits For Low Income Ontarians
(PDF - 788KB, 17 pages)
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Low-Wages-No-Benefits-Wellesley-Institute-Feb-2015.pdf
Excerpt (PDF file, p.1):
While Ontario provides a patchwork of health benefits that cover prescription drugs and dental and vision care to selected populations, people who are working but who have low earnings are likely to fall through the gaps. They are not eligible for public benefits and are less likely to have employer-provided benefits.

Source:
Wellesley Institute
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/

It’s not just welfare computer system that needs a fix: Editorial
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/02/11/its-not-just-welfare-computer-system-that-needs-a-fix-editorial.html
The problems with Ontario’s welfare and disability system go much deeper than computer coding for the troubled Social Assistance Management System. In December 2014, Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek dismissed the problems with Ontario's social assistance cheques as a computer glitch. Now the government is asking a third-party adviser to conduct a review of the troubled system.
(...)
The deeper problem [deeper than computer glitches] may well be the fact that no computer coding can handle the “discretion” required to manage the province’s overly complex welfare and disability system. As John Stapleton, Innovations Fellow at the Metcalf Foundation and a former provincial social assistance policy analyst, told the Star in January: “You have a system now that is so complicated . . . you have exceptions to exceptions to exceptions based on discretion.” No code is ever going to be able to deal with that, he argues.

In other words, a computer program can’t provide judgment on individual cases and penalize recipients for deviating from the welfare system’s complex rules. Nor can it make allowances for unforeseen circumstances: domestic violence, evictions, sudden changes in earnings, medical emergencies or funerals.

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

Related link:

Open Policy Ontario : John Stapleton's website and blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Guaranteed Annual Income contains three words: Let’s talk about the ‘annual’ part
http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/john-stapleton/guaranteed-annual-income-contains-three-words-let%E2%80%99s-talk-about-%E2%80%98annual%E2%80%99-part
By John Stapleton
February 4, 2015
[NOTE : Scroll to the bottom of the article for links to three related articles.]
Let's move away from welfare system that requires reporting of income on monthly basis.
We all understand the concepts of a guarantee and what is meant by an income but what do we really mean when we say that a guaranteed income should be ‘annual? O
K – we know that ‘annual’ means ‘yearly’ but does it mean something else? I think it does. To me, it means that we move away from the welfare approach to income that calls for reporting and reconciliation of income on a monthly basis.

I talked about this in recent Toronto Star articles and an op-ed in December 2014 . But the whole idea of annual reconciliation of income should be one of the first steps towards a true GAI for reasons other than it being a good first step. Here are some additional thoughts on the matter....

Source:
Vibrant Communities Canada
http://vibrantcanada.ca/

Related link:

Open Policy - John Stapleton's website/blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Guest Blog from Tess: When your child turns 18 on a low income: Three big changes for a lone parent
http://openpolicyontario.com/guest-blog-from-tess-when-your-child-turns-18-on-a-low-income-three-big-changes-for-a-lone-parent/
This guest blog from Tess underscores the problems faced by families living on a low income in subsidized housing. It goes back to an essay I wrote for Metcalf titled ‘Why is it so tough to get ahead?’ While today’s parents know that their children may have to live with them long past the age of 18, our social welfare institutions continue to adhere to the Age of Majority Act that was passed into law 44 years ago, a time when many 18 year olds could realistically pursue independence.

Source:
Open Policy Ontario - John Stapleton's website / blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Annual earnings exemptions urged for Ontario welfare recipients
Moving from monthly to annualized exemptions would encourage recipients to work more and keep more — and might even ease Ontario’s computer system woes.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/01/14/annual-earnings-exemptions-urged-for-ontario-welfare-recipients.html
By Laurie Monsebraaten
January 14, 2015
Toronto single mother Veronica Snooks is trying to work her way off social assistance and is grateful she can keep the first $200 she earns before triggering a deduction in her monthly cheque. But she has learned through bitter experience that it doesn’t make sense to try to earn more than $200.
That is because social assistance benefits are calculated on the previous month’s earnings. And for people like Snooks, whose work opportunities are sporadic, a deduction in a month when she isn’t earning any money is a financial hardship. “If I work this month, they take money off next month. But if I don’t make money next month, then I have less money to live on. It’s a real hassle,” she says.
(...)
“Because they don’t know how much they are going to receive, it is a real disincentive for them to work,” says welfare expert John Stapleton, a former provincial social services official.

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin : December 19, 2014 (PDF - 235KB, 7 pages)
http://canadiansocialresearch.net/Soundbites_19_ Dec_2014.pdf

This issue:
1. SPT’s 2014 Year-end Review Report
2. City of Toronto Budget Launch & SPT Budget Forums: Save the Dates!
3. SPT’s Cutty Duncan Receives Bhayana Family Foundation’s Partnership Builder Award
4. Toronto Community Development Institute (TCDI) Holds “Youth Becomes Change” Forum
5. Save the Date – 2015 Frances Lankin Community Service Award – April 22nd
6. Brown Canada 2020 Summit Discuss Challenges, Opportunities Facing South Asians in
Toronto
7. Newcomer Civic Participation Forum
8. Toronto Ward Boundary Review

More issues of SOUNDBITES
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#spt
- this link will take you to the Social Planning Toronto section of the page you're now reading.

SPT Member Organizations
http://socialplanningtoronto.org/about-us/member-organizations
- links to over 250 member organizations in Toronto, from ACCESS EMPLOYMENT to YWCA of Greater Toronto

Source:
Social Planning Toronto

http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/
For more than 50 years, SPT and its predecessor organizations have served as a vital voice for the non-profit community sector in Toronto – conducting research and supporting community mobilization that has made a real difference for our organizations, our communities, and the most vulnerable residents in our city.

Same problems keep recurring in welfare computer systems
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/12/08/same_problems_keep_recurring_in_welfare_computer_systems.html
By John Stapleton
December 8, 2014
Over the past month, welfare computer systems [ http://goo.gl/fJjmkB ] in both British Columbia and Ontario have crashed, paying thousands of recipients wrong amounts of money. But it’s hardly the first time this has happened. Over the last 40-odd years, every new computer system for Ontario’s social assistance programs has had these same types of glitches.
(...)
Ontario has 14 separate rules governing who is automatically ineligible for benefits, eight sets of benefit categories, and 12 sets of rules that define dependency. The test of need includes complex rules surrounding liquid assets limits that vary by the presence of disabilities, family size and family structure with at least 42 separate rules that apply differently in three separate life situations.
(...)
So let’s work hard to fix the glitches and problems. But let’s work harder on the preposterous over-complexity founded on the misguided idea that we have to parse every gradation of need in order to have a publicly acceptable welfare system.

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

See also:

Open Policy - John Stapleton's website
http://openpolicyontario.com/

NEW from the
Ontario Association of Food Banks:

2014 OAFB Hunger Report
http://www.oafb.ca/hungerreport2014
News Release
December 1, 2014, Toronto, ON - The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) released its 2014 Hunger Report today, revealing that almost 375,000 individuals - more than one third children - are turning to food banks each month. This year's report also finds a 20 per cent spike in first time use and illustrates some surprising statistics about who is going hungry, and why poverty and hunger numbers haven't dipped since the 2008 recession.

OAFB Hunger Report 2014:
Going hungry to pay the bills : the root causes
behind the pervasive cycle of hunger in Ontario
(PDF - 4.2MB, 19 pages):
http://www.oafb.ca/tiny_mce/plugins/filemanager/pics_cms/97/297/OAFB__Hunger_Report_Dec._1_2014.pdf

Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
http://www.oafb.ca/
The OAFB is a network of 125 direct member food banks and over 1,100 affiliate hunger-relief programs and agencies across the province, including breakfast clubs, school meal programs, community food centres, community kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters, and seniors centres.

Earlier OAFB hunger reports - this link will take you further down on the page you're now reading

Metcalf Foundation Newsletter - November-2014
http://metcalffoundation.com/newsletter/metcalf-foundation-newsletter-november-2014/

John Stapleton in the news
In September, Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton was a panelist on The Agenda for a segment that examined Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy:
http://theagenda.tvo.org/episode/206971/eye-on-eradication
("Poverty Reduction Reboot")

He was also featured in a Canadian HR Reporter article on guaranteed minimum incomes (Sept. 5):
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Money-for-Nothing.pdf

Recently, he was quoted in an article in The Globe and Mail on rising food bank use:
http://goo.gl/f8uqSC

John was also quoted in an article in The Toronto Star on hazards facing low-income people when navigating financial services:
http://goo.gl/3LZWBk

Open Policy - John Stapleton's website/blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Revealing power imbalances: What do cigarettes, casino card
counters and Jian Ghomeshi have to do with financial literacy?
http://openpolicyontario.com/revealing-power-imbalances-what-do-cigarettes-casino-card-counters-and-jian-ghomeshi-have-to-do-with-financial-literacy/
November 9, 2014
[This is John Stapleton's submission to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada [ http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/ ] for inclusion in its consultation with Canadians on financial literacy for priority groups.
(...) The financial literacy movement is a good thing. It is especially good for disadvantaged groups who have the most to gain from understanding our public facing financial institutions in Canada. Financial literacy means having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. But financial literacy as a movement ‘locates’ the problem of poor financial decision-making with the individual as opposed to our financial infrastructure and governments. Individuals have little power in comparison to large financial institutions and their products are subject to what governments can and will regulate. Low income people who comprise priority groups for financial literacy have the least power of all.
(...)

There are five elements of this power imbalance that relate to the poor:

1. A power imbalance in onus.
Key examples: right of offset; insufficient funds (NSF), credit card balance limit fees

2. A power imbalance in products.
Key Examples: Balance protection, accident and no-medical life insurance, pre-paid credit cards with up-front fees.

3. A power imbalance in advice.
Key Examples: RRSP’s to low income near aged; high MER mutual funds, get rich quick schemes

4. A power imbalance in expertise.
Key Examples: failure of financial advisors to recommend early CPP and TFSA’s over RRSP’s.

5. A power imbalance in advertising and media availability.
Key examples: High MER mutual funds and no-medical life insurance

If the five elements of this power balance were redressed and low income people became even marginally financially literate, most if not all of the above named products in the key examples above would virtually disappear as the small sliver of the population that could actually benefit from them would be insufficient to sustain their markets. However, the size and complexity of the financial maze in Canada is growing at a much faster rate than the reach of the financial literacy tools designed to navigate it.

Source:
Open Policy Ontario
(John's website/blog)
http://openpolicyontario.com/

---

Also by John Stapleton:

Retiring on a low income
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/
By John Stapleton
- contains resources for Canadians on planning for retirement on a low income. Some examples relate to Ontario only.

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

Related links:

Financial Literacy Month
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/initiativesProjects/FLM/Pages/home-accueil.aspx
November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM) in Canada, and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is proud to play a role in raising awareness and mobilizing organizations across Canada to take part.

Canadian Financial Literacy Database
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/resources/Pages/FLRDSAT-OAEBDRLF.aspx
Find the tools you need to improve your knowledge and skills to make better financial decisions. This is your one-stop shop for information on budgeting, money management, insurance, saving, investing, taxes, fraud prevention and so much more.

Tools and calculators
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/resources/toolsCalculators/Pages/home-accueil.aspx
Compare and choose the financial products and services that suit your needs.
Save time and money with the following interactive tools:

* Financial literacy self-assessment quiz
--- Find out how your money management skills measure up

* Credit card tools
--- What is the best way to choose and use a credit card?

* Mortgage calculators
--- Are you shopping around for a mortgage?

* Budgeting Tool
--- Do you have a realistic budget?

* Financial Goal Calculator
--- How can you achieve your financial goals?

* Account Selector tool
--- Which bank accounts are right for you?

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

National Strategy for Financial Literacy—Development and Consultations
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Pages/home-accueil.aspx
The Government of Canada is developing a national strategy for financial literacy that is inclusive, relevant and accessible for all Canadians and takes into consideration ways to meet the needs of those who may have different financial literacy challenges. The development process includes three phases of consultations to seek input, which will help ensure the strategy will meet the needs of all Canadians. The full national strategy for financial literacy will be published in 2015.

Current consultations:

Phase 3: Strengthening the financial literacy of young and adult Canadians
This final phase of the consultations focuses on children, youth and adults, to gain insight on how they could benefit from strengthening their financial literacy. The Financial Literacy Leader invites discussion and comments on the consultation paper and ways to bolster financial literacy for young and adult Canadians. Comments are invited from all Canadians.

Please submit your comments by Wednesday, December 10, 2014.

Consultation paper: Toward a National Strategy for Financial Literacy, Phase 3: Young Canadians and Adults (PDF, 221 KB)
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Documents/YoungCanadiansAndAdultsEN.pdf

Consultation questions at a glance and how to submit comments
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Pages/ConsultQ3-Question3.aspx

---

Phase 2: Strengthening the financial literacy of priority groups
The Financial Literacy Leader invites comments on questions raised in the consultation paper on the financial literacy needs of priority groups, including low-income Canadians, Aboriginal peoples and newcomers. These comments will inform the development of the national strategy for financial literacy.

Please submit your comments by Wednesday, December 10, 2014.

Consultation paper: Toward a National Strategy for Financial Literacy, Phase 2: Priority Groups (PDF, 179 KB)
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Documents/PriorityGroupsEN.pdf

Consultation questions at a glance and how to submit comments
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Pages/ConsultQ-Question.aspx
The Financial Literacy Leader will meet with stakeholders that provide services to members of the priority groups in order to gather their expertise. The Task Force on Financial Literacy identified priority groups through analyzing the 2009 Canadian Financial Capability Survey. Other research has shown that the low-income population includes disproportionate numbers of people with disabilities, women and single adults.

---

Previous consultation (completed):

Phase 1:
Seniors’ financial literacy strategy: Strengthening Seniors’ Financial Literacy

Consultation paper: Toward a National Strategy for Financial Literacy, Phase 1: Strengthening Seniors’ Financial Literacy (PDF, 540 KB, 23 pages)
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Documents/seniors_financial_literacy_consultation.pdf

Photos: Consultations on Strengthening Seniors’ Financial Literacy
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/resources/multimedia/Pages/PhotoGal-Galeried.aspx#p1

Consultation submissions
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/financialLiteracyCanada/strategy/Pages/submissions-soumissions.aspx
- incl. links to 39 individual and group submissions.

---

- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (O-Z) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm

Minister Deb Matthews at Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference 2014 - November 3
(Ontario Nonprofit Network
)

Minister Deb Matthews at Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference 2014 (YouTube video, duration 16:37)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2gyiZRjmTk&spfreload=10
November 3, 2014
Ontario's Deputy Premier, the Honourable Deb Matthews, honoured the impact the nonprofit sector has on communities, and recognized funding challenges they face for sustainability. But she also challenged nonprofits to refocus on the outcomes for the people they're serving, not the organizations they work at. Her rousing remarks sparked lively discussions on how the nonprofit sector is- or isn't- getting proactive about changing times in the province, fiscally and more.

At the 7:22 point in the Minister's speech, she singles out and recognizes John Stapleton ("...a marvellous resource") for his work with her Ministry on the first AND the second Ontario poverty reduction strategies.

YAY --- well-deserved kudos, John!

Source:
Ontario Nonprofit Network

http://theonn.ca/
Organized in 2007, the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) is the convening network for the approximately 55,000 nonprofit organizations across Ontario. As a 7,000-strong provincial network, with a volunteer base of 300 sector leaders, ONN brings the diverse voices of the sector to government, funders and the business sector to create and influence systemic change.

Related link:

Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference 2014
http://theonn.ca/onn-conference-2014/
September 17-18, 2014
- incl. links to six videos from the conference

Low-income Canadians hit by banking frills
http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/11/03/lowincome_canadians_hit_by_banking_frills_roseman.html
Banks like to champion financial literacy in November. But their expensive products sold with high-pressure pitches can be a problem, not a solution.
By Ellen Roseman
November 3, 2014
(...)
John Stapleton works as a volunteer to educate low-income people about their finances. I did a presentation with him at the Toronto Reference Library, showcasing his work about retirement planning on a low income. He sent me a link to his new report (the next link below) based on the lessons learned giving a financial literacy course to marginalized people on behalf of Houselink Community Homes in Toronto.

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

Welcome to the Financial Mainstream?
The Hazards Facing Low Income People When Navigating the Financial World
(PDF - 7.2MB, 36 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/jsbb-report-FINAL_Hires-1-1.pdf
By John Stapleton for Houselink (with Max Wallace)
November 2014
In the winter of 2013/2014, Houselink Community Homes, an agency serving marginalized people with mental health issues, responded to a need they had observed over decades. They offered an eight-week financial literacy course for their members and staff.
(...)
The report has two purposes. The first is to document some of the lessons learned from conducting a financial literacy course on behalf of Houselink Community Homes over the winter of 2013/14. (...) The second purpose is to shine some light on issues we are often unaware of when we design financial literacy courses. Not all of these issues can be resolved by teaching yet more financial literacy.

Houselink Community Homes
http://www.houselink.on.ca/

---

Related links:

Retiring on a low income Toolkit (PDF - 1.1MB, 19 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/
By John Stapleton

WoodGreen Presentation:
Retiring on a Low Income:
Why it is Different….
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Retiring-on-a-Low-Incomejune11.pdf
By John Stapleton
June 11, 2014

Open Policy (John Stapleton's website/blog)
http://openpolicyontario.com/

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

Financial Literacy Month
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/financialLiteracy/initiativesProjects/flm/Pages/home-accueil.aspx
November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is proud to play a role in raising awareness and mobilizing organizations across Canada to take part. Financial literacy means having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.

Source:
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/Pages/home-accueil.aspx
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is an independent body working to protect and inform consumers of financial products and services. We were established in 2001 by the federal government to strengthen oversight of consumer issues and expand consumer education in the financial sector. In July 2010, FCAC was also tasked with the oversight of payment card network operators and their commercial practices.

NEW from
Social Planning Toronto:

SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
Election Edition

http://goo.gl/0Wbjvn
October 24, 2014

This issue:
* Election Fact Sheets
* SPT Candidate Survey
* My First Time Toronto
* Community Services Day – October 6
* Welcome to SPT! Staff Announcements
* Workers Action Centre Bowlathon – November 8

Earlier issues of SOUNDBITES
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#spt
- this link will take you to a section of the Ontario NGO Links page

SPT Member Organizations
http://socialplanningtoronto.org/about-us/member-organizations
- links to over 130 member organizations in Toronto, from ACCESS EMPLOYMENT to YWCA of Greater Toronto

Source:
Social Planning Toronto (SPT)

http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/
SPT 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.

Vital Signs Reports paint a stark picture of youth unemployment across Canada
http://rabble.ca/news/2014/10/vital-signs-reports-paint-stark-picture-youth-unemployment-across-canada
October 8, 2014
By Ella Bedard
Stability is not in the cards for Canadian workers, with young workers particularly affected, according to this year's Vital Signs Reports from the Community Foundations of Canada. The first Vital Signs was produced by the Toronto Community Foundation in 2001. It assembled local research and national data to paint a broad strokes picture of community health. Since its inception the Vitals project has expanded to include a total of 49 Canadian communities big and small, who have produced reports or are acting on findings from previous reports.

Source:
rabble.ca

http://rabble.ca

---

From
VitalSigns:

27 communities across Canada launch quality-of-life reports on October 7
http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/blog-387-27-communities-across-canada-launch-quality
(Ottawa, ON) Sept. 30, 2014 – Community foundations in 27 communities across Canada are releasing their Vital Signs 2014 reports on Tuesday, October 7. Vital Signs is an annual community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that provides a comprehensive look at how our communities are faring in key quality-of-life areas.

Local Reports:
http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/localreports
Here, you'll find links to all of the local reports released on October 7, 2014.
A total of 49 community foundations are involved in the Vital Signs program – either producing a report or acting on the findings of previous reports.
The communities releasing Vital Signs reports in 2014 are:

* British Columbia: Abbotsford, Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region, Golden, Nanaimo, Phoenix (Grand Forks), Shuswap, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, Victoria
* Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta, Southeastern Alberta
* Saskatchewan: Regina
* Manitoba: Winnipeg
* Ontario: Huronia (Simcoe County), Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Peterborough, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor
* Atlantic provinces: Fredericton, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia

Vital Signs
http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/home
Vital Signs is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada. Each Vital Signs report measures the vitality of its community in key areas, providing the community with critical information that can help set priorities and identify opportunities for action

Community Foundations of Canada
http://www.cfc-fcc.ca/

Taking the measure of Fat City: Ottawa affluent and troubled, report finds
http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/taking-the-measure-of-fat-city-ottawa-affluent-and-troubled-report-finds
By Elizabeth Payne
October 7, 2014
Life in Fat City is not always easy, a new report on Ottawa’s community well-being suggests. The report (to be released Tuesday October 7 at 10:30 am), called Bridging the Gap [ http://goo.gl/r1A4ZF ], notes that Ottawa, with a large percentage of public sector workers, has the highest median income of any municipality in Canada and enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates. But there is a dark side to the relative affluence. Low-income Ottawa residents spend more of their money on housing than people in other parts of the country, leaving less for necessities such as food and transportation. In addition, Ottawa has the lowest rate of “community belonging” in the province, suggesting a sense of isolation among many.

Source:
Ottawa Citizen

http://ottawacitizen.com/

Related links:

Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa (CHRC)
http://www.coalitionottawa.ca/
CHRC) is a network of multi-service, community-based health and resource centres, which recognizes the importance of responding to the diversity of needs within local communities and pays particular attention to those members of the community who are most vulnerable and at risk.

Community Health and WellBeing
http://communityhealthandwellbeing.org/
Our Vision : The best possible health and wellbeing for everyone living in Ontario

Community Health & Wellbeing is a project of the
Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC)
http://aohc.org/

Earlier report by the AOHC:

Measuring What Matters
How the Canadian Index of Wellbeing can improve quality of life in Ontario
http://issuu.com/aohc_acso/docs/2014-02-13_-_discussion-paper-final

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/

---

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

Money for nothing : What effect would guaranteed annual income have on employers? (PDF - 338K, 4 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Money-for-Nothing.pdf
By Liz Bernier
September 5, 2014

For most, earning an extra $10,000 or $15,000 per year sounds like a pretty good bonus. It sounds even better if it’s an income bump that’s earned not by slaving away nine-to-five but handed out — no strings attached — simply for being a Canadian. While it sounds like an impossible dream, it’s one potential incarnation of basic income. Also referred to as guaranteed annual income, basic income generally refers to the idea of an income supplement that’s not earned or tied to any specific activity, such as being employed. Numerous models of the idea have been proposed, some more drastic than others.

Source:
This article appeared in
Canadian HR Reporter
[ http://www.hrreporter.com/ ] on September 8, 2014.

Posted on Open Policy (John Stapleton's website):
http://openpolicyontario.com/

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/

---

Note regarding
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy:

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

Since May 2010, ALL links to content concerning poverty reduction strategies and campaigns have been moved to the above page from the individual provincial/territorial pages, including government and NGO links.

From
Social Planning Toronto et al.:

Toronto child poverty rate at ‘epidemic’ levels
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/08/27/toronto_child_poverty_rate_at_epidemic_levels.html
By Laurie Monsebraaten
August 27 2014
Toronto ties with Saint John, N.B., as the Canadian city with the highest child poverty rate, according to a new report being released Wednesday that charts the rate of child poverty in each of Toronto's 140 neighbourhoods.

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

---

Poverty in Toronto : Factsheet (PDF - 988K, 4 pages)
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Fact-Sheet-New-Poverty-Data-FINAL.pdf
NOTE : This four-page fact sheet visualizes new data on poverty in Toronto. The document has been jointly prepared by the Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Colour of Poverty - Colour of Change, Ontario Campaign 2000, and Social Planning Toronto.

A full report will be released in the fall.

Prepared jointly by the following groups:

Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto
http://www.povertyfreetoronto.org/

Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
http://www.torontocas.ca/

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
http://accessalliance.ca/community/advocacy/colourofpoverty

Ontario Campaign 2000
http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/

Northern Ontario has beautiful landscape but crushing poverty:
Survival in Ontario’s north requires ingenuity, endurance and a trace of subversion.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/27/northern_ontario_has_beautiful_landscape_but_crushing_poverty_goar.html
By Carol Goar
July 27, 2014
Carol Goar explores the many ways that there's a "gulf in understanding that exists between policy-makers at Queen’s Park and folks in northwestern Ontario." She offers several insights into the real cost of living in Northern Ontario, notably with respect to dysfunctional medical emergency ambulance policies and the impracticality of the Nutritious Food Basket in the far northern reaches of the province.

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

Social Assistance Rates Update (eff. July/August 2014)
Ontario Works (OW) & Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB)
http://goo.gl/FIzfsc
The Income Security Advocacy Centre has prepared a new rates sheet that shows changes in OW and ODSP rates and OCB.
The new rates will be in effect between July / August 2014 and Sept / Oct 2014.

---

Rates Sheet : OW & ODSP Rates and OCB amounts
as of July / August 2014
(Microsoft Word file - 99K, 2 pages)
http://sareview.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/OW-and-ODSP-rates-and-OCB-as-of-July-Aug-2014.doc

Version française du barème en vigueur en juillet et en août 2014 (fichier Word)
http://sareview.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/OW-and-ODSP-rates-and-OCB-as-of-July-Aug-2014-french.doc

Source:
Social Assistance Review
http://sareview.ca/

The SA Review website is an initiative of the
Income Security Advocacy Centre:
http://www.incomesecurity.org/

Guest Blog from Tess:
Without warning! How government can empty out a bank account and leave you with nothing
http://openpolicyontario.com/guest-blog-from-tess-without-warning-how-government-can-empty-out-a-bank-account-and-leave-you-with-nothing/
May 19, 2014
Wherein Tess learns that the National Student Loan Service Centre [ http://www.canlearn.ca/eng/index.shtml ] and Toronto Social Services [ http://goo.gl/0sdPZc ] don't talk much, and it's folks like her who are often in a financial bind as a result.
"Clearly, these two governmental systems (NSLSC, and TSS) were interacting in my family’s life in ways that were simply not working. However, rather than pointing blame toward one or the other player, I would like to outline a model of what effective support could have looked like for citizens in my situation..."

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

The Ontario general election took place on June 12, 2014.
Click the link below for a collection of 40+ resources.
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/politics_prov_terr.htm#on

From
Social Planning Toronto:

SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/2HyeXd
June 5, 2014
[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

In this issue:

Social Planning Toronto - Election 2014 Issues Sheets
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/reports/spt-launches-provincial-election-fact-sheets/
Topics : Arts - Child Care - Environment - Public Transit - Public Education - Post-Secondary Education - Public Space - Social Assistance - Good Jobs - Minimum Wage -
Migrant Workers - Newcomers - Affordable Housing Strategy - Creating Affordable Housing - Tenant Issues - Housing, Health and the Economy
---
Also in this issue:
* SPT Research and Policy Forum- Participatory Budgeting
* Film Screening: CRISIS OF DISTRUST
* SPT Membership
* News from our Partners
* Interesting Reads
* Worth Repeating

More issues of SOUNDBITES
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#spt
- this link will take you lower down on the page you're now reading

SPT Member Organizations
http://socialplanningtoronto.org/about-us/member-organizations
- links to over 130 member organizations in Toronto, from ACCESS EMPLOYMENT to YWCA of Greater Toronto

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/
For more than 50 years, SPT and its predecessor organizations have served as a vital voice for the non-profit community sector in Toronto – conducting research and supporting community mobilization that has made a real difference for our organizations, our communities, and the most vulnerable residents in our city.

10 Things to Know About the At Home/Chez Soi Study
http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2014/04/05/10-things-to-know-about-the-at-homechez-soi-study/
B
y Nick Falvo
April 5, 2014
On Tuesday, April 8, results of the Mental Health Commission of Canada‘s At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study will be released at an Ottawa press conference. The study followed more than 2,000 participants in five Canadian cities. All were homeless when the study began. Half of them received the Housing First intervention, and half of them did not. Data was collected from 2009 until 2013.

Here are 10 things you should know about this study.

1. It is one of the most ambitious randomized controlled trials in Canadian history.
2. Its $110 million budget was funded entirely by Health Canada.
3. The decision to fund it was made by the Harper government.
4. At least 30 separate studies will roll out of this project. More than a dozen have already been released.
5. For years to come, many researchers will be able to access raw data from the study for further analysis.
6. The results are being announced in a context of declining federal funding for homelessness. (After adjusting for inflation, annual federal funding for homelessness in 2014 represents just 35% of its 1999 level.)
7. As the study is being released, use of emergency shelters in Canada’s largest city has been on the rise.
8. The report is being released amid some evidence that Toronto shelter conditions have been worsening.
9. Canada’s Minister of State for Social Development is scheduled to attend the release of the study’s findings.
10. The “intervention” being studied (namely, the Housing First approach to homelessness) was explicitly endorsed in last October’s federal throne speech.
[NOTE : Click the link above for source info on each of the ten things you should know.]

More info:

At Home website
http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/initiatives-and-projects/home
At Home is a research demonstration
project on mental health and homelessness
undertaken by the
Mental Health Commission of Canada
http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/

---

Also by Nick Falvo:

Rising Homelessness in Toronto
http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2014/04/02/rising-homelessness/
By Nick Falvo
April 2, 2014
In 2010, I wrote a blog post [ http://goo.gl/aY9iOY ] in which I suggested that: a) the recession of 2008-2009 would bring on increased homelessness; and b) there would be a lag effect of roughly three to five years. Indeed, I suggested that it would not be until 2014 until the full effect of the recession is seen in terms of homeless numbers.

Recent data from the City of Toronto appear to lend support to my prediction.

Source of these blog posts:
Progressive Economics Forum
http://www.progressive-economics.ca

---

Related links:

Toronto shelter census:
daily (current) and monthly (back to January 2011)

http://goo.gl/cEQ8j8
- incl. links to City of Toronto Daily Shelter Census figures (updated daily) as well as average nightly occupancy in city-owned permanent emergency shelters by month from January 2011 to March 2014.

Source of the shelter figures:
City of Toronto Housing and Homelessness Services
http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=c0aeab2cedfb0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

---

- Go to the Homelessness and Housing Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/homeless.htm

A story of two poor seniors: Linda and Doris are the highest taxed people in Ontario
http://openpolicyontario.com/a-story-of-two-poor-seniors-linda-and-doris-are-the-highest-taxed-people-in-ontario/
By John Stapleton
January 21, 2014
[Revised January 25, 2014]
In this article, John Stapleton presents case profiles of two individuals who are living in poverty in Ontario --- one who is receiving financial assistance under the Ontario Disability Support Program and about to turn 65 (thereby qualifying her for the Old Age Security pension), and the other who works at a fast food chain 24 hours a week at minimum wage. The point of John's article is to demonstrate, in each of the above scenarios, that the poor person's Marginal Effective Tax Rate (or METR, the combined effect on a person's earnings of income tax and the withdrawal of means testing of state welfare benefits) exceeds by far the METR of individuals with higher incomes. Read John's blog for all the detail...

"Mirror mirror on the wall: who is the highest taxed of all?
Bet you didn’t know it was our poorest seniors."

Source:
Open Policy - John Stapleton's website

http://openpolicyontario.com/

More content from John Stapleton's werbsite/blog:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#open_policy
This link takes you further down on the page you're now reading.

Raise the Minimum wage to $21.90 an hour? Just like 100 years ago…
http://openpolicyontario.com/raise-the-minimum-wage-to-21-90-an-hour-just-like-100-years-ago/
By John Stapleton
December 29, 2013
(...)
On January 5, 1914, Henry Ford called reporters to the Ford Plant in Dearborn Michigan to hear an important announcement. He said: “The Ford Motor Company, the greatest and most successful automobile manufacturing company in the world, will, on January 12, inaugurate the greatest revolution in the matter of rewards for its workers ever known in the industrial world.”

He explained the details: not only would the plant switch from two nine-hour shifts to three eight-hour ones, allowing it to run around the clock, but each man over 22 would receive the minimum wage of $5 a day, and men under 22 would qualify if they had dependants. “The commonest labourer who sweeps the floor shall receive his $5 per day,” Ford told the reporters. We believe in making 20,000 men prosperous and contented rather than follow the plan of making a few slave drivers in our establishment millionaires.”

Henry Ford had, in effect, breathed life into the new social policy of the minimum wage.
(...)
Ford’s 114% increase in base wages in 1914 is the rough equivalent of an increase of Ontario’s $10.25 minimum wage to $21.90 an hour.
One hundred year celebrations are usually big deals when people indulge grand dreams yet for most, a $21.90 an hour minimum wage is unthinkable. But let’s not squelch grand dreams. Let’s remember that 100 years ago, the unthinkable was implemented.

Source:
Open Policy Ontario
- John Stapleton's website
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Poverty reduction key to fairer, more prosperous Ontario
For moral and economic reasons, it's essential that Ontario continue its bold work to reduce poverty across the province.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/04/poverty_reduction_key_to_fairer_more_prosperous_ontario.html
By Sarah Blackstock Greg deGroot-Maggetti
December 4, 2013
Five years ago this week, the Ontario government embarked on a bold and historic challenge to reduce child and family poverty across our province by 25 per cent by 2013. While it appears Ontario will fall short of its “25 in 5” target, the province has made some progress and laid three critical building blocks that should provide the foundation for its next five-year strategy, expected in early 2014.

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

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

When good advice goes bad
http://imagineacity.ca/2013/11/22/when-good-advice-goes-bad/
November 22, 2013
By Adrienne Clarke
This week, Imagine a City is joined by guest blogger John Stapleton, founder of Open Policy Ontario [ http://openpolicyontario.com/ ] and a fellow with the Metcalf Foundation [ http://metcalffoundation.com/ ] . He has some much-needed financial advice for low-income earners, just in time for Financial Literacy Month. Here, he provides a rundown of what low-income earners really need to know, and how the financial-services industry can serve them better.
---
Excerpt:
When assisting low-income people, for instance, many advisors will tell them to max out their RRSPs, forget about Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), and wait until 65 or later to sign up for Canada Pension. They’ll also be advised to look closely at their taxes to capitalize on tax credits.This is the same advice given (rightfully) to middle- and high-income earners, but for people making ends meet on lower incomes, it’s exactly wrong.

Source:
Imagineacity

http://imagineacity.ca/

Imagineacity is an initiative of the
United Way of Toronto
http://imagineacity.ca/

For more about RRSPs and TFSAs for people in poverty,
see John's comprehensive report:
Planning for Retirement on a Low Income
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/

---

- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (O-Z) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm

- Go to the Seniors (Social Research) Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/seniors.htm

NOTE (by Gilles):
The following blog posting from John Stapleton isn't about social policy as such, but it's an interesting examination of the unwritten rules of conduct vs zero-tolerance policies for (a) drivers on the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, (b) three disgraced Harper Senators and (c) the disgraced Mayor of Canada's largest city.

---

When zero-tolerance prevails: very fast drivers, three Senators, and Toronto’s mayor
http://openpolicyontario.com/when-zero-tolerance-prevails-very-fast-drivers-three-senators-and-torontos-mayor/
November 17, 2013
By John Stapleton
(...)
The likelihood of (unenforced) zero tolerance rules being enforced increases with public visibility and admission of a rule infraction that can be made subject to zero tolerance. The unwritten rule of conventional conduct becomes defunct and zero tolerance prevails.

Source:
Open Policy : John Stapleton's website

http://openpolicyontario.com/

NEW


ONESTEP
The Ontario Network of Employment Skills Training Projects (ONESTEP) is a province-wide umbrella organization for the community-based training and employment (CBET) sector. More than 450 programs are provided by our member agencies, with over 250,000 clients served each year. Services include but are not limited to: career and personal counselling; literacy, ESL and numeracy programs; job-finding clubs; computer courses; sector-specific training (finances, tourism, healthcare) and job placement.

Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
"...a voluntary coalition of individuals and community organizations who have united to secure the passage in Ontario of a new law which would achieve a barrier-free society for persons with disabilities."
-
Ontario Government's New ODA Bill 125 Index page - updated to September 30, 2002
- O.D.A. Major Documents in Chronological Order - links to almost a hundred documents related to the ODA...

Will today's new Ontario Disabilities law achieve
a barrier-free Ontario for 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities?

News Release
ODA Committee
September 30, 2002


Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
http://www.oafb.ca/
The OAFB is a network of 125 direct member food banks and over 1,100 affiliate hunger-relief programs and agencies across the province, including breakfast clubs, school meal programs, community food centres, community kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters, and seniors centres.

Selected reports:

2014 OAFB Hunger Report
http://www.oafb.ca/hungerreport2014
News Release
December 1, 2014, Toronto, ON - The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) released its 2014 Hunger Report today, revealing that almost 375,000 individuals - more than one third children - are turning to food banks each month. This year's report also finds a 20 per cent spike in first time use and illustrates some surprising statistics about who is going hungry, and why poverty and hunger numbers haven't dipped since the 2008 recession.

OAFB Hunger Report 2014:
Going hungry to pay the bills : the root causes
behind the pervasive cycle of hunger in Ontario
(PDF - 4.2MB, 19 pages):
http://www.oafb.ca/tiny_mce/plugins/filemanager/pics_cms/97/297/OAFB__Hunger_Report_Dec._1_2014.pdf

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

2013 Hunger Report Reveals 375,000 Rely on Food Banks Each Month (small PDF file)
http://www.oafb.ca/tiny_mce/plugins/filemanager/pics_cms/49/249/OAFB_Hunger_Report_2013_News_Release_FINAL_Dec_2-13-1.pdf
Press Release
December 2, 2013
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) 2013 Hunger Report, released today, reveals that 375,000 Ontarians rely on food banks each month. The comprehensive annual report also sheds light on some surprising statistics about who uses food banks and how those users are being helped by the wide range of community services offered by community food banks across the province.

Complete report:

Hunger Report 2013: A comprehensive report on
hunger and food bank use in Ontario and recommendations for change
(PDF - 1.2MB, 16 pages)
http://www.oafb.ca/tiny_mce/plugins/filemanager/pics_cms/55/255/Hunger_Report_-_Final.pdf
By Amanda King and Erin Fotheringham
Highlights and Rising Trends
- More than 375,000 Ontarians to turn to food banks every month. That accounts for 2.8 per cent of the province’s population, making Ontario the most intensive user of food bank services in Canada.
- 45 per cent of all people who use food banks in Canada live in Ontario.
- This past year, 35 per cent of those served by food banks in Ontario were children under 18 years old.
- One of the fastest growing groups of food bank users is post-secondary students at 3.7 per cent. This rising trend is seen particularly in rural communities (up from 0.2 per cent to 1.2 per cent in one year).

Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
http://www.oafb.ca/
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 127 food banks, and over 1,100 hunger-relief agencies, across Ontario. This includes: breakfast clubs, school meal programs, community kitchens, emergency shelters, and senior centres. Together, they serve 375,000 individuals every single month.

---

The OAFB is calling all Ontarians to support their local food bank and help spread the word about the face of hunger.
Visit Ontario Hunger [ http://ontariohunger.com/ ] for an infographic explaining this year’s findings and how to donate to the cause.

---

Related link:

Food bank use near record level in Ontario, report says
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/food-bank-use-near-record-level-in-ontario-report-says-1.2447361
2013 Hunger Report says that 375,789 people visited food banks in the month of March
December 2, 2013

Source:
CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news
/

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

Ontario food bank use down slightly in 2011, but on the rise again
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1148851
March 19, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
A slight dip in food-bank use across the province in 2011 may be short-lived, says the Ontario Association of Food Banks. Although the number of food-bank users in March 2011 was down slightly from March 2010, food banks collecting data this month for next year’s report say demand is up again, the association said. (...) Amid steady increases since the 2008 recession, 395,000 Ontarians were forced to rely on food banks in March last year, according to the association’s latest report released Monday. That is down from a record of 402,000 in March 2010. (...) Single adults remain the largest percentage of users, at 39 per cent, followed closely by children younger than 18. They are among almost one in 33 Ontarians who go hungry each month, the report says. Expected cuts to provincial and federal budgets later this month may make the situation even worse, the association said.

From the
Ontario Association of Food Banks
:

Combating Hunger : A Snapshot of Hunger in Ontario in 2011 (PDF - 976K, 9 pages)
http://oafb.ca/assets/pdfs/OAFB_CombatingHunger2011.pdf
December 2011

Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks
http://www.oafb.ca/
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of 20 regional food banks and over 100 community food banks representing over 1,100 hunger relief programs across the province, from Windsor to Ottawa, and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay, working towards a hunger-free Ontario.

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

From the Look-what-I-found file:

OAFB's 2011 Election Ontario Priorities
The 2011 Ontario Provincial Election takes place on October 6th, 2011!
We need the Ontario government to address the root causes of hunger, and implement long-term sustainable solutions that will end hunger in our province and make food banks unnecessary!
Our top three issues and recommendations
to this year's provincial party candidates
:
We respectfully request your party to take action on the following three issues to help make fighting hunger in Ontario a priority:
Issue #1 – Food Bank Donation Tax Credit for Farmers
Issue #2 – Housing Benefit for Low-Income Tenants
Issue #3 – Access to Affordable, Nutritious Food

Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 100 food banks from Windsor to Ottawa, and Thunder Bay to Niagara Falls. Since 1992, we have been committed to reducing hunger across the province

---

A Gathering Storm: The Price of Food, Gasoline, and Energy,
and Changing Economic Conditions in Ontario, 2008
(PDF - 1.2MB, 24 pages)

We can end hunger. Think about it.
Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks

Related links:

The OSAP diet and the student lifestyle
Just how well should students expect to live while in school?
By Jeff Rybak
March 8, 2010
Okay, I’ll be the one to say it. I have no problem at all with the “OSAP Diet” as exposed by the Toronto Star. Apparently students funding their studies entirely on government loans are expected to survive on $7.50/day for food. And my reaction, mainly, is a big “so what?”
(...)
Source:
Macleans OnCampus

---

$7.50 a day is all you get on the student OSAP diet
By Louise Brown
March 7, 2009
Source:
Toronto Star
NOTE: Don't forget to click the "Comments" link at the top of the article to access 100+ reactions.
The most pathetic comments are the well-intentioned food shopping suggestions from frugal shoppers (Tsubouchi Tuna, anyone?).
The commenter who said "My family of 5 lives on about $4 per day for food" should be summarily dispatched to the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) to help them re-draft their food cost reports. Case studies in a 2008 OAFB study (see the link below) show that the cost of healthy food purchased from the grocery store was almost $40 per week for a single person and, for a family of two adults and a 7-year-old child, $85 weekly. Maybe the commenter's "family of five" consisted of one adult and four cats. Curiously, though, the $40/wk. amount for a healthy diet for a single person would actually leave $12.50 in the OSAP student's pocket at the end of each week.

---

In the Midst of the Storm:
The Impact of the Economic Downturn for Ontario's Food Banks
(PDF - 2.9MB, 16 pages)
October 2009
(...) There can be no doubt that Ontario’s food banks are struggling to respond to the collateral damage caused by the global economic downturn. The challenge of hunger was already staggering before we were hit by the Great Recession: hundreds of thousands of our neighbours were turning to food banks. We are now faced with an even greater challenge: tens of thousands more Ontarians are turning to us for support, and many food banks are faced with a decline in donations.

---

Recession budget needs to fight poverty : report
Press Release
March 12, 2009
Toronto - Recession could push Ontario’s poverty rate up by four per cent in 2010 if the provincial government does not make key investments in this month’s stimulus budget, says a report released by the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB). Fighting Poverty: The Best Way to Beat the Recession proves that the provincial government must make strategic investments in social infrastructure, such as affordable housing and income supports, for the poorest Ontarians in order to stimulate the economy and contain poverty rates.

Complete report:

Fighting Poverty: The Best Way to Beat the Recession (PDF - 587K, 20 pages)
March 2009

Ontario Hunger Report 2008: The Leading Edge of the Storm (PDF - 2MB, 24 pages)
December 2008

The Cost of Poverty: An Analysis of
the Economic Cost of Poverty in Ontario
(PDF - 1.3MB, 36 pages)
November 2008

Related link:

'Paycheque to paycheque,' five kids to feed
500,000 in Ontario facing poverty without budget help, report finds

March 12, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Toronto construction worker Mark Merner has been struggling to support his young family since his hours were slashed in half last fall. And he's worried it could get worse. "The construction industry is really slowing down and I've been told there might not be much work this summer," says the father of five children age 5 and younger, including a baby and a set of twins. The Merners are among about 500,000 Ontarians who will be driven into poverty by the recession unless this month's provincial budget boosts incomes and expands programs that support low-income families, says a report by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.
Source:
The Toronto Star

---

The Cost of Poverty: An Analysis of
the Economic Cost of Poverty in Ontario
(PDF - 1.3MB, 36 pages)
November 2008
By Nathan Laurie
Key Facts:
* Poverty disproportionately affects certain populations, and has a complex mix of institutional and individual causes.
* Poverty has a price tag for all Ontarians.
* The cost of poverty is reflected in remedial, intergenerational, and opportunity costs.
* Reducing poverty with targeted policies and investments over the life course generates an economic return. This return is equal to a proportion of the assessed cost of poverty.

Related link:

Everyone pays the province's $38 billion cost
Toll of health care, crime, social assistance $2,900 per household, economic analysis finds
November 20, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Poverty costs Ontario a staggering $38 billion a year – and we all pay the price, says a new report that offers the first-ever analysis of the problem's economic impact on everyone. Although the province's 905,000 poorest households bear the brunt of the cost, everyone feels the pinch, says the report written by a group of leading economic and public policy experts to be released at Queen's Park today.
Source:
Toronto Star

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

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

Food banks warn of `growing storm'
Government must act as prices rise, report says
June 26, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Ontario's weakening economy coupled with the rising cost of food, fuel and energy should be a "wake-up call" to action on poverty reduction in both Ottawa and at Queen's Park, say the province's food banks. The federal government must increase employment insurance benefits and expand eligibility for Ontarians, where currently just 27 per cent of unemployed workers qualify, says the report to be released today by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

Complete report:

A Gathering Storm: The Price of Food, Gasoline, and Energy,
and Changing Economic Conditions in Ontario, 2008
(PDF - 1.2MB, 24 pages)

Source:
Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
We unite over 100 communities across Ontario in a network of food banks from Windsor to Ottawa and Thunder Bay to Niagara Falls to relieve hunger.

Ontario Association for Community Living (OACL)- includes a plethora of position papers and briefs to the Ontario government; this is a must-see site.

OACL Presentation to Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services (March 1998)
In this all-encompassing brief to Hon. Janet Ecker, OACL addresses reinvestment needs in areas such as aging families, individualized funding, the Special Services at Home program, the Ministry's restructuring efforts ("Making Services Work for People"), Individual Service Agreements (ISAs), Levels of Support (LOS), social assistance reform, deinstitutionalization, education. OACL also identified several immediate service delivery cost issues, such as escalating rates for workers compensation, pay equity shortfalls, etc.

Response to Bill 142 (Social Assistance Reform Act) - Submission by the Ontario Association for Community Living to the Standing Committee on Social Development

Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres (OAYEC)
OAYEC is a non-profit, charitable organization providing supportive services to a network of 50+ youth employment counselling centres across Ontario.

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.

Short History of OCAP - by John Clarke (Nov 9, 2001)

Selected site content:

CUPE & OCAP seek 55% boost in social assistance
'Would help people recover from 18 years of declining income from the Harris-McGuinty cuts'

http://www.thebulletin.ca/cbulletin/content.jsp?ctid=1000006&cnid=1003406
By David Robbins
April 12, 2013
Anti-poverty activists visited the office of Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa today to bring him and Premier Kathleen Wynne a message: raise social assistance rates by 55% in the 2013 budget. "Today we're handing Charles Sousa a bill for real social justice in Ontario," says Liisa Schofield of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). "It's time the Liberal government took social justice seriously and accounted for the amount past due to those who have been unjustly denied."

Raising social assistance rates by 55% would help people recover from 18 years of declining income from the Harris-McGuinty cuts, said Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, the chair of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) Ontario's Social Services Workers' Coordinating Committee.

Source:
The Bulletin --- Journal of Downtown Toronto
http://www.thebulletin.ca/

Related links:

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
http://cupe.ca/
CUPE is Canada's largest union.
With 627,000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
http://www.ocap.ca/
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.

---

From the
Toronto Star:

A more moderate OCAP? Probably not.
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/06/a_more_moderate_ocap_probably_not.html
A recent peaceful action by the anti-poverty group was lauded by police. But that doesn’t mean they’re abandoning crisis tactics.
By Katie Daubs
March 6 2013
When OCAP members occupied city hall in February to demand more shelter space, a security guard removed a garbage can before police arrived.
Perhaps it was nightly routine. Maybe it was projectile management. But nothing flew that night, save for chants and slogans. Police waited for Ontario Coalition Against Poverty organizer John Clarke to finish speaking with the media before they arrested him. Then, police lauded OCAP for their cooperation. It was all so cordial. But this is not a new conciliatory era for a group whose name has become synonymous with disruptive tactics on behalf of the poor, homeless and vulnerable.

Source:
Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/

---

Who will push for Ontario’s poor?
http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/article/916312
By Peter Graefe
Apr11, 2013
Will Kathleen Wynne step up on poverty? Will Andrea Howarth make her?
Budgets are about putting money where your mouth is.
Since becoming Premier, Kathleen Wynne has made a priority of fixing Ontario’s social assistance system. She has the blueprint of the recent Commission for the Review of Social Assistance at hand. Compared to Andrea Horwath, who seems to think auto insurance rates are more important than poverty, she has her mouth in the right place. But can she deliver the money?

Source:
Hamilton Spectator

http://www.thespec.com/

---

City Moves to Sell-Off Toronto Community Housing:
Ford will destroy public housing unless we stop him!
June 14, 2011
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.

Related link:

How the mayor can keep a roof over TCHC’s head
June 19, 2011
By Nick Falvo
Mayor Rob Ford recently backtracked on a crucial issue. First, he threatened to use revenue from the sale of public housing units to balance the city’s budget. Twenty-four hours later, he flip-flopped and agreed that the revenue should be used to fix Toronto’s existing social housing stock (as originally promised). Ford’s about-face speaks to the real-life nightmare that would ensue if important repairs were not made to existing public housing units. It also speaks to the power of advocates who are both glaringly aware of what those nightmares would look like, and are prepared to fight tooth and nail for social housing. (...) Rent in most parts of Canada — especially in large cities — is out of reach for a substantial portion of households. Today in Toronto, average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is more than $1,100 a month. Yet the maximum shelter allowance that a single adult with one child receives on social assistance is just $578 a month.
Source:
Toronto Star

---

Austerity, Resistance and the Poor
April 1, 2011
By John Clarke
On April 1, the Dalton McGuinty government, will introduce a new version of the Special Diet benefit for those on Social Assistance. (...) The new system will be much more restrictive than the present one, with enhanced mechanisms of scrutiny and enforcement. All who presently receive the Special Diet will have to re-apply under the Austerity, Resistance and the Poor
April 1, 2011
By John Clarke
On April 1, the Dalton McGuinty government, will introduce a new version of the Special Diet benefit for those on Social Assistance. (...) The new system will be much more restrictive than the present one, with enhanced mechanisms of scrutiny and enforcement. All who presently receive the Special Diet will have to re-apply under the new set up. (...) At noon on April 1, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and its supporters will be rallying in Toronto City Hall Square and marching on the provincial government – Queen's Park. We will be confronting a social cutback of massive dimensions. Welfare and disability rates in Ontario have lost 55 per cent of their spending power since 1994.

Source:
E-Bulletin No. 484
[ The Bullet ]
Socialist Project

---

Related link:

Activist Communique: OCAP defends the Special Diet
By Krystalline Kraus
April 3, 2011
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) was joined by its allies at a Raise the Rates rally at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday at noon -- on the day that cuts to the Ontario Special Diet program were set to take effect. At issue was the recent cut and re-invention of the Special Diet supplement that was announced in Ontario Premier McGuinty's 2010 budget.
Source:
rabble.ca

---

Driving the Poor Deeper Into Poverty:
The Province and the City of Toronto
Team up to Attack the Special Diet

March 19, 2010
By Liisa Schofield and John Clarke
Since 2005, a large part of OCAP's (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) work has involved organizing to obtain and defend access to a benefit known as the Special Diet Allowance (SDA). Under this, people living on the Province's sub poverty social assistance system who obtain the appropriate diagnoses from a medical provider, can receive up to an additional $250 a month for food. Access to the Special Diet has had to be fought for tooth and nail. Medical providers interested in helping poor people access this benefit are few and far between. (...)
As this is being written, the prospect that the Liberals will use their upcoming Budget to abolish the Special Diet outright is looming very large (see our submission to the pre-budget ‘consultations’ - Feb. 3, 2010).
[ Liisa Schofield and John Clarke are organizers with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. ]
Source:
E-Bulletin No. 329
[ The Bullet Socialist Project ]
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.

Related link:

Raise the Rates: The Vital Struggle Against
Ontario's Sub-Poverty Welfare System

By John Clarke
August 22, 2008
A drastic reduction in the adequacy of income support payments is key to the neoliberal agenda. (...) The Toronto Relief Committee (TDRC), a working committee of union activists, social agency representatives and community organizers is planning for a September rally at the Ontario legislature. Demands will focus on social assistance rates, the minimum wage and housing.
Source:
The Socialist Project
John Clarke, author of the above article, is with 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 ]

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

Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care was founded in 1981 with a mandate to advocate for the development of high quality, non-profit child care services in the province of Ontario. The organization includes representatives from: education, health care, labour, child-welfare, injury prevention, rural, First Nation, Francophone, social policy, anti poverty, professional, student and women’s organizations. In addition, we serve community based child care programs and 15 local coalitions across the province.

Child Care Still a Patchwork of Underfunded Programs
5 July 07
The Ontario government today accounted for how it is spending $142.5 million in previously announced child care funds. The allocations mean that existing child care programs will have the funding to keep current spaces open for Ontario children and families, but does not expand the child care system.

Child care community welcomes new funding - first of its kind for years!
News release
January 8,
2004
"
Yesterday Minister Bountrogianni announced that this year's federal Multi-lateral Framework money - 9.7 million dollars - will go to non-profit, regulated, child care centres for capital repairs and upgrades. This is the first announcement of new funding for child care in Ontario for some time and is welcomed by the child care community. It meets an important need and is an encouraging sign that the new Liberal government recognizes the value of not-for-profit and regulated care.

Related Link:

McGuinty Government Investing in Early Childhood Development
Premier Encourages Ontarians To Help Tackle The Deficit And Set Goals

News Release
January 19, 2004
"Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today said that his government is committed to improving important services like early childhood development and that strengthening the province's fiscal foundation will make it possible to deliver real, positive change. 'After years of neglect, our government is repairing the foundation for child care because we believe the early years are crucial to a child's future success', said Premier McGuinty. (...) 'The government is making $9.7 million in federal funds available to child care centres throughout the province (...) There's so much more we want to do -- and that's why we're working hard to tackle the $5.6 billion deficit that we've inherited from the previous government. It's an obstacle to the change Ontarians want and need.'"

Source:
Office of the Premier

See also the Canadian Social Research Links Early Childhood Development Links page

Ontario Coalition for Social Justice
"The Ontario Coalition for Social Justice is a coalition of provincial and national groups promoting social and economic justice in Ontario.
The OCSJ is committed to:
- expanding the quality, accessibility and universality of health care, education and social welfare programmes
- promoting anti-racism
- advocating economic policies that protect the rights of workers and lead to fair employment with compensation at a liveable wage
- protecting the programmes and services that ensure our quality of life in Ontario.
"

- incl. links to : Media Releases - Campaigns - Resources - Newsletter & E-bulletin - Our Network - Become a Member - About Us

Economists Support Welfare:
Over 75 economists endorse raising the minimum wage and social assistance rates

Media Release
Posted May 14, 2004
Endorsement by Ontario economists and labour policy experts of improvements to Ontario's minimum wages and income security programs.

 

Ontario Common Front ("We Are Ontario")
http://www.weareontario.ca/
We Are Ontario.ca is a labour and community-based campaign launched by the Ontario Federation of Labour and other labour and community organizations representing millions of Ontarians. Together, we represent the majority of Ontarians and who oppose government attempts to balance their budgets on the back’s of poor and middle class Ontarians.

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/
We Are Ontario.ca is a labour and community-based campaign launched by the Ontario Federation of Labour and other labour and community organizations representing millions of Ontarians. Together, we represent the majority of Ontarians and who oppose government attempts to balance their budgets on the back’s of poor and middle class Ontarians.

Join the Ontario Common Front on Facebook:
[ http://www.facebook.com/OntarioCommonFront ]
...and share the page with your friends, coworkers and community allies.

Ontario Federation of Labour
http://ofl.ca/

---

Media coverage
from the Toronto Star:

Ontario worst province in terms of inequality, poverty and funding for public services
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1248577
August 29, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Ontario is dead last in Canada when it comes to growing poverty, increasing income inequality and financial support for public services, says a coalition of labour and community groups formed last spring to oppose the province’s austerity budget.
The report by the Ontario Common Front being released at Queen’s Park Wednesday, aims to inform Ontarians about the social and economic issues at stake as the province begins drafting next spring’s budget, the group says. It is a sobering backdrop to the ongoing dispute between the Liberals and the province’s teachers who are facing a legislated two-year wage freeze, they add. “It is time for Ontarians — including our policy makers — to face the disturbing facts about inequality in our province,” says the report entitled, “Falling Behind: Ontario’s backslide into widening inequality, growing poverty and cuts to social programs.”

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

ODSP Action Coalition
The ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program] Action Coalition is made up of community clinic caseworkers, agency staff, and community activists. We undertake campaigns and activities designed to raise awareness of issues affecting persons in receipt of Ontario Disability Support Program benefits. The ODSP Action Coalition was formed in 2002 as a coalition of lawyers, community workers and consumers. The coalition is leading the campaign to document and publicize problems with ODSP and has engaged in lobbying and advocacy to encourage solutions to those problems.
- incl. links to: * About Us * Campaigns * Resources * Coalition Activities * Help for Recipients * Links * Contact Us

---

Selected site content:

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
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

---

"Stupid Rules" Create Dire Consequences
January 28, 2010
The Coalition had an opportunity to meet with members of the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC) in late January, and to present them with a list of quick changes that could be made to some of the "stupid rules" in ODSP. This Council was recently appointed by the government to give advice on two things: some "quick fix" changes to counterproductive rules, and the mandate and scope of a more comprehensive social assistance review to be carried out later this year.

Related link:

A Proposal for ODSP Rule Changes (Word file - 127K, 16 pages)
The ODSP Action Coalition is made up of community clinic caseworkers, agency staff, and community activists. We undertake campaigns and activities designed to raise awareness of issues affecting persons in receipt of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits.

---

Endorse the Disability Declaration
October 6, 2009
The ODSP Action Coalition is requesting individuals and groups to endorse our Disability Declaration. The Declaration sets out some of the rights that people with disabilities have according to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and then states what changes the Ontario government needs to make to ODSP to fulfill those rights. Although Canada has not yet ratified the Convention, the Coalition believes it is important for people with disabilities and organizations that work with them to use it in articulating how and why their needs must be met.

Ontario Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage
http://raisetheminimumwage.ca/
The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage was launched in March 2013, with communities across Ontario demanding the government break the freeze [in the minimum wage]. Creative actions and rallies took place in 14 cities with local community groups and activists delivering our message to local MPP’s and Ministry of Labour offices.
The Ontario government has said that it will have a panel study minimum wages.
But Ontarians can’t wait for another commission.
We need a raise now.
Take Action! Help organize for a minimum wage increase in your community

Ontario Federation of Labour

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

Ontario Health Coalition - Campaign to Save Medicare

Ontario Health Coalition Report Paints Disturbing Picture of Ontario’s Privatized Long Term Care
Ontario Health Coalition
Media Release - May 27, 2002
Source : DAWN DisAbled Women's Network - Ontario

Ownership Matters: Lessons from Ontario's Long-Term Care Facilities
"On May 27, 2002 the Ontario Health Coalition released Ownership Matters: Lessons from Ontario's Long-Term Care Facilities. This is a report prepared for the Hospital Employees' Union of British Columbia by the OHC which examines the effect of the Ontario Tory government's privatization of Long Term Care on the quality of care and patients."
Complete report (25 printed pages)
Boomers beware* - this report contains some disturbing information for those of us who will be unfortunate enough to require care in a long term care facility in Ontario in our waning years. Here's a short list of the findings contained in the report :
"- Ontarians in long term care facilities receive extremely low levels of service compared to other jurisdictions.
- Ontarians in long term care facilities are among the oldest and the sickest but receive the least therapy, rehabilitation and nursing care.
- Basic accommodation costs in Ontario' s long term care facilities are among the highest in the country.
- Staff workloads, overtime and accident and injury rates are on the increase.
- Minimum standards and facility inspections have decreased in the last half decade.
- The "second tier" - percentage of beds held for residents who pay a surcharge - has increased while the percentage of beds held for those who can' t afford the premium rates has decreased.
- Connections between government and private owner/operators are unprecedented."
(*not just Ontario boomers either...)

[Gilles' comment:] My own mother had a stroke in the fall of 1995, leaving her paralysed on her left side and with some cognitive difficulties. I don't have any cognitive difficulties, however, and I've seen the steady erosion of the quality of care in the three long term care facilities where my mother has lived since then. Reduced levels of care, downsizing, lack of adequate training for new staff, morale problems, more residents suffering from depression, and, oh, yeah --- increasing demand. In April 1998, the Ontario government announced a $1 billion investment to create 20,000 new long-term care beds across the province. Read the report to find out why this turns out to be a building bonanza for the private sector.("The corporations that helped to bring the Conservatives to power were eager to capitalize on that desperation. It now seems they'll been given their chance - at the taxpayer's expense.")

Ontario Medical Association

Poverty makes Ontario sick
August 5, 2008
Economic inequality translates into limited access to health-care for province's poor
Source:
The Toronto Star

NOTE: The co-authors of this article, Dr. Michael Rachlis, Dr. Gary Bloch and Dr. Itamar Tamari,
were also involved in writing the following series of three articles in the May 2008 issue of the Ontario Medical Review:

Poverty and Health: article series
The Ontario Physicians Poverty Work Group has prepared a series of articles that provide physicians with an overview of the issues related to poverty and health, indicators and resources that can be used in practice, along with strategies to help mitigate the health effects of poverty in individual patients and communities.

* Part 1: Why poverty makes us sick (PDF - 157K, 6 pages)

* Part 2: Identifying poverty in your practice and community (PDF - 143K, 5 pages)

* Part 3: Strategies for physicians to mitigate the health effects of poverty (PDF - 2MB, 5 pages)

Source:
Ontario Medical Review • May 2008 issue
[ Ontario Medical Association ]

Related link:

Doctors Point to Poverty as Major Cause of Illness
New report shows how poverty impacts health and what doctors can do to
help address this growing health-care crisis
TORONTO, July 29 /CNW/ - A new report by a group of Ontario doctors highlights the ways in which poverty affects the health outcomes of adults and children and the role health-care professionals can play in reducing the impact of poverty on people's health. The report, "Why poverty makes us sick," authored by The Ontario Physicians Poverty Work Group, reveals that poverty substantially raises the rate of chronic illness, infant mortality and lowers life expectancy.
Source:
CNW Group (formerly Canada Newswire)


Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA)
OMSSA is a non-profit municipal social services association formed in 1950 to collect and share information on social services and to provide professional development and consulting services.

Selected site content:


60 Years of Income Security & Work:
What the ‘Big Picture’ & ‘Long Files’ Reveal
(PDF - 909K, 31 pages) *
By John Stapleton for the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association
June 8, 2010
Contents:
• The Big Picture: income programs and jobs
• The long file and the ‘great megatrend’
• The last three big recessions
• Profound Caseload change
• Assets over time
• Social assistance and Minimum wages
• The Welfare diet
• Some tentative conclusions

*NOTE : The link above takes you to a 31-page Powerpoint presentation in a PDF file that I found quite accidentally while doing a Google search.
We all know how cryptic a Powerpoint presentation can be for anyone who wasn't there to hear the presenter expanding on his or her speaking points...

BUT:

The presentation also contains 19 charts, mostly for Ontario only, including some contextual and historical information that you won't find anywhere else, e.g.:
* Income security expenditures by program, Ontario (2008-09)
* Income security expenditures by target recipient, Ontario (2008-09)
* Income security expenditures by level of government and source, Ontario (2008-09)
* Monthly social assistance benefits (single person + single parent with one child), Ontario - 1935 to 2010

Ontario Non-profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
ONPHA is an association of non-profit housing organizations which provide high quality affordable housing for low and moderate income people in communities across Ontario. Our membership includes 694 private and municipal non-profit housing providers.
Great resource for non-profit housing associations! Membership (limited to non-profit housing groups) gives access to a large body of information, but there's lots here for non-members too. Here's just a sample of what you'll find on this site: ONPHA's Services - Management Tools - Publications - Non Profit Housing - Tenant Access Info - Public Affairs - Government Relations - Tenant Protection Act - Program Issues - Municipalities - Media Releases - Connections - Links (large collection of Canadian and international housing links)

Ontario faces serious shortage of affordable housing : tighter
rental markets are driving up rents and keeping Ontario families in poverty
(PDF - 485K, 3 pages)
http://goo.gl/nv8eK
Press release
June 18, 2013
Toronto, Ontario --- Lower homeownership rates are poised to create additional pressure on already strained rental housing markets, says a new report released today. The 2013 edition of Where’s home?, released by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, Ontario Region, highlights the increased pressure that households unable to purchase a home will place on rental housing markets.

Where's Home? 2013
Looking back and looking forward at the
need for affordable housing in Ontario
(PDF - 728K, 60 pages)
http://goo.gl/1y893
The 2013 edition of Where's Home? offers a broad retrospective on housing trends and issues over the last two decades and presents a range of findings that illustrate the need for affordable rental housing in Ontario now and into the future.

Source:
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association

http://www.onpha.on.ca/
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (Ontario Region)
http://www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/onthome.asp


Report Highlights Urgent Affordable Housing Need

Ontario needs bold strategy to help households in need

Ontario Region media release
May 31, 2010
(Toronto) While the economic situation in Ontario may be improving, low and modest income households across the province still struggle to access the most crucial and basic aspect of economic and personal success – a safe and affordable home. The 2010 edition of Where’s Home? authored by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada Ontario Region (CHF Canada's Ontario Region), analyzes 22 separate housing markets across Ontario and highlights the urgent need for more affordable rental housing.

Complete report:

Where’s HOME : A study of affordable rental
housing within 22 communities in Ontario
(PDF - 2MB, 69 pages)
May 2010
Source:
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
For over 20 years, ONPHA has been the voice of non-profit housing in Ontario. ONPHA unites over 760 non-profit organizations providing housing in 220 communities across Ontario. Our members include municipal and private non-profits of all sizes, with all types of funding.

See also:

Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada Ontario Region


2008 Market Summaries (PDF - 487K, 111 pages)
Detailed information for each of 22 Census Areas (CAs) and Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in Ontario
- includes ten-year comparisons of a number of variables, including vacancy rates, changes in average rents compared to inflation, rent increases for a 2-bedroom apartment, proportion of income spent on housing, average household incomes of owners and tenants, ownership and rental housing completions, and more...
Source:
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada)

Where's Home 2006:
A Picture of Housing Needs in Ontario
(PDF file - 262K, 45 pages)
March 2007
This latest in a series of reports co-produced by ONPHA and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, Ontario Council finds that there aren't enough apartments available in Ontario, and those that are available are unaffordable for the average worker

Fact Sheet (PDF file - 17K, 1 page)
Undated (PDF file is dated March 14/07)

Earlier reports in this series - back to 1999

Sources:

Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada
The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) is the organized voice of the Canadian co-operative housing movement. We exist to unite, represent and serve the community of housing co-operatives across Canada and member organizations that support their operation and development.

Related links:

The Wellesley Institute
The Wellesley Institute advances the social determinants of health through rigorous community-based research, reciprocal capacity building, and the informing of public policy.

The Wellesley Institute Blog

Affordable Housing - from the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs

For more info on the 2007 Ontario Budget, go to the Canadian Social Research Links Ontario - Government Links page

From the
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA):

ONPHA Comments on Housing Strategy
Strategy recognizes importance of community-based housing for Ontario’s future
(PDF - 111K, 2 pages)
Hamilton, ON
November 29, 2010
The Province released it's [sic] highly anticipated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy today accompanied by housing and community sector stakeholders, including the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA).

Source:
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
For over 20 years, ONPHA has been the voice of non-profit housing in Ontario. ONPHA unites over 760 non-profit organizations providing housing in 220 communities across Ontario. Our members include municipal and private non-profits of all sizes, with all types of funding. ONPHA is the recognized voice of Ontario's non-profit housing at the municipal, provincial and federal levels


Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse (OPC)

Ontario Project for Inter-Clinic Community Organizing - OPICCO
"The Ontario Project for Inter-Clinic Community Organizing - OPICCO - grew out of the Toronto community legal clinic training session in April 2002, the theme of which was 'Community Development for Changing Times'. A number of Toronto clinic workers indicated an interest in meeting on an ongoing basis to continue the exciting dialogue begun at the conference.
The purpose of the site is to provide community organizations & community legal clinics in Ontario with tools for organizing.
This website is an outcome of the collective desire to continue the networking online and thus expand collaboration and resource-sharing throughout the province of Ontario and beyond..."

Related Link:

Legal Aid Ontario

Ontario Public Service Employees Union

What will you do when I'm gone?
Wasteful bidding process drives health professionals out of home care
Nurses, therapists, and other health professionals are leaving home care at a time when they are needed more than ever. The Minister of Health says that the process which has destabilized the home care workforce is returning. Competitive bidding puts the patients of home care health professionals up for auction.

* Read more about the issue.

* Watch the video.

* Tell us your story. (Family members and patients, health professionals and support staff)

Ontario Tenants Rights
- incl. links to : Ontario Tenants homepage | Residential Tenancies Act | Finding an apartment | Ontario Landlord and Tenant Q&A | Housing and poverty reports | Other housing links | Tenant rights and social justice | Renters muncipal issues | Rent Control | Apartment safety & security | Tenant health: Toxic mold, cockroaches | Consumer Information | Tenant association organizing | Utility costs: Ontario hydro, natural gas | Ontario MPP list | more...
- also includes resources organized by municipality for the largest three dozen municipalities in the province (under "Community Information" in the right-hand margin of the home page.)

Ontario Tenants
Most Asked Questions And Answers

Ontario Women's Justice Network
The goal of Ontario Women's Justice Network (OWJN) is to promote an understanding of the law with respect to violence against women. OWJN provides accessible legal information to women and their supporters in a manner that reflects the experiences and realities of women. We review and analyse written law (legislation) and case law (court decisions).

OPIRG.ORG - Ontario Public Interest Research Groups
- includes links to PIRGs at the following Ontario universities : Brock - Carleton - Guelph - Kingston - McMaster - Ottawa - Peterborough - Toronto - Waterloo - Windsor - York

 

Open Policy
Open Policy Ontario is the social policy consultancy of John Stapleton
, an Innovations Fellow at the Metcalf Foundation, who worked for the Ontario government for 28 years in the areas of social assistance policy and operations. John was also research director for the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults in Toronto.

Visit John 's website at
http://openpolicyontario.com/

---

Selected reports and
other writings of John Stapleton:
NOTE : The selections below represent just a fraction of the writings of John Stapleton.
You'll find many of John's articles and reports in the Canadian Social Research Links theme pages.
- See the Canadian Social Research Links home page for themes:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/index.htm

---

Bringing it all back Home : Inflation,
Poverty Lines and Social Assistance Rates

http://openpolicyontario.com/bringing-it-all-back-home-inflation-poverty-lines-and-social-assistance-rates/
By John Stapleton
August 29, 2013
Toronto-based social advocate John Stapleton recently compared the Statistics Canada Low income Cut offs (LICOs) for 1993 and 2013 with the corresponding benefit levels for single employable people on welfare in Ontario. He found that the increase in LICOs for that 20-year period was just under 22%. But inflation, as measured by the Bank of Canada from 1993 to 2013, was almost double that percentage. Stapleton also notes in his commentary : "In 1993, the single social assistance maximum in Ontario was $663 a month. It will soon move up to $626 a month in October (2013)."
(BTW - That $663 is in 1993 dollars. If annual indexing equal to the cost of living (Consumer Price Index) were applied to that amount, employable welfare singles in Ontario would be receiving over $950 per month.)

"We need new thinking that refuses to justify erosion and fails to think that nickels and dimes make a difference. Social assistance has no more money to give. But a completely transformed system of income security- that opens doors without penalty – just might."

---

It’s time to end the erosion of public assistance in Ontario:
Welfare has eroded to the point that it would take a 56-per-cent rate increase to bring the single rate back to where it was in 1993.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/04/26/its_time_to_end_the_erosion_of_public_assistance_in_ontario.html
By John Stapleton
April 26, 2013
We had three prime ministers, including our first woman leader in Kim Campbell. Bob Rae was premier. The Blue Jays won the World Series. Bill Clinton became president of the United States. The North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified and Jurassic Park was box office gold. The year was 1993 and it marks another milestone — something few will remember. It was the last time social assistance in Ontario increased in real (inflation-adjusted) terms.
(...)
It is safe to say that the post-recession round of social assistance [caseload] increases is largely at an end. Despite stubbornly high unemployment, many key bellwethers peaked in March and May 2012 and ODSP experienced its first decline in over 150 months in December 2012. But although we have the post-recession increases behind us, the same is not true for either hardship or poverty. Social assistance reform is urgently required but at least we don’t face the spectre of “retooling during peak production.”
We can now hope that Ontario’s May 2 budget will take the opportunity to get on with the unfinished business of real social assistance reform.

---

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


“Minister Jeffrey: Tear down this wall”
http://openpolicyontario.com/minister-jeffreys-tear-down-this-wall/
By John Stapleton
May 31, 2013
In July 2013, I visited Berlin for the first time since 1972 when the Berlin wall was still standing. It was interesting to see how parts of the wall had been retained as an outdoor museum. No matter where I went, memorabilia celebrating the famous call by Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 were available. On that day, Reagan famously intoned “Mr. Gorbachev – tear down this wall.”

On June 11, 2013, just one day short of the anniversary of Reagan’s famous speech, many of us will be celebrating the launch of Linda Chamberlain’s scrapbook: Not Anytime Soon – the life and times of Linda Chamberlain.

We shall invite Ontario Housing Minister Linda Jeffrey to the event.

Not Anytime Soon contains excerpts of a meditation I wrote in 2010 called Zero Dollar Linda [ PDF - http://goo.gl/Tlqga ]. In this piece, I coined the term the ‘Linda Chamberlain rule’ to describe what is known as the monthly non –benefit rental income limit that increases the rent of a single ODSP recipient to the rent geared to income scale when their earnings exceed $440 a month. This is the rule that sent Linda’s rent from $109 a month to $623 when she began to work at CAMH. Ontario Housing legislation was renewed in 2011 but the Linda Chamberlain rule remains intact. (...) Minister Jeffrey can change the Linda Chamberlain rule by capping RGI rent increases to the maximum ODSP shelter maximum. By allowing rents to go higher than the maximum ODSP, the housing scale creates a wall – a wall that Linda could not surmount.

---

* More about Not Anytime Soon – The life and Times of Linda Chamberlain:
http://ontario.cmha.ca/news/not-anytime-soon-the-life-times-of-linda-chamberlain/

* How to obtain a a copy of the book (small PDF file):
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Update-on-Not-Anytime-Soon.pdf

* Linda Chamberland links on John Stapleton's blog
http://openpolicyontario.com/pictures/

---

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


Establishing a ‘Goldilocks Standard’ for people earning money
while receiving social assistance : What should we make of the Ontario Budget
measure to exempt the first $200 in earnings?
(PDF - 124K, 8 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/How-should-we-think-about-the-earnings-of-social-assistance-recipients.pdf
By John Stapleton
May 2013
(...)
Depending what bothers governments most about the current system of incentives tends to guide how they deal with the earnings exemptions each will implement. But Kathleen Wynne has followed the case made in Brighter Prospects in a fairly sensible way and one that will make even more sense should minimum wages be raised. She is recognizing the need to get into work force, to stay in the work force and to pay attention to politically contentious ‘surface’ equity issues respecting the working poor. All in all, she is making a reasonable start under the circumstances.


Ontario's Disability Support Program (ODSP)

ODSP : An unsustainable program – A guest blog from Pat Capponi*
http://openpolicyontario.com/an-unsustainable-program-a-guest-blog-from-pat-capponi/
January 28, 2013
By Pat Capponi
It seems simple, and I can understand the frustration as the numbers continue to rise and few people labelled mentally ill appear willing to take the steps necessary to leave the ODSP rolls. Without knowing this community, their history and their struggles, that frustration will continue. My experience is with those who are labelled seriously mentally ill, with schizophrenia, manic depression, and PTSD, as well as those with long term addictions to drugs like crack cocaine. In this group, poverty is the norm, days are spent in drop-ins or waiting in packed agencies for assistance that never seems timely or appropriate.
(...)
We have made significant strides in the Serious Mental Illness (SMI) community, with social enterprises, with leadership development, we are speaking for ourselves to government, to police,and to the Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH), where we are helping to educate residents and working to improve the chronic care curriculum. The only sector that stubbornly persists in excluding our voices or relegating us to advisory roles is community mental health, where power is jealously guarded and kept out of our hands. Both the Human Rights and the Mental Health Commission have related how prejudice and discrimination is firmly seated in our helpers, this must be righted.

We are the governments natural ally in this fight. We are tired of the stress of living impoverished lives, tired of being surrounded by well-meaning nay-sayers. Without substantial change in the attitudes of our helpers, without making room for us as equal participants, the numbers on ODSP will continue to rise, and much potential will never be realized.

[ * Author Pat Capponi is a member of the steering committee of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction [ http://25in5.ca/ ], and primary facilitator with Voices from the Street [ http://www.ocab.ca/voices.htm ].

---

- Go to the Disability Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/disbkmrk.htm


How do we begin a dialogue about inequality with conservative Canadians?
http://openpolicyontario.com/how-do-we-begin-a-dialogue-about-inequality-with-conservative-canadians/

December 18, 2012
By John Stapleton
As someone who spent a career in social welfare, I have often been a sounding board for conservative acquaintances, particularly those who are advanced in years. “I say, let them starve,” one of my relatives declared to me at a family dinner. What he meant by that is:
“Why don’t these people behave? Why don’t they just do what they’re supposed to do? I went out, I worked hard, why shouldn’t they work hard? And if they don’t work hard, then they should starve.”

In pondering how to respond to sentiments like these, I have been much aided by Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. Haidt himself is a liberal social democrat. But he has successfully analysed why conservatives and the conservative mindset wins in our current political climate. In a chapter called “The Conservative Advantage” Haidt compares the “moral palette” of conservatives and of liberal, progressive, social democrats.He says that people who are liberal, progressive, social democrats have a moral palette comprised of two great concerns. The first is care, care for others. We think about people who are less well off than we are. We think about people who are making a lot more money than we do. We are always thinking about equality. We want everyone to do well. He says that the other part of our moral palette is fairness. Our greatest concern is having a society that’s based on fairness and equity.

The moral palette of the conservative also has caring and fairness in it, but caring and fairness come at the bottom. Four other components of the conservative moral palette come first:
* Sanctity
* Loyalty
* Liberty
* Authority
(...)
Any of us who wish to reduce inequality will have to tackle the policy dilemma of turning the negative abstraction of ‘inequality’ into a positive and concrete course of action. We will have to recommend lasting, publicly acceptable ways in which equality should be achieved.


Retirement income for Canadians with low incomes
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/
By John Stapleton

This new page of John Stapleton's Open Policy website contains a new series on retirement income for Canadians with low incomes.
[ NOTE : Some examples in the files below relate to Ontario only.]

1. Maximizing GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement):
A background paper on retirement financial planning for Canadians with very low incomes
(PDF - 1.5MB, 9 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/maximizing-Paper-V6.pdf
September 2012

2. Toolkit: Determining OAS (Old Age Security)
and GIS eligibility for people who come to Canada as adults
(PDF - 1MB, 5 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/TOOL-questionaireV7.pdf
September 2012

3. Low Income Retirement Planning: Four things to think about (PDF - 2.5MB, 11 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Slides-Booklet-V8all.pdf
September 2012
* How do I get the Guaranteed Income Supplement?
* Does CPP early retirement make sense for me?
* What’s the smartest way to save before I turn 65?
* A smart way to save between ages 65 and 71

Complete package of the three above files in one download (PDF - 4.9MB, 27 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/allinonelowincomeretirement.pdf
September 2012

Cover page of the report and testimonials
by Sherri Torjman, Richard Shillington and Don Drummond
(PDF - 376K, 2 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Press-Kit-Folder-V5.pdf
September 2012

Related links:

How RRSP payments can help seniors with benefits
http://goo.gl/xdkS2
By Preet Banerjee
Posted February 24, 2012
Updated September 10, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk about changes to the Old Age Security program lately, but the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) deserves a lot more attention. For low-income seniors, it could amount to almost $9,000 a year, but a general lack of knowledge in financial planning is leading some people to effectively turn it down.

GIS is a benefit received on top of OAS for seniors whose incomes are below $16,368 (single person). But just as OAS is subject to clawback over a certain threshold, so is GIS. The big difference is that GIS is more aggressively clawed back from people who arguably need it more. The OAS clawback begins once your income has reached close to $70,000 and is clawed back at a rate of 15 cents per dollar. GIS, on the other hand, is clawed back at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar for every dollar of income above $3,500.

This has led to the (not quite yet) conventional wisdom that the Tax Free Savings Account might be a better savings vehicle for low-income seniors. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than just that. It’s true that an RRSP or RRIF withdrawal made if you are eligible for GIS could effectively be taxed at around 70 per cent since you have to pay your marginal tax rate on the withdrawal and it can reduce your GIS payment by 50 cents per dollar. It’s also true that had that withdrawal come from a TFSA, the effective tax rate is zero, since the withdrawal does not affect income-tested benefits. “But there’s sort of an alternate universe that exists for lower-income seniors between 65 and 71”, says John Stapleton, a social policy consultant.

Remember that an RRSP contribution is an income deduction, so when you make a contribution, your income is lowered. Someone who is 65 and whose income is above $16,368 can reduce that income below the threshold by making an RRSP contribution. All of a sudden, that GIS tap is open.

“So yes, while the TFSA can be a better savings vehicle for many lower-income Canadians, you can’t just assume that will always be the case. You need to plan it out. Unfortunately, when I counsel people on this strategy I find that when they bring it to their bank, they get faced with a lot of blank stares”, Mr. Stapleton says.

12 comments about this article
http://goo.gl/CJpZI

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

---

Related links:

Low Income Retirement Planning in Canada: living in a different world
http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/john-stapleton/low-income-retirement-planning-canada-living-different-world
By John Stapleton
September 5, 2012
(...) For most people nearing retirement, the financial advice we get is based on two simple premises:
1. That our post-retirement income will be less than our pre-retirement income; and
2. That our taxable income will be lower at 65.
(...) [However,] for those on fixed incomes before age 65...the reality is that most low income seniors receive higher incomes when they turn 65. Old Age Security, combined with CPP and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, is often significantly higher than the social assistance, disability benefits, and low earnings they realize in the years leading up to age 65. And Old Age Security and CPP are taxable while social assistance and some disability benefits are not. This situation results in higher taxation once they reach 65, not lower.
(...) The document Planning for Retirement on a Low Income provides low income retirees and their advisors with the information and the tools they need to make the right decisions for their financial future:
*
When to take CPP early retirement
* When to avoid an RRSP
* When to buy a TFSA
* When to buy an RRSP

Source of this article:
Vibrantcanada.ca - Vibrant Communities Canada
http://vibrantcanada.ca/
Vibrantcanada.ca is a learning community of members, from diverse sectors, multi-sector roundtables, who share a common interest in reducing poverty, community engagement and collaboration. It is made up of individuals who are united in our desire to see one million people move beyond poverty all across Canada.


More thoughts on Ontario social assistance caseloads
http://openpolicyontario.com/blog-2/

April 16, 2013
John Stapleton looks at the number of Ontarians who are receiving assistance under the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works, the province's two social assistance programs. Before his retirement from public service, John spent 28 years with Ontario Government in the Ministry of Community and Social Services in the areas of social assistance policy and operations.
John *knows* social assistance.
---
Excerpt : Since March to May 2012 when several categories in Ontario Works reached post recession highs, the Ontario Works totals have receded by about 12,000 while ODSP has inched up by a similar number over the same period. This means that the percentage of Ontario’s population in receipt of social assistance remains stubbornly at about 6.5%, slightly higher than similar periods following major post-war recessions.
(...)

Related Excel file:

Ontario unemployment and SA rates 1981 to 2008, 2009 monthly to February 2013 (Excel file)
["SA rates" = social assistance beneficiaries]
http://goo.gl/qMUhy

Source:
Open Policy
(John Stapleton's website)
http://openpolicyontario.com/

Related links:

Ontario Works (OW) Statistical Report
[This link takes you to the latest version of the OW statistics.]
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/reports/ow_quarterly.aspx
Ontario Works provides employment and financial assistance to people who are in temporary financial need.

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Statistical Report
[This link takes you to the latest version of the ODSP statistics.]
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/reports/odsp_quarterly.aspx
The Ontario Disability Support Program was designed to meet the income and employment support needs of people with disabilities.

Source:
Ministry of Community and Social Services
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/index.aspx Two videos from February 28, 2013 on the subject of the working poor and one Canadian Senator's campaign to have an open discussion on guaranteed annual income.


From Global TV's "Context with Loran Dueck" : Working Poor
February 28, 2013
http://www.contextwithlornadueck.com/episodes/working-poor-poverty
TIP : Scroll down the page for links to three online resources, including the 1997 "a-rose-is-not-a-rose" disclaimer by Ivan Fellegi, then Chief Statistician of Canada, stating categorically that StatCan's Low-Income Cutoffs should not be used as a proxy for the number of Canadians living in poverty. Today, StatCan still maintains that position and NGOs still use LICOS as one measure of poverty, along with the Market Basket Measure and others.
For more on poverty measures in Canada, see http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/poverty.htm

Part 1: Working Poor (guaranteed annual income) (video, duration 8:54)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2Bdiy8_YNg
With Senator Hugh Segal

Part 2: Working Poor: Where do they live? (video, duration 8:43)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B11UPqNZYpY
With John Stapleton & Michael Menezes

Source:
Context with Loran Dueck

http://www.contextwithlornadueck.com/

Global TV
http://www.globaltv.com/


February 2013
By John Stapleton and
Anne Tweddle in Open Policy:

Social Assistance Caseloads in Ontario in Modest Decline (Powerpoint presentation)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Social-Assistance-Caseloads-in-Ontario-in-Modest-Decline.pptx
Revised February 2013
(...) First net decline in the number of beneficiaries of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in at least 150 consecutive months (perhaps longer)
NOTE : This file contains graphic charts only - no numbers. See the next link below for tables with all the numbers...

Unemployment rates and the percentage of the population
in Ontario receiving social assistance from 1981 to 2012
(Excel spreadsheet)
Revised February 2013
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Ontario-unemployment-and-SA-rates-1981-to-2008-2009-monthly-to-December-2012.xlsx

Source:
Open Policy
(John Stapleton's website)
http://openpolicyontario.com/

---

Related links from the
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/index.aspx

* Ontario Disability Support Program Statistical Report
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/reports/odsp_quarterly.aspx
(The link is to the current report --- for earlier reports, click "Reports" in the left margin of the page)

* Ontario Works Statistical Report
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/reports/ow_quarterly.aspx
(The link is to the current report --- for earlier reports, click "Reports" in the left margin of the page)


How do you replace social policy? With ‘decision-based evidence making’
http://openpolicyontario.com/blog-2/
By John Stapleton
December 2012
Social policy, at its simplest and most active, is the articulation of ideas to effect positive change for people based on strong principles and the best available evidence. Social policy is a good thing and is historically a strong suit of governments.

Therefore, it is extremely interesting that Canada now has a federal government that appears to wish to get out of social policy. They are achieving this end in five ways:

* Through staff cuts and attrition in the government departments like Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) that do social policy;
* By declaring that large aspects of social policy like poverty reduction are the responsibility of someone else ( i.e. provinces)
* By making sure that charities do not conduct social policy that could be construed to have political ends
* By cutting or eliminating the funding of public and private agencies that engage in social policy; and
* Eliminating staff, cutting the surveys, and curtailing the census information that provide Canadians the evidence to conduct good social policy.

It is almost impossible to understand why any government would abandon social policy. Some have guessed that social policy is inconvenient to agenda-driven politics (i.e. don’t confuse me with the facts)...

Social Assistance Recipients in Ontario
http://openpolicyontario.com/social-assistance-recipients-in-ontario/
June 19, 2012
By John Stapleton
This monthly analysis by John Stapleton looks at the number of Ontarians who are receiving assistance under the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works, the province's two social assistance programs. This month's analysis includes links to both programs' latest statistics and to a longitudinal file that will interest Ontario social researchers : it's an Excel file that contains rates of dependency on (aka, the number of households receiving benefits under) Unemployment Insurance (renamed Employment Insurance in 1996) and provincial welfare programs from 1981 right up to April 2012. There's also a small PDF file that compares the before and after tax incomes of three people ( a single, a lone parent with one child and a lone parent with two children).


Two belt tightening families: Which one looks most like government?
http://openpolicyontario.com/two-belt-tightening-families-which-one-looks-most-like-government/
April 28, 2012
By John Stapleton

John's blog compares two fictitious families' approaches to belt-tightening during tough economic times. Then he draws an analogy between each of those two families and government responses to the need for fiscal restraint. During an economic downturn, the prudent family (and government) give up large new discretionary purchases like big screen TVs (and F-35 jet fighters) and reduce spending on non-essential items, like downsizing the family car (and no more $16 orange juice at The Savoy), but keep paying down their mortgage and consumer debt and setting aside some savings for education and retirement. The second family chooses to maintain its flat-screen-TV-and-vacations-and-gas-guzzling-vehicles lifestyle and cuts back instead on contributions to the children’s education fund and to the parents’ retirement savings, perhaps even selling the family home and renting an apartment.

Excerpt:
"Interestingly, our right-of-centre governments act like family number two. They sell off or privatize assets owned collectively by the people (the equivalent of selling the family home and renting). They preside over increased tuition fees (the same as cancelling the education fund) and reduce the reach of income security programs (like the family cashing-in their RRSP). They make retiring a more precarious proposition (by allowing retirement protections to erode). (...) Progressive governments in the past tended to act more like belt-tightening family number one. They raised revenues, canceled the baubles, ensured that collectively owned resources stayed in Canadian hands, prioritized education and tended to have a better fiscal hand on government. So even if some people want governments to tighten their belts just like hard working families, they just might not belt- tighten like the family you thought!"


‘Denominator neglect’ rules in Bob Rae attack ad
http://openpolicyontario.com/denominator-neglect-rules-in-bob-rae-attack-ad/
March 26, 2012
By John Stapleton

In the recent Conservative Party attack ad concerning Bob Rae [ http://goo.gl/DcgeD ], the ad shows a ‘Welcome to Ontario’ sign with a typewriter animation revealing ‘1,200,000 welfare population’ scrawling on the sign. The audio in the background intones in a jovial mocking tone that “Premier Rae turned Ontario into the Welfare Capital of Canada”. This is yet another claim in a long line of examples of ‘numerator’ politics. This is where you have a numerator and no denominator; a factual number without a context. (...)
... it was Bill Davis’ Progressive Conservatives who raised welfare rates by 82% from 1980 to 1985, David Peterson’s Liberals who raised rates by 54% and Bob Rae’s NDP that raised rates by 18%. In fact, in the last 4 years of Bob Rae’s government, he increased social assistance by a grand total of 3%: 2% in 1992, 1% in 1993, and no increases at all in each of 1994 and 1995. (...)
Using numerators without denominators and numbers without context, it’s easy to say that Ontario became Canada’s welfare capital in 1994. The reason is that Ontario must be Canada’s welfare capital because, with Canada’s largest population, it is the capital of everything that has anything to do with the number of people who live here. In 1994, Ontario led the way with the most men, the most women, the most children, the highest number of people in prisons, the highest number of people on EI. Ontario led the way on everything. So what?sed 9.4%.(...)
The reality is that in 1994, each and every province, regardless of political stripe, experienced their highest welfare caseloads since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. No jurisdiction was immune. One guesses, using the logic of the attack ad, that Mr. Rae should also be held responsible for the 60 year welfare peaks in the other 9 provinces. So feel free to dislike Bob Rae for whatever reason you want but not because he turned Ontario into the welfare capital of Canada. The reality is that he didn’t.


More publications by
John Stapleton in 2012:
http://openpolicyontario.com/publications/
(Click the link above to select one of the publications below)
*
The Great Recession Horror Trilogy (see the next link below)
*March 27,2012 : Pool, Cap and Cut: Reflections on the Ontario Government’s recent budget cutting
* March 20, 2012 : It’s not that much money: Sixty Seconds on a calculator
* March 16, 2012 : A Canadian ‘Affluence Line’: a Poverty line for the 1%
* March 5, 2012 : Cutting the Number of Ontario Racetracks would be a bad bet
* February 29, 2012 : Ontario should help foster kids until they turn 25
* 25 is the NEW 21 : The Costs and Benefits of Providing Extended Care & Maintenance to Ontario Youth in Care Until Age 25
* Feb.11, 2012 : The Working Poor in the Toronto Region; Who they are, where they live, and how trends are changing.
* February 2012 : PM’s new policy would force up to 50,000 to live in poverty for two more years
NOTE : The above page also includes links to John's earlier publications going back to 2004.


The Great Recession Horror Trilogy (PDF - 624K, 19 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/The-Great-Recession-Horror-Trilogy1.pdf
November 23, 2011 (Posted to John's site in March 2012)
Over the 18 month period from February 2008 to October 2009, I wrote three pieces that I conceived of as a horror trilogy: The Last Recession Spook, written several months before the crash; The Silence of the Lines ( a wordplay on the Silence of the Lambs) –a prediction made boldly (and correctly) that welfare caseload increases would be modest and entirely unlike the 1990’s; and Close Encounters of the Thirties Kind (a wordplay on Spielberg’s 1977 Classic – Close Encounters of the third kind – a prediction that the aftermath of the Great Recession would have eerie similarities to the 1930’s – we have to wait eight more years to see if that one comes true.
Now all three articles are here in one place.


Welfare Diet, 1995 - 2010 (Excel file, 67K)
http://openpolicyontario.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/48289856/Welfarediettimelinegraph1.xls
Recommended reading for anyone who is familiar with Excel files and who is involved in research on the increasing cost of food over the years, specifically comparing the cost of food in Ontario in 1995 (remember the Tsubouchi welfare diet??) and 2010.
NOTE: John has updated the numbers in the Excel file since 2010. For more information, you can reach him via the electronic contact form on his website:
http://openpolicyontario.com/contact/


Media commentary by John Stapleton (2006-2012):
http://openpolicyontario.com/media-commentary/


Presentations by John Stapleton (2006-2012):
http://openpolicyontario.com/presentations/


Open Policy Course in Public Policy for Advocates and Activists:
http://openpolicyontario.pbworks.com/w/page/22815212/Open-Policy-Course


It's Not That Much Money
http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/john-stapleton/its-not-much-money
March 20, 2012
John Stapleton
By Gilles: John and his trusty calculator tackle the City of Toronto's budget deficit of $15 billion and come up with...
$8.00 a day per Ontarian (excluding the poor, children and seniors) to reclaim "our libraries, the police, our parks, our hospitals, our firefighters, our pools, our street lights, our roads, our sewers, our transit …. In fact, all of it!"
John concludes : "I used to think that our deficit was a problem.
It is and it’s serious. But it is not insurmountable.
It’s just not that much money."


A Canadian Affluence Line : a poverty line for the rich
http://vicariousass.com/2012/03/16/a-canadian-affluence-line/
March 16, 2012
By John Stapleton
(...) The 99% seem to know who they are – for the most part. But what about the 1%? “There can only be one….per cent.” How to know if you’re part of it, or just a 99 percent poser? Well, the High Income Measure (HIM) is the new Poverty Line for the 1%. We have a number of poverty lines in Canada. We have the low-income cut-off (LICO) that has not been properly recalculated for 19 years. We have the Market Basket Measure (MBM) that bases itself in part on rents that are impossible to obtain. And we have the Low Income Measure (LIM) that simply sets its line at 50% of the median income. How do the top 1%? know when they have fallen out of affluence and fallen into the 99%? It is not unimportant...
-------------
By Gilles: John used an article [ http://xraymagazine.ca/34/4/ ] by Marc Lee of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives [ http://www.policyalternatives.ca/ ] plus a few more tools (all documented under "Methodology"in his article) to create a table showing the minimum income a household of one to six people needs, before and after tax, to be considered as part of the 1%. The table shows that a one-person household needs an annual income of $161,194 or more after tax to avoid slipping down to the lowly 99% group. There's just a hint of sardonicism from John as he laments "the fact that young 1%’er singles living on only $80,000 a year would have to save for a full 12 years to amass their first million. It’s outrageous."

Source:
VICARIOUSASS
Vass Bednar's blog

http://vicariousass.com/


Retiring on a Low Income (Powerpoint presentation - 64K, 11 slides)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Retiring-on-a-Low-Incomeoct25.pptx
Community Launch
October 25, 2012
Contents:
* What is our income system for retirees in Ontario?
* Definition of low income
* Top Ten : Rogue's gallery of bad advice
* Why is mainstream financial advice wrong?
* What can be done

Source:
Retirement income for Canadians with low incomes
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/
By John Stapleton

Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH)
http://www.cmha.ca/


"The working poor have computers and colour TV's,
and they call themselves "'poor'???"

Talking to seniors about Working Poverty
By John Stapleton
http://openpolicyontario.com/talking-to-seniors-about-working-poverty/
(...) the conversation about the working poor with colour televisions and personal computers is almost the same conversation as the conversation about indoor plumbing, electricity and central heat. It is a discussion about invention, improvement and plummeting prices in a world where the exclusive and highly exotic become both humdrum and inexpensive. But it’s also a phenomenon whereby our distant memories fool us into thinking that mere possession of yesterday’s exotica somehow makes it impossible to experience hunger and hardship.
Why?

By John Stapleton in the Hamilton Spectator:
http://www.thespec.com/

Five questions with John Stapleton [re. the working poor]
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/725371
May 16, 2012
John Stapleton has spent a lot of time crunching census numbers and studying population maps, and one of his key discoveries is that working poverty is on the rise. Stapleton, a policy consultant and Metcalf Foundation Fellow, used data from the 2000 and 2006 censuses to analyze income trends in Toronto’s census metropolitan area, which includes most of Halton.

The five questions:
- What do the working poor look like?
-
What is the biggest misconception about the working poor?
-
How has working poverty changed in Halton?
-
Why do you think these changes occurred?
- What role does policy-making play?
John Stapleton will be at the Oakville Public Library on Wednesday evening (May 16) to discuss his findings on the working poor in Halton, and how the demographics have changed.


A Difficult Puzzle : [Ontario] Social Assistance Caseloads in the Great Depression
and Three Major Post-war Recessions
(PDF - 616K, 22 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/A-Difficult-Puzzlemay32012.pdf
May 3, 2012
By John Stapleton
This 22-page Powerpoint presentation focuses on social assistance dependency and unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the recessions of the early 1980s, the early 1990s and the late 2000s.


Ontario : Latest welfare statistics (November 2011) and analysis by John Stapleton
January 6, 2012

Ontario Works provides employment and financial assistance to people who are in temporary financial need.
The Ontario Disability Support Program was designed to meet the income and employment support needs of people with disabilities.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE : For more information about how welfare works in Ontario,
see the Guide to Welfare in Ontario page:

http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onwelf.htm

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

The caseload reports:

Ontario Works (OW) Caseload, November 2011 (PDF - 156K, 1 page
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/social/reports/OW_EN_2011-11.pdf
- OW caseloads and Beneficiaries by family structure, April 2009 to November 2011

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Caseload, November 2011 (PDF - 156K, 1 page)
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/social/reports/ODSP_EN_2011-11.pdf
- ODSP caseloads and Beneficiaries by family structure, April 2009 to November 2011

Source:
Social assistance in Ontario: Reports
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/reports/index.aspx
Ministry of Community and Social Services
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss

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

Analysis of the November 2011 OW and ODSP
caseload statistics by John Stapleton:

It is worth repeating that as we watch Ontario Works caseloads come into post recession equilibrium in 2011, the total increase in percentage of population receiving social assistance starting in October 2008 (beginning of the recession) is one percentage point from 5.5% to 6.5% of Ontario's population, making the Great Recession of 2008-09 roughly equal to the recession of 1980 -82 in welfare caseload growth terms. (see attached excel)

The puzzle to solve is why, from a welfare perspective, the two big caseload run ups were in the Great Depression (15.5% of population in July 1935) and the 1990-92 recession (13.9% of population in March 1994).

Level of unemployment doesn't fully solve the puzzle as unemployment stood at 10.4% of population in 1983 when 5.2% of population received social assistance, with unemployment rates almost as high as in 1992 and 1993 (10.8% and 10.9% respectively).

EI changes don't solve the puzzle as EI was much easier to get in the early 1990's than it is now.

Social assistance rates don't solve the puzzle as rates rose sharply ahead of inflation in the 1970's and early 1980's and were (adjusted for inflation) much higher than they are now and were only slightly higher in real terms in the early 1990's.

Changes in eligibility requirements may partially give us answers but there just does not appear to be enough to explain why the 1990's run-up almost equaled levels we only saw in the mid 1930's. Eligibility was easier in the early 1990's but only slightly easier than the early 1980's. Eligibility is much tougher now but it's also tougher to get EI.

Although it was always clear this time around that the Depression-like extreme increases in caseloads the 1990's would not be repeated, the degree to which the latest recession resulted in such (relatively) benign changes in caseload (relative to unemployment and other economic indicators) is nothing short of breathtaking.

The only two real changes one can point to remain:
- increases to the minimum wage relative to social assistance rates - the single welfare rate was 70% of minimum wage in 1991 and about 36% now; and
- the spectacular structural changes taking place within the caseloads - the upsurge in singles relative to continued reductions in family and sole support parent cases would still appear to be the largest single key to solving the puzzle over the last 31 years (that we report on here) and the three major recessions during that time.


Less on their plates:
Canada's poorest people are facing a frightful food crisis

September 2011
The Welfare Diet of 1995, introduced by then Minister of Social Services Dave Tsubouchi, is a useful tool to measure the changes of the cost of food since 1995. It is not a good diet in its own right. The Toronto Star noted, “Back in 1995, the opposition Liberals scorned the Mike Harris government’s ‘welfare diet,’ which purported to show that a single person on social assistance could eat for $90 a month… That meagre Tory shopping list included pasta but no sauce, and bread but no butter…” The cost of the welfare diet has gone up by 63% since 1995, at the same time as CPI inflation has risen 35%, but the Ontario Works (welfare) single rate has gone up by just 13.7%.
Source:
CCPA Monitor (September 2011 issue)
[ Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) ]

NOTE : If you wish to obtain the original welfare diet and Excel spreadsheet,
please contact John Stapleton at jsbb@rogers.com


Turn out the lights (PDF - 187K, 15 pages)
November 2011
A compelling, anti-tax narrative is fuelling a grand dismantling of our living standards.
Is there a progressive narrative to counter it?
---
The private abundance and public scarcity frame of reference has successfully taken hold as conventional wisdom. All public spending is seen as evidence of ‘gravy’ and all taxes are an assault on private abundance. Progressive messaging is often ineffective in countering the conventional wisdom. Often that is because it flies in the face of Galbraith’s three tenets. It is neither comfortable, nor easy to grasp, nor self-esteem enhancing.


Open Policy Course in Public Policy for Advocates and Activists
- Twenty-five sessions + reading list + links for further study
Source:
Open Policy Ontario John Stapleton's website


Loophole blunts injustice
March 29, 2011
By Carol Goar
No one was gladder than John Stapleton to see Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s latest budget go down in flames. The Toronto social activist — along with a bevy of savvy corporate investors — was taking advantage of one of the tax loopholes Flaherty proposed to close. And therein lies a story of ingenuity, compassion and the kind of justice they don’t teach in law schools.
Source:
Toronto Star


December 1, 2010
Commentary on October 2010
Ontario social assistance statistics
by John Stapleton of Open Policy:

Well, now I'm waiting for someone to note a precipitous drop in social assistance in Ontario from September to October 2010, and perhaps cautiously see it as a harbinger of better times.

Time to think again, however.

The drop in lone parents is due to women leaving Ontario Works (OW) to go back to school and OSAP ( Ontario Student Assistance Program) where they will stay until May next year. This caused the overall beneficiary count to go down by about 4,000 month over month . Now look closer at the previous three years on the charts and you'll see a tendency to dip in most cases and categories in this period when outside brawn-based seasonal jobs related to packing away the summer come to the fore.

Leaf raking and cottage close-up are not full time jobs.

The bad news is that the usual seasonal upswing starts in October and ends in March. That is not to say that we should be unimpressed by a 2,000 drop in singles and modest reductions in couples receiving OW. It is good to see.

This is a tricky balance-sheet recession, but barring something unforseen, we should see a post recession top in caseloads in March 2011 and a long slow recovery from that top which will see caseloads at about 6.6 to 6.9% of Ontario's population - very modest indeed for the most momentous recession since the Great Depression and a far cry from the 13.9% of population reached in March 1994.

Source:
John Stapleton
Open Policy (personal website)

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

Related links:

October 2010 Monthly Statistical Report:
Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program
(Ontario's two welfare programs)

Ontario Works (OW) Statistical Report
[This link takes you to the latest version of the OW statistics : October 2010.
]
Ontario Works provides employment and financial assistance to people who are in temporary financial need. The employment assistance helps people become and stay employed and includes job search support services, basic education and job skills training, community and employment placement, supports to self-employment, Learning, Earning and Parenting, addiction services and earning exemptions that allow participants to earn income as they move back into the workforce. Temporary Care Assistance provides support for children in financial need while in the temporary care of an adult who does not have a legal obligation to support the child. In October 2010, there were 4,335 TCA cases receiving social assistance on behalf of 5,986 children.

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Statistical Report
[This link takes you to the latest version of the ODSP statistics : October 2010.]
The Ontario Disability Support Program was designed to meet the income and employment support needs of people with disabilities. The program provides income support and health-related benefits to people with disabilities who are in need of financial assistance. The employment supports component of the program offers a range of goods and services to help people with disabilities to look for, obtain or maintain jobs on a volunteer basis. Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities provides a benefit for parents caring for children with severe disabilities at home. In October 2010, there were 24,498 ACSD cases receiving this benefit on behalf of 28,564 children.

Source:
Ministry of Community and Social Services


The Recession's Repeat Performance
Ontario's shaky economy is looking a lot like it did in 1994.
The difference? Back then, we had a much better social safety net.

September 29, 2010
By John Stapleton
With poverty rising and political control shifting, the economic instability of 2010 is reminiscent of the recession of 1994. Back then, though, we had a secure safety net of social services to cushion the landing.
(...)

There’s no sign Canada is close to pulling out of an alarming economic nosedive that began last fall, resulting in the worst quarterly contraction in nearly two decades. (...)

Does this mean it’s time to prepare for another big hit on social services, like the 21.6 per cent cut to social assistance in 1995? Perhaps, but it’s important that we all realize that some things have changed this time round.
The first thing that’s different is the incentive for low income people to work. During the last recession, welfare rates were 70 per cent of minimum wage – now they stand at 35 per cent. During the last recession, there were 200,000 single mothers receiving social assistance when our national population was 11 million. Now there are 80,000 single mothers on assistance and our population is 13.5 million. In 1994, almost 14 per cent of Ontario’s population received social assistance. In 2010, after the largest recession since the Great Depression, this percentage stands at 6.5 per cent of population – only slightly above the post-war average. If welfare rates had been indexed like Old Age Security and CPP, the single social assistance rate would now stand at $904 a month. But the maximum amount paid is now $585 a month. It would take a 54 per cent increase in rates to get them to where they were in real terms in 1994. In 1994, there was no workfare or community participation for people receiving public assistance. In 2010, it is the rule. The poorest of the poor felt the effects of the last recession but – unlike the rest of us – never recovered, as social programs got tighter and benefits decreased.
Source:
The Mark


Sixty and Single in Ontario
The province's government income security system discriminates
against those in the 60-64 age bracket who are not married or widowed.

September 3, 2010
By John Stapleton
(...) The reality is that if you have no other form of income, have no disabilities, are in need, and are looking for work, you will qualify for an Ontario Works welfare cheque of up to $585 a month. With GST, HST, and Ontario tax credits, the total for the year comes to $7,878, around 60 per cent below any recognized poverty line. But was it always like this? Did we always expect 60-year-olds to get along on this little money? The answer is a resounding no. It used to be much higher. (...) [Today] the 60-year-old single or divorced person who can't get work is left in destitution, waiting for their 65th birthday [i.e., when federal Old Age Security kicks in]. This is one really strange way to run a government income security system.
[ HISTORIAN ALERT: This article contains some very interesting historical insights back to 1975 re. federal and provincial benefits for the elderly and the near-elderly living on low incomes in Ontario (and in Canada, to a lesser extent). ]

Source:
The Mark - The people and ideas behind the headlines
The Mark is a national movement to record Canadian ideas and propel the people behind them. It is a collection of thoughts and a tool for facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and debate between outstanding Canadians.

Related links:

Take Our Seniors Off welfare Campaign (Word file - 70K, 16 pages)
Fall 2005
By Naomi Berlyne
- campaign initiated in January 2005 by Naomi Berlyne, Seniors Housing Support worker at Central Neighbourhood House in Toronto, and Helle Hulgaard, Community Legal Worker at West Toronto Community Legal Services.
- includes case files prepared from interviews with clients and a January 2005 Toronto Star article by Carole Goar on life as a senior on welfare in Ontario
Central Neighbourhood House


Barely Surviving: The Predicament of Toronto’s Poor Single Adults (PDF - 105K, 3 pages)
By John Stapleton, Principal, Open Policy Ontario
PDF file dated July 9, 2010
(...) Most Torontonians are not aware that it would take a 55% increase in benefits to Ontario Works (welfare) to bring them in line with the value of benefits in 1993. Similarly, single disability benefits (ODSP) would have to be raised almost $250 a month to bring them in line with the value of benefits paid in the mid-1970's. (...)
In fact, over 50,000 single adults in our city (7,000 higher than last year) are having a very difficult time meeting their most basic needs while receiving welfare benefits. (...) Job one is to make sure that all single persons are adequately housed, are able to eat nutritiously, and able to access transit, clothing and personal care. To a government and public that remains suspicious of large welfare increases, a housing benefit payable through the tax system offers a promising alternative.
Source:
Discussion papers <=== links to 10 more papers from Toronto Debates 2010
"To learn more about the issues facing our city, read these papers by Torontonians who know about the challenges and are clear about our options in the years ahead."
NOTE: John Stapleton's paper is one of five under "Debate 1: Prosperity and the Economy" (the other authors in this debate are Joe Berridge, Jim Stanford, Tony Coombes and Richard Florida). The other two debates are "Finance, Transportation, and Managing the City" and "Sustainability, the Environment, and Community" - the second of which includes a link to:
Put Food at the Top of the Municipal Election (PDF - 122K, 4 pages)
By Debbie Field, Executive Director, Food Share Ontario

Source:
Toronto Debates 2010 --- "a forum for strong and intelligent debate among the leading mayoral candidates in the October municipal election"

Related links:
VoteToronto2010
Toronto Board of Trade
Open Policy - John Stapleton's website
Food Share Ontario


Economic Recovery:
Commentary by Paul Hellyer, John Stapleton

June 2010

Print more money?

Look to Canadian precedent to revive economy
By Paul Hellyer
June 23, 2010
(...) In 1938, there were no new jobs available in Canada — none. Then war broke out in 1939. Pretty soon everyone was working. Some people joined the armed forces, others built factories or made munitions. The question is, where did they get the money necessary to do all this? The Bank of Canada printed it. (...) [T]
he money-creation function was shared between the Government of Canada, through the Bank of Canada, and the private banks. This was the system that got us out of the Great Depression, helped finance World War II, helped finance postwar infrastructure such as the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trans-Canada Highway and assisted in laying the foundation for our social security network. It was the system that gave us the best 25 years of the 20th century!
Source:
The Toronto Star
[ Author Paul Hellyer was Minister of Defence in the Trudeau government in the 1970s. ]
[ See Paul Hellyer - from Wikipedia ]


60 Years of Income Security & Work:
What the ‘Big Picture’ & ‘Long Files’ Reveal
(PDF - 909K, 31 pages) *
By John Stapleton for the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association
June 8, 2010
Contents:
• The Big Picture: income programs and jobs
• The long file and the ‘great megatrend’
• The last three big recessions
• Profound Caseload change
• Assets over time
• Social assistance and Minimum wages
• The Welfare diet
• Some tentative conclusions

*NOTE : The link above takes you to a 31-page Powerpoint presentation in a PDF file that I found quite accidentally while doing a Google search.
We all know how cryptic a Powerpoint presentation can be for anyone who wasn't there to hear the presenter expanding on his or her speaking points...

BUT:

The presentation also contains 19 charts, mostly for Ontario only, including some contextual and historical information that you won't find anywhere else, e.g.:
* Income security expenditures by program, Ontario (2008-09)
* Income security expenditures by target recipient, Ontario (2008-09)
* Income security expenditures by level of government and source, Ontario (2008-09)
* Monthly social assistance benefits (single person + single parent with one child), Ontario - 1935 to 2010

Related link:

Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA)


Spend or save?

The Battle Between Paradigms
With economic recovery, a new stimulus-based mentality has arrived to challenge the old laissez-faire way of thinking. Which will win?
By John Stapleton
June 16, 2010
For about 30 years (since U.S. President Ronald Reagan), much of the western world lived under the spell of the prevailing “less government, lower taxes, markets rule” paradigm. But a year or more of economic recovery has allowed a new alpha paradigm to muscle its way onto the scene. The “stimulus/growth/spend lots/no limits” paradigm has successfully duelled the global “less-is-more-everything-costs-billions” paradigm, bringing it to a standstill. This centre stage “smackdown” – where neither wins the decision in the hearts and minds of Canadians – is our defining battle.
Source:
The Mark
"The people and ideas behind the headlines"


Canada's Fiscal Future:
What to make of former Bank of Canada
governor David Dodge's predictions on Canada's economy?

By John Stapleton
June 11, 2010
(...) In a recent piece called Canada’s Fiscal Edge to Fade Without Tough Action (see the link below), former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge set out his predictions respecting the economic troubles that Canada faces in the next decade unless the country can get its fiscal house in order. Dodge does not believe that spending cuts alone will be sufficient to stem the tide of red ink despite recent GDP growth, and he calls for more consumption taxes in order to balance the books in the future. Yet in his assessment of the spending cuts that will be required, he notes that "cuts would need to be both continuing and more radical than those of the mid-1990s."
Source:
The Mark
The Mark is a national movement to record Canadian ideas and propel the people behind them. It is a collection of thoughts and a tool for facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and debate between outstanding Canadians.

The commentary
by David Dodge:

Canada’s Fiscal Edge to Fade Without Tough Action: David Dodge
Commentary by David Dodge
May 25, 2010
The problems facing Greece, Spain and Ireland may lead investors to think Canada is free from fiscal worries. They should think again when looking ahead for the next few years. Canada’s relatively sound position by international standards masks a structural deficit that is poised to resume growth later this decade unless governments find more permanent solutions to cutting expenses than in their latest budgets, and introduce new measures to durably boost revenue.
(...)
Can Canadian governments balance their budgets by mid- decade with program spending cuts alone? It would mean a significant reduction in services or income-support programs, even if there were unprecedented productivity gains in public services. Specifically, it would require significant cuts in public-pension payments, employment-insurance benefits and welfare payments, health and long-term care coverage as well as increased co-payments. The quality of education, and investment in roads and public transit also would decline. [bolding added]
[Author David Dodge David Dodge is former Deputy Minister of the federal departments of Finance* and Health, and the former governor of the Bank of Canada.]
(*...thus proving that you can take David Dodge out of Finance but you can't take Finance out of David Dodge. Gilles)
Source:
Bloomberg
Bloomberg is a New York-based company employing more than 10,000 people in over 135 offices around the world. Bloomberg is about information: accessing it, reporting it, analyzing it and distributing it, faster and more accurately than any other organization.


Cutting Through the Fog:
Why is it so hard to make sense of poverty measures?
(PDF - 186K, 22 pages)

Richard Shillington and John Stapleton
May 2010
(...) This paper is intended to open up some room for thoughtful discussion about poverty issues among interested Canadians. The goal is not to tell anyone what to think, but to encourage all of us to question.
(...) Data can be presented in many different ways, depending on the goals of the person or group providing the data. It is important to question what is being measured, how it is measured, and when it was measured.
(...) Being critical of the statistics used as “evidence” for a point of view involves finding out what assumptions underlie the numbers.
For example, you might hear that:
• the percentage of Canadians living in poverty is around 15%...or only 5%, or
• Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) program covers approximately 85% of the unemployed…or only 45%.
(...) The gap between these statistics is so large because they measure different things.

Source:


Payday lender’s stock has soared despite regulations
Cash Store executive says he welcomed regulations
May 8, 2010
By James Daw
A funny thing happened on the way to regulating payday lenders in the midst of a recession. Owners of the only public company based in Canada that specializes in high-cost, short-term loans have seen their shares triple in price. (...) John Stapleton, a consultant and expert in social assistance policy, says some consumers will pay dearly to cash a cheque or get a payday loan rather than risk having a deposit seized by a lender. “You can’t (easily) find out if you have a lien against you that could result in money being seized from an account,” he said Friday. Welfare recipients he has interviewed are refused a bank account for lack of official identification. So they pay high fees to a cash their meagre monthly cheques from Ontario Works.
Source:
Toronto Star


The Perfect Calm
We may not be out of the economic storm yet.
By John Stapleton
Social Policy Consultant.
April 29, 2010
(...)
Living in the “perfect calm,” what others call the “eye of the storm,” is disarmingly placid. Interest rates have almost reached zero, an historically low standard. If you can borrow, money costs next to nothing. The financial system is awash in credit, which it is using to back both good bets and bad. We are awash in liquidity.
(...)
Let's remember that after the two big recessions of the 1980s and 1990s, interest rates were high and governments could predict recovery because all they had to do was lower the rates and the skies cleared. This time around things are very different as monetary and fiscal policy can only get tighter while governments will be tapped out. This recession isn't over, it's just taking a breather.
Source:
The Mark - News and perspectives daily


Imagine a World Without Taxes
If all taxes are bad, surely getting rid of them would make the country a much better place.

April 14, 2010
(...) there already are a few countries where people pay very few taxes and government is very small. Haiti, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan lead that list. They have it figured out. What are we waiting for? Our leaders have seen the light. What's wrong with the rest of us?


Employment Insurance Spells Post-Recession Welfare
If increased welfare [dependency] rates after the crisis don’t surprise you, who’s on that welfare might.

By John Stapleton
April 14, 2010
With every recession in the past, welfare caseloads peaked after the immediate crisis was over. The recession of the early 1980s hit Canada hardest in 1981, but the number of welfare recipients in Ontario topped out in March 1983. The Canadian economy suffered another blow in 1991 and 1992, but the number of Ontarians on welfare was at its highest in March 1994 as the long recovery was beginning. The reason for this lag effect can be spelled out very simply: Employment Insurance or EI.
(...)
With the implementation of a $10.25 an hour minimum wage in Ontario on March 31, a 37.5-hour work week for a person earning minimum wage will result in gross income of $20,000 a year, while the single welfare rate pays just over $7,000 a year in maximum benefits. This means single people who choose or are forced to choose welfare are settling for an income that’s just over one third what they would make with steady work.


Back to Scratch
March 31, 2010
With the recent increase in Ontario's minimum wage, the gap between the minimum wage and the welfare rate is as wide as it was during the Depression....


The Recession Continues
February 24, 2010
Economists measure economic recovery using statistics that ignore the reality faced by the majority of the population....
Source:
The Mark
The Mark is a national movement to record Canadian ideas and propel the people behind them. It is a collection of thoughts and a tool for facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and debate between outstanding Canadians


Down but Not Out: Reforming Social Assistance Rules
that Punish the Poor for Saving
(PDF - 173K, 6 pages)
By John Stapleton
Toronto, March 2 – Reform is required for social program rules that prevent the poor from saving in Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), according to a study released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Down but Not Out: Reforming Social Assistance Rules that Punish the Poor for Saving,” author John Stapleton says that encouraging asset accumulation, even in small amounts, is crucial in helping to lift people out of poverty. Yet most Canadian welfare, disability and social service programs deny or cancel benefits if applicants or recipients place a modest level of savings in an RRSP or TFSA. Barring a province-led effort at reform, says Stapleton, the federal government should take the lead by calling on provinces and territories to exempt meaningful RRSP and TFSA amounts from their welfare asset rules, leaving individual jurisdictions to decide the appropriate levels

NOTE: this paper includes a table entitled
"Treatment of Registered Instruments in Provincial Social Assistance Programs in Canada, 2010
"
Recommended reading!!
March 2010
For each Canadian province and territory, you'll find information about how the welfare system treats income from Registered Instruments (including Registered Retirement Savings Plans, Registered Education Savings Plans, Registered Disability Savings Plans and Tax Free Savings Accounts). The table also includes current liquid asset exemption levels for selected family types and sizes in each jurisdiction.
Source:
C.D. Howe Institute


The Recession Continues
Economists measure economic recovery using statistics
that ignore the reality faced by the majority of the population.

February 24, 2010
By John Stapleton
"... for everyone who is not an economist (or a journalist who reports the findings of economists), a recessionary period is generally defined as “bad times,” meaning lower living standards, unemployment, lower spending, and lack of opportunity. And as the present recession proves, the economy can grow while the lives of the great majority of people who inhabit the economy do not improve at all."
Source:
The Mark
The Mark is founded on the idea that thousands of credible Canadians have important things to say but cannot reach a national audience. (...) The Mark will be their platform. At its core The Mark is a national movement to record Canadian ideas and propel the people behind them. It is a collection of thoughts and a tool for facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and debate between outstanding Canadians.


File a tax return, raise your income
February 20, 2010
A single mother earning $15,000 a year could get about $8,000 extra income from tax, child and other benefits. She would then have about $23,100 to spend. Single mothers earning much more could also qualify to raise their income. (...) John Stapleton, a consultant who works with the Metcalf Foundation and a volunteer tax preparer, recalls a study conducted before he retired from the Ontario government. One hundred welfare recipients who were not collecting child benefits included 95 who had never applied for those benefits, or had not completed a tax return. Only five were not eligible for benefit. (...) There are many reasons for missing out on benefits: Lack of awareness, lack of reading or mathematical skills, bad experiences in other countries, fear of abusive spouses who demand the benefits. (...) Most Canadians are proud we have social benefits for low-income earners, young parents and the elderly. If you have good reading skills and know someone who could be missing out, you could do some homework.Consider visiting the websites of the Canada Revenue Agency, Service Canada, Ontario Ministry of Revenue and Service Ontario.
Source:
The Toronto Star


Welfare historians and number-crunchers, Rejoice!

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Caseload Change
- April 2007 to July 2009
(PDF - 159K, 1 page)
This graph shows the steady increase in ODSP cases since the recession began
Source: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

---

Ontario Works (OW) Caseload Change
- April 2007 to July 2009
(PDF - 159K, 1 page)
This graph shows the steady increase in OW cases since the recession began
Source: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

---

OW & ODSP Combined Caseload Change
- June 2007 to July 2009
(Excel file - 52K)
This excel worksheet shows the steady increase in ODSP and OW cases since January 2008
Source: Open Policy (John Stapleton)

---

Selected Welfare Rates, 1935 to date (PDF - 64K, 1 page)
This graph shows the monthly change in income of a single person and a single mother with one child on social assistance in Ontario from 1935 to 2009
Source: Open Policy (John Stapleton)

---

Ontario Social Assistance rates
and Minimum Wage for a Single Person, 1967 to 2010
(Excel file - 26K)
This excel worksheet shows a comparison of incomes between a single person working at minimum wage and a single person on social assistance since 1967
Source: Open Policy (John Stapleton)
NOTE: If you're having a problem accessing this file, try this:
1. Go to the Recession Relief Coalition website's Indicators page
2. Scroll to the bottom of the page; this Excel file is the fifth link from the bottom of the page (on May 21, 2010)

The source of these files is the Recession Relief Coalition website.


Time for a “Made in Ontario”
Working Income Tax Benefit

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)
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. (...)


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.


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)
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 ]


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)
February 2009
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.


Dorothea Crittenden: Canada's first woman deputy minister
reformed welfare and social assistance

December 24, 2008
Obituary
By Gay Abbate
"(...) Dorothea Crittenden was a trailblazer who devoted her life to helping build Ontario's welfare system. She was also a key player in the creation of the Canada Assistance Plan, a federal-provincial cost-sharing plan that guarantees all Canadians equal access to social assistance."

As a rule, I don't include links to obituaries on my site or in my newsletter. In this case, however, I've made an exception based on the valuable historical insights that I've found in the obituary, and moreso in the paper below by John Stapleton, and that I wanted to share with Canadian social historians --- more pieces of the puzzle, as it were...
[...and no, I won't link to your Aunt Bertha's obituary. Don't even ask.]

The above obituary by Gay Abbate appeared in The Globe and Mail on December 23, and it's based in part on information provided by Dr. Crittenden in the course of interviews with John Stapleton in 1991.
The content of those interviews appears in the paper below, which provides valuable historical information about Canadian social policy from the Depression to the mid-1970's when she was Ontario's Deputy Minister of Community and Social Services. Of particular interest to Canadian social historians, I'm sure, will be sections like * What Ontario gave up for CAP * Project 500 in the 1970s * the cap on CAP (I should note that the cap on CAP was in the early 1990s and not the 1980s, as noted in the above obituary. John's paper has the correct info on that.)

Coming of Age in a Man’s World:
The Life, Times and Wisdom of Dorothea Crittenden,
Canada’s First Female Deputy Minister
(PDF - 355K, 22 pages)
January 2007


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

Related links:
- Go to the Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm


Spooked by the prospect of recession?
Toronto-based social policy analyst John Stapleton teaches us a valuable history lesson with his new piece The ‘Last Recession Spook’: A Very Curable Disease, released by the CCPA as part of its Ontario Alternative Budget technical paper series. This paper looks at the history of public investments during economic downturns and finds the ghost of the last recession (in the 1990s) still haunts Canadians, limiting our thinking of what’s possible to modest terms. Exhorting Canadians to start real change and improvement, he writes, “The last recession was unlike all others and rather than reducing government programs during recessions, we used to increase them.”

The ‘Last Recession Spook’: A Very Curable Disease (PDF File, 157K, 5 pages)
By John Stapleton
April 2008
Source:
CCPA Ontario Alternative Budget series


How our tax system discourages self-reliance
By John Stapleton
January 04, 2008
"...there are some straightforward solutions (to the problem of families caught in the cycle of poverty).
I offer four:
- Reduce Marginal Effective Tax Rates for adults with low incomes
- Stabilize households in transition to greater self-reliance
- Support children in their transition to adulthood through a "Time-out"
- Create a new government responsibility centre to promote accountable interactions: A new government responsibility centre created from existing government ministries should be tasked with resolving the multiple barriers that now result from pro-gram overlap and duplication."
Source:
The National Post


Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA)

Why is it so tough to get ahead? How our tangled
social programs pathologize the transition to self-reliance
(PDF file - 1MB, 62 pages)
John Stapleton

November 2007
This report documents the disincentives to achieving greater self-reliance within Ontario’s welfare, housing and social support system. It aims to make understandable to policymakers and the public how removing subsidies from poor Ontarians in an uncoordinated way makes it impossible for recipients to achieve greater self-reliance. Research was undertaken with members of the Somali, Vietnamese-Chinese and St. Christopher House communities. The issues of disincentives are viewed through the lens of first generation poor immigrants receiving benefits from multiple sources, and youth who have grown up in public housing in households with social assistance as the main income source.(...) The report outlines a series of recommendations for policy solutions that can be taken right away to eliminate some of the barriers thrown up by multiple subsidies and program policies. The ultimate goal for this report is to call attention to the need for a new governance model – one that enables governments and their agencies to forge policies and procedures in a coordinated way so that the transition to self-reliance is a healthy, supported process for people.
Source:
The Metcalf Foundation
The goal of the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation is to enhance the effectiveness of people and organizations working together to help Canadians imagine and build a just, healthy and creative society.

Related links from the Toronto Star:

Remove bricks from welfare wall
Editorial
December 08, 2007
You would think that taxpayers who foot the bill for welfare would want the government to do everything in its power to help people on welfare to break free from the system and become self-sufficient. Yet in many ways, the government puts a massive wall in the way of those trying to get off welfare. What that wall consists of is a tangle of rules and regulations that can leave welfare recipients worse off if they try to make the transition from welfare to work or if they try to better themselves by getting an education.

The treadmill of poverty
System penalizes people who attempt to get ahead, study finds
December 6, 2007
By Laurie Monsebraaten
"(...) The report, funded by the privately endowed Metcalfe Foundation, lists a litany of barriers to self-reliance. It starts with welfare, which deducts 50 cents for every dollar earned the moment a person on welfare gets a job. Other social supports such as public housing and subsidized child care are also often slashed as income increases, leaving those on welfare little incentive to move ahead."

And from The National Post:

Destroy Canada's welfare trap
December 08, 2007
Last month, the Metcalf Foundation -- an eclectic, privately funded Toronto group committed to the betterment of "the environment, performing arts and low-income communities" -- released a report entitled Why is it so tough to get ahead? How our tangled social programs pathologize the transition to self-reliance. Its conclusions should be required reading among federal and provincial politicians alike. (...) Politicians must get serious about lowering the effective tax rate on the working poor. Yes, this would mean letting many poor people "have their cake and eat it, too" -- i.e., permitting them to earn an income even as they keep most of their public benefits according to a gradually tapering scale. But in the long run, it would benefit everyone by increasing the number of adults who become productive members of our society.

The [1932] Campbell report:
The origins of modern public assistance in Ontario
(PDF file - 100K, 12 pages)
2005
Article by John Stapleton and Catherine Laframboise
"(...) The report of Wallace R. Campbell and the Advisory Committee on Direct Relief to the Provincial Government of Ontario resulted in the first standardized welfare policy in Ontario and laid the foundation for welfare as we know it today — cash assistance to needy families and individuals."

Coming of age in a man’s world:
The life, times and wisdom of Dorothea Crittenden
Canada’s first female deputy minister
(PDF file - 356K, 22 pages)
January 2007
By John Stapleton and Catherine Laframboise
Dr. Crittenden was Deputy Minister of Community and Social Services from 1974 to1978. In the early sixties, she was Ontario’s chief negotiator during the development and implementation of the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP), which came into effect in April 1966. She offers valuable historical insights on life during and after the war, on the development of social assistance in Ontario, and on the federal-provincial aspects of welfare in Canada's largest provinces.


Parkdale Community Legal Services (Toronto)
"Parkdale Community Legal Services is a community legal clinic located on Queen Street in the west end of Toronto. We provide free legal advice, assistance and representation to low income residents living in the Parkdale area. We are funded by Legal Aid Ontario and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Since 1971, Parkdale Community Legal Services has delivered poverty law services to low-income residents of Parkdale. We cover a wide variety of subject areas, including social assistance, workers' rights, tenants' rights, immigration and refugee claims, mental health law, and domestic violence issues."
- incl. links to : A Bit of History - Law Reform Briefs and Reports - Our Community - Get Involved with PCLS! - Activism at PCLS - Psychiatric Survivor Issues - Right to OHIP Coverage - Special Focus: Homelessness - Our Osgoode Connection - Law Links - Social Justice
Related Link:
Legal Aid Ontario


Historical gem!

Social Services in Ontario [from 1791 to the early 2000s]: The historical context,
changing themes, movements and innovations over two centuries (PDF - 1.8MB, 40 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Final-History-for-June-2007.pdf
By John Stapleton
June 2007
Powerpoint overview of the evolution of social services and social assistance in Ontario, covers the period from 1791 to the early 2000s

Source:
Open Policy - John Stapleton's blog

http://openpolicyontario.com/

Check John Stapleton's website for many more historical nuggets on poverty and welfare in Toronto, in Ontario and across Canada.

Peacock Poverty
PeacockPoverty is a Canadian collective of individuals with an experience of poverty who join together to share knowledge, strength, talent and wisdom with each other and friends. The collective is autonomous, independent of agency affiliation, by and for poor people and friends.

From Reuel Amdur
in Peacock Poverty:

Auditing the Ontario Auditor General
December 14, 2009
by Reuel Amdur
Social worker and freelance writer Reuel Amdur asks some pointed questions about the 2009 Ontario Auditor General's report.

Related link:

2009 Annual Report:
Office of the Auditor General of Ontario

December 7, 2009

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

Also from Reuel Amdur
in The Canadian Charger:

October 22, 2009
McGuinty abandons children
By Reuel S. Amdur
The voice is the voice of Dalton McGuinty, but the hands are the hands of Mike Harris.

June 29, 2009
Dalton McGuinty’s War on the Poor
By Reuel S. Amdur
Overview and critique of Ontario's two social assistance programs, Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

Source:
The Canadian Charger - "Canada's National E-Weekly"

Peterborough Social Planning Council"Through research, community development and public education the Peterborough Social Planning Council works to build a strong community."
- incl. links to : Annual Report - Membership and Donations - Volunteer Opportunities - Publications - Projects - Newsletter - Events - Funders - Boards and Committees - Staff Profiles - Links - Contact Information - Employment Opportunities

PollutionWatch

An Examination of Pollution and Poverty in the Great Lakes Basin
November 2008
This PollutionWatch study examines the links between reported industrial air releases and income throughout the Great Lakes basin.
- incl. short abstract of the study and links to the complete report and fact sheets (all of which appear below)

People Living in Low Income Communities Likely to Face Greater Pollution Releases
New study examines links between pollution and poverty in Great Lakes basin and Toronto
News Release
November 27, 2008
Toronto, ON – People living in poverty in the Great Lakes basin may be experiencing an increased burden of high air pollution from industrial facilities in their communities, says a new study released today by the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Environmental Defence through the groups’ PollutionWatch project. The study, An Examination of Pollution and Poverty in the Great Lakes Basin, found 37 communities, known as census subdivisions, in the Great Lakes basin have high poverty rates at or above the national average (11.8%) and high releases of toxic air pollutants (over 100,000 kg) from industrial facilities.

Complete report:

An Examination of Pollution and Poverty
in the Great Lakes Basin
(PDF - 12.3MB[*see note below], 69 pages)
November 2008

Fact sheets:

PollutionWatch Fact Sheet:
An examination of pollution and poverty in the City of Toronto
(PDF - 5.2MB, 19 pages)

PollutionWatch Fact Sheet:
An Examination of Pollution and Poverty
in the Great Lakes Basin
(PDF - 2.1MB, 17 pages)
November 2008

Related link:

Poorest areas also most polluted, report shows
Study finds low-income families, already facing low levels of health, are placed at further risk
November 27, 2008
By Moira Welsh
Many of Toronto's poorest residents live near industries that spew the highest levels of toxic chemicals and pollutants into the air, a groundbreaking report has found. Low-income families, many already facing diminished health from stress, bad nutrition, diabetes and poor dental care, are placed at further risk because they breathe air contaminated with pollutants suspected of causing cancer and reproductive disorders, say the authors of the report.
Source:
The Toronto Star

*COMMENT re. filesizes:
According to the Download Speed Calculator, a 12.3MB file will take just over 30 minutes to download on a 56K dialup connection.
Sure, most of us who surf the Net using a broadband Internet connection will only wait three minutes or so (!?!) for this file to download, but it's possible to optimize PDF files for the Web so that they're smaller and easier to download for everyone, but especially for people with slower connections. Here's a 96-page report on health indicators (PDF - 96 pages) that's just over 2MB in size to prove that even complex pages can be converted into PDF without bloating the file size. My gratuitous advice to website administrators : if you see that your PDF file is larger than a few megs, try to strip down some of the fluff (colours, special fonts, etc.) to reduce the size of the final product.

Poor in Toronto
Community Information Weblog on LiveJournal
"This community is for those who are Torontonians, considering being Torontonians or are interested in Torontonians. The original focus was (is still) on: The Working Poor and The Hardly Working. The idea is to offer a playground of information regarding: assistance in getting by, information about advancing ones career and enjoying life more - with little to no money. However, people who do not consider themselves either of the above have shown interest in this community and I believe they can also contribute to the group. Social Workers, Activists, Recent Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners, Discount Shoppers, Students, Penny Savers, Discount Shoppers, Penny Savers, and others are also more than welcome to join the group if they believe they can add to the community objectives."
NOTE: this is a weblog that you can browse or, if you register, post your thoughts to share with others.
Check it out, even if you aren't poor in Toronto...

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 ."


Ontario's 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. For a large (200+) and current collection of links to up-to-date online resources about the Ontario strategy from the Ontario government and from NGOs,
go to the Canadian Social Research Links Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

(click on "Ontario" in the list of provinces at the top of the page.)

Since May 2010, ALL links to content concerning poverty reduction strategies and campaigns have been moved to the above page from the individual provincial/territorial pages, including government and NGO links.

Partners:

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.

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.


Crisis Coming for Ontario Communities

Media
Release
October 21, 2009
Hard Hit, a new research report from the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) documents the one-two punch affecting Ontario's nonprofit community services -- an increasing demand for services and lost revenue from funding cuts driven by the economic downturn. The survey of more than 400 Ontario agencies found that 60% had experienced mostly increases in service demand since September 2008. Three-quarters of these agencies attributed the increase in demand, at least in part, to the recession. Half of the organizations surveyed also experienced a cut in at least one funding source during 2009 and 65% anticipate they will have further funding cuts in 2010. This combination of increased demands and cuts in resources spells an impending crisis in communities across Ontario.

Complete report:

Hard Hit: Impact of the Economic Downturn
on Nonprofit Community Services in Ontario
(PDF - 2.7MB, 35 pages)
October 2009
The purpose of this study was to identify the impact of the current global economic recession on nonprofit community social service agencies in Ontario, and ultimately, to assess the capacity of the sector to respond to current and emerging community needs. This survey is intended to be the first stage of an ongoing research and assessment process that will allow the SPNO to monitor the ongoing impact of the recession on agencies in Ontario.
Source:
Social Planning Network of Ontario

POWER Study (Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report)
http://www.powerstudy.ca/
The POWER Study (Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report), examined access, quality, and outcomes of care across the province using a comprehensive set of evidence-based indicators for the leading causes of disease and disability in the province and how they varied by sex, income, ethnicity and where one lives. Researchers are also providing the government with indicators and a 10–point road map (see attached) to reduce health inequities among men and women.

Researchers urge action to improve health of all Ontarians : Authors of women’s
health report develop 10-point Health Equity Road Map to move health equity forward
(PDF - 116K, 4 pages)
http://www.powerstudy.ca/sites/powerstudy.ca/files/ch_12_media_release.pdf
February 28, 2012
Media release
Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) released findings of a six-year long women’s health report they say provides government and health system players with the evidence and tools they need to drive reform to improve the health of women and men across Ontario.

Related link:

Women in the dark about massive Ontario study of female health
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1142057
March 6, 2012
By Carol Goar
It took six years, 60 researchers and $4.3 million. Finally, the most comprehensive study of women’s health ever done in Ontario — possibly anywhere — is complete. The concluding chapter — a 10-point road map to health equity — was released last week at St. Michael’s Hospital at a celebration featuring speeches, congratulations and assurances by Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews that the information in the massive tome would be put to good use.
There’s one problem: The POWER (Project for an Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-Based Report) study has received so little attention that most women don’t know it exists. Neither do their doctors.
Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com

Progressive Economics Forum
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.

Selected postings:

The Privatization of Social Housing
By Nick Falvo
November 5, 2011
Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers. The panel, entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” included myself, Vince Brescia (President and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario), John Dickie (President of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations), and Margie Carlson (Director of Policy Research and Networks at the Social Housing Services Corporation).
- [incl. speaking notes from Nick Falvo]

---

The Travails of Toronto
By Andrew Jackson
October 22, 2010
TD Economics have released an interesting if rather thin report on the Toronto recovery (PDF - 562K, 5 pages). I say thin because, while there is not a wealth of current data, we do get labour market data for the huge Toronto Census Metropolitan Area. As they show, there has been a huge loss of manufacturing jobs in the region, offset to a degree by recent job gains - unfortunately, often part time - in other sectors. And there are major grounds for concern that a lot of lower income Toronto residents are facing a pretty tough time now and moving forward. In August (which I use since we have EI data for that month also) the Toronto CMA had an above average unemployment rate of 9.1% (using the three month moving average.) Strikingly, that translates into the fact that almost exactly one in five unemployed Canadians (300,000 of 1,511,000) lived in the Toronto CMA. Statscan EI data - which TD did not look at for some reason - show that less than one in three of those Toronto unemployed workers were collecting regular EI benefits in August compared to 45% nationally. Strikingly, Toronto had one in five of the unemployed in Canada, but less than one in seven (13.7%) of Canada’s regular EI beneficiaries in August. (The EI data are not seasonally adjusted while the unemployment data are, but I don’t think that makes much of a difference since the same pattern was evident last time I looked in the Winter.) I keep hoping that someone (HRSDC? the Ontario government? the City of Toronto, the Mowat Centre? - all step forward) will take on as a research project this key question - just why do so few of Toronto’s many unemployed workers qualify for EI?
Source:
Progressive Economics Forum Blog
[ Progressive Economics Forum ]

From rabble.ca

Activist Communique: Robin Hood Doctor Under Fire for Helping the Poor
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/krystalline-kraus/2013/09/activist-communique-robin-hood-doctor-under-fire-helping-po
By Krystalline Kraus
September 7, 2013
In Toronto, Dr. Roland Wong was found guilty of professional misconduct last December for improperly prescribing the Ontario government’s Special Diet Allowance to people on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
When asked about regrets for his actions, “Regrets? Only that the government doesn’t help the poor,” Dr. Roland Wong told the Star on Monday July 29, 2013, outside of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (the College) office, where a committee is meeting to determine his penalty.

Source:
rabble.ca

http://rabble.ca/

Related link from the
World Socialist Web Site:

Toronto doctor faces sanctions for helping poor
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/08/09/toro-a09.html
By Carl Bronski
9 August 2013
Last week, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (OCPS) met to determine the sanctions to be imposed against Toronto doctor Roland Wong. The inner-city community doctor, who had come to the attention of authorities for providing a high number of special diet allowance authorizations to welfare recipients, had been found guilty of professional misconduct by the College last December. At that time, the College ruled that Wong had not taken all the necessary steps to ensure that his patients qualified for the dietary benefit.
(...)
Dubbed the “Robin Hood Doctor” by many of his patients, Wong has declared in his own defense that his diagnoses and medical assistance to the poor were entirely consistent with his Hippocratic oath and the information provided to him by his patients.
(...)
Doctors, nutritional specialists and social workers supported Wong at both the evidentiary and penalty phases of his hearing.

Source:
World Socialist Web Site

http://www.wsws.org/

- Go to the Ontario Special Diet Allowance links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/on_special_diet.htm

Raising the Roof (RTR)
"Raising the Roof is the only national charity in Canada dedicated to finding long-term solutions to homelessness"
Here are but a few samples of the comprehensive up-to-date information on homelessness  you'll find on this site :

Shared Learnings on Homelessness
"Practical tools, resources and information sharing for frontline staff, managers and volunteers working to address the problem of homelessness in their communities. Use this site to find out about initiatives in cities, towns and rural areas across Canada. Link to others working within the homelessness sector, share your experiences and learn from theirs."

NOTE: Sadly, the Recession Relief Coalition website domain name was not renewed and the site is dead.
You can find archived copies of old Coalition files at the Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/ by pasting in the old URL from the first link below.

Recession Relief Coalition
(Formerly the Recession Relief Fund Coalition )
The Recession Relief Coalition is a broad-based group of organizations and individuals concerned about the impact of the recession on Canada’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents. Over 260 organizations and over 1,100 individuals across Canada have endorsed the coalition’s call on the federal government to create a recession relief fund to prevent cuts to public and private not-for-profit agencies serving vulnerable communities, and to increase funding to support vital social services including homelessness programs and settlement services.
- incl. links to:
* home * actions (no content yet) * indicators * contact * participate * video * gallery * news * archives * blog * submit your story

Endorse the
Recession Relief Fund Declaration

- read the declaration, then scroll down the page and add your name to the growing list of supporters.

Selected site content:

This Is What the Recession Looks Like: June 2009 (PDF - 161K, 8 pages)
Research Bulletin #1
- calling for immediate government action on: * Social Assistance Reform * Unemployment Income (EI Reform * Funding for Non-Profit Sector, including Housing and Homelessness Programs
- incl. Key Facts & Trends in this Recession
Source:
Indicators

Related link:

Recession Relief Coalition:
This is what the recession looks like for Canadians

Jun 11, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
As Canada's federal government is set to release its first major report on its economic initiatives (including the multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package that was part of the January federal budget), the Recession Relief Coalition has released its own report on "what the recession looks like" this morning. The coalition is a broad-based group of more than 260 organizations and 1,100 individuals across Canada.
Some key findings from the coalition's research report:
* the number of single people on Ontario Works (provincial welfare) reached an all-time record of 130,180 in April, 2009
* Ontario's real unemployment rate (the official unemployment rate, plus people who are "discouraged" and have dropped out of the labour market, plus involuntary part-time workers) is now well into the double digits at 13.6% and is a staggering 28% for youth aged 15 to 24.
* Credit Canada (which helps people deal with debt) has had a 42% increase in new clients in the past year.
* Non-profit and community-based programs and services are being over-whelmed with growing demand; foodbanks in Toronto report that a record one million people were forced to line up for food last year.
The Recession Relief Coalition sets out a policy agenda that includes increases to federal and provincial income assistance programs (including welfare and employment insurance); plus increased funding for the non-profit sector, including housing and homelessness programs.
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]

---

[NOTE: the content below is still located
on the original Recession Relief website.]

Combating Poverty, Homelessness and
Hunger: Create a Peace Dividend
(PDF - 65K, 7 pages)
By Cathy Crowe (Street Nurse and Atkinson Economic Justice Fellow)
June 1, 2009
"(...) Canadians need and want a peace dividend that is an investment in people not destruction. In the meantime however, this recession further necessitates program spending that will provide emergency recession relief – monies to expand Employment Insurance benefits, bolster provincial social assistance rates, prevent evictions, and expand emergency life saving services such as food and shelter."

Employment Insurance Reform and Poverty (PDF - 83K, 3 pages)
Submission to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills, Social Development
and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
By the Toronto City Summit Alliance
May 31, 2009 (in connection with appearance on June 2, 2009)

Brief submitted to the House of Commons
Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and
Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
(PDF - 146K, 7 pages)
June 1, 2009
By John Stapleton
(on behalf of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation)
Topics:
* Federal Government Role in Canada's Social Safety net
* Disparity in responses to poverty and social policy at the Provincial and Territorial level
* Needlessly Prolonging the Recession

Testimony to the
Standing Committee on Human Resources,
Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
(Word file - 24K, 3 pages)
by John Andras
Co Founder Recession Relief Coalition and Chair of SKETCH
"(...) The need for emergency funding to be made available to the agencies feeding, clothing, sheltering and counseling the victims of the recession is clear and pressing. Governments need to respond to the reality that demand is growing and non-government funding is falling. "

Ronzig

Down But Not Out
Reflexions and digital photo art by Ronzig depicting homeless people and their environment.
[Ronzig was homeless in Toronto for ten years ending in 2005.]
- incl. links to:
* What it means to be homeless * Poverty is the Primary Cause of Homelessness * The Political Scene * War * Death and Disease * Drugs Addiction * Society * Chat with Ronzig * Public Speaking * Videos * Contact-and-links * Our Best Hope * Events * Media

NOTE: The images that appear on the pages of the above site are, in the words of the artist, "...a multimedia merging of photography, computer manipulation and acrylic painting producing unique artwork". If you're impressed as I was with the originality and beauty of Ronzig's photographic art, the link below will take you to a whole collection of similar work by the same artist.

Ronzig's Photographic Art Portfolio - incl. links if you wish to order prints
["My Best Work" - samples of Ronzig's photos]
[ Ronzig's Facebook page ]

---

TORONTO --- SEPTEMBER 25, 2011

World premiere of When the Middle Class Becomes Homeless, a documentary by Toronto homelessness activist Ronzig (Ron Carver) about the descent of the middle class into homelessness to be shown at a joint venue with the Toronto International Film Festival and the Commffest Global Community Film Festival.

Commffest Global Film Festival (Toronto)
September 22-25, 2011
"...screening over 50 new films from communities around the world that address social and cultural issues, with more than half being Canadian."
The theme of the Commffest Film Festival this year is homelessness. Festival organizers approached Toronto homelessness activist Ronzig (Ron Carver) and asked him to produce a film documentary on the topic. The world premiere of the resulting 35-minute short subject, entitled When the Middle Class Becomes Homeless, will be screened on Sunday, September 25.

When the middle class becomes homeless (Web trailer, duration : 4:52)
By Ronzig (Ron Craven)
Interviews from the downtown core of Toronto.
Ron discovers the growing epidemic of homelessness among the middle class.

Go to http://www.commffest.com/ to learn how you can attend this premiere or how to obtain a copy of the film for yourself.

[ 15 more videos by Ronzig ]

Ronzig is a Digital Photo Artist and social activist, ex homeless addict in Toronto explores people and places from a unique perspective emphasizing the lifestyle of those forgotten members of our society whose suffering has been neglected for too long and compares their circumstances with the accepted norm. His art, photography and commentary provide an exceptional opportunity to understand social trends in Toronto at the outset of the 21st century.

See also:

Ronzig's Gallery - Ronzig's art is a multimedia merging of photography, computer manipulation and acrylic painting producing unique artwork suitable for the office the home or institutional installations.

Ronzig's Facebook page

Rupert Coalition (Toronto) - (Rooming houses, boarding homes) "...to create new housing and ensure upgrades to existing housing for low income people"

From
St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto)

Building on evidence: 13 things to include in Ontario’s
municipal homelessness reduction strategies, a resource

http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/crich/reports/building-on-evidence/
October 2013
In 2013, as a result of the province’s Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative [ http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page9183.aspx ], municipalities across Ontario are in the process of re-designing their strategies to address homelessness and housing stability. This document summarizes what many researchers at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health see as essential elements for successful homelessness reduction strategies. It is meant for community representatives, policy-makers, program administrators, funders and frontline workers.

Complete report:

13 things to include in Ontario’s municipal homelessness reduction strategies:
A resource from the Centre for Research on Inner City Health
(PDF - 152K, 12 pages)
http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/crich/wp-content/uploads/buildingonevidence10222013.pdf
RECOMMENDATIONS:
* Take on racism and discrimination at every level of the housing and homelessness prevention system.
* Make housing quality a criterion for housing stability.
* Make respite care available.
* Match people to the level of care and support they need.
* Offer housing first.
* Make sure people have meaningful choice.
* Work from a harm reduction framework.
* Take a trauma-informed approach.
* Provide appropriate, multi-disciplinary supports, not just a place to live.
* Pay attention to transitions.
* Create an accountable evaluation strategy that is able to deal with complexity.
* Be accountable to people who are facing homelessness or are precariously housed.
* Offer a high level of mandatory training and skilled supervision for people working in the homelessness reduction system.

Source:
St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto)
http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/

St. Christopher House (Toronto) --- [ see my beautiful St. Chris T-shirt! ]
"Established in 1912, St. Christopher House is a non sectarian social services agency located in west central Toronto, with six facilities and a wide range of programs, including : programs for older adults, people with disabilities and their care givers; the Woman Abuse Program; the Settlement and Adult Education Program; the Programs for Children and Youth; the Music School; Employment Programs; a drop in for socially isolated adults; a supportive housing project; and Parkdale Focus Community Project."

About St. Chris - History - Our Locations

Children and Youth - incl. links to : Music Room - Alcohol & Drug Prevention Programs - Toronto Youth Job Corps - Graffitti Transformation Project - Parent Support to Newcomers

Programs for Adults - incl. links to : Learning - Employment Services - Newcomer Services - Financial Advocacy and Problem Solving - The Meeting Place - Violence Against Women and Children - Toronto Youth Job Corps - Alcohol & Drug Prevention Programs

Older Adults - incl. links to : Alzheimer and Frail Elderly Day Programs - Alcohol & Drug Prevention Programs - Caregiver Counselling/Groups - Caregiver Training - Client Intervention and Assistance (CIA) - Elderly Persons' Centre - Friendly Visiting - Group Effectiveness and Leadership (GEL) - Health Action Theatre - Home Help/Homemaking - Meals on Wheels - Personal Care - Respite Care - Supportive Housing - Telephone Reassurance - Transportation - FAQ - Intake

Get Involved - incl. links to : Volunteering - Community Development - Donations

Community Issues - Community Development - Income - Health - Immigration and Settlement - Contact Information

Community Undertaking Social Policy Project (CUSP)
- the St. Chris work of Richard Shillington and John Stapleton

Income Security Strategies for Working Age Adults
This St. Christopher House project is a three-stage process involving diverse stakeholders "to develop practical, responsive and 'modern' strategies for income security for working-age people in Ontario."
- incl. detailed info about the project and related papers, including the final report (see the link below under "selected reports")

Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults
- Research Agenda
(October 2004, PDF file - 164K, 24 pages)
-
(Draft) Profiles of Five Low Income Working Age Adults (October 2004, PDF file - 96K, 13 pages)

Assets - A community development framework
Asset Policy- Learn$ave

Selected St. Chris reports:

Alliance tackles welfare reform - Ontario/Canada
Oct. 25, 2004
By Carol Goar
Toronto City Summit Alliance teams up with St. Christopher House to help improve income support for working age adults
"They are launching — and paying for — a non-governmental review of the safety nets that are failing millions of low-income adults. They intend to build public support for a modern, sustainable income security system. (...) Using its contacts in the senior echelons of business, academe and public life, it hopes to mount a powerful campaign to fix what is wrong."
Source:
The Toronto Star

Related Links:

Toronto City Summit Alliance
St. Christopher House

NOTE: scroll down the page you're now reading to the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults

Enabling Families to Succeed:
Community-Based Supports for Families

By Susan Pigott, C.E.O. and Lidia Monaco, Director of Children, Youth and Family Services
St. Christopher House, Toronto
Presented at Making Children Matter Conference
October 2004
"How can we improve children’s lives? Susan Pigott and Lidia Monaco from St. Christopher House in Toronto argue society must first recognize that children are a part of families. Therefore, to improve the lives of children, our policies and actions must consistently work to enable families to succeed. Pigott and Monaco report on the conditions which disable far too many families and outline four prerequisites for family success."
Complete Text:
HTML version
PDF version (39K, 5 pages)
Source:
Voices for Children
["Voices for Children promotes the well-being of children and youth in Ontario by disseminating information to influence policy, practice and awareness."]
Voices for Children Report Index - links to two dozen reports from 2002 to 2004

What Works When Work Doesn’t?”
Income Security Strategies For Working-Age Adults
(PDF file - 204K, 30 pages)
Project Report
June 24, 2004
"Income Security Strategies for Working-Age Adults (...) explores options for developing practical, responsive and modern strategies for income security for working-age people in Ontario and Canada."
- incl. analysis of the treatment of assets under provincial-territorial welfare programs and, among the the proposed strategies for working-age adults, suggests that assets should be protected and allowed to grow beyond current levels within welfare programs.

From pleasure to terror:
Why unexpected money is a problem for the poor
(PDF file - 107K, 5 pages)
January 2004
"The purpose of this commentary is to build support for assets based approaches to poverty reduction such as those proposed by Social Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI) in the context of Learn$ave and St. Christopher House in its Registered Development Savings Plan (RDSP) proposals. It was prepared by John Stapleton, Community Undertaking Social Policy (CUSP) Fellow at St. Christopher House and Massey College.

For more info on RDSPs, see the Asset-Based Social Policies Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/assets.htm

Presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance (PDF file - 150K, 1 page)
by Susan Pigott and John Stapleton
November 6, 2003

Registered Development Savings Plan (RDSP) : A Proposal for a Tax Prepaid Savings Plan
Exempt from Welfare Restrictions on Assets and Income
(PDF file - 319K, 26 pages)
November 2003 (Revised Dec. 2003)
- Pre-Budget Submission to the House of Commons Committee on Finance

RDSP Questions and Answers (PDF file - 75K, 3 pages)

Learning from the Public and the Lived Experience of St. Christopher House Participants (PDF file - 467K, 11 pages)
Personal impressions by John Stapleton, retired Ontario government bureaucrat, after his first seven months at St. Christopher House.

What Could Be Done (PDF file - 103K, 6 pages)
Richard Shillington offers "a very unstructured list (...) of various flaws, problems, screw-ups in the design of support programs which could be corrected" --- 14 specific 'fixes' for programs like Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan, provincial-territorial welfare programs and the income tax system, to help improve the financial well-being of people with low income. Several of the suggestions focus on asset retention strategies for people on low income and households on welfare. This list originally appeared on Richard's website early in 2002.
[ Tristat Resources - Richard Shillington's website ]

Punished for their providence (PDF file - 131K, 2 pages)
December 3, 2003
Carol Goar (Toronto Star)
"Their instincts were bravely right, their plans pathetically wrong. Three single parents came to John Stapleton at St. Christopher House, asking how to start a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). He told them they'd be crazy to do it."

Settlement.Org - "Providing newcomers with information and answers to settle in Ontario, Canada"
- links to a wealth of information, including : Community and Recreation - Education - Health - Immigration & Citizenship - Legal Services - Consumer Information - Employment - Housing - Language and Literacy - Social Services - Discuss - Events - FAQs - First Days - Forms - Organizations - News - Quizzes - Reference Shelf - and more...


Skills for Change

"
Providing learning and training opportunities for immigrants and refugees so that they can participate in the workplace and wider community."
- incl. links to information about the following programs and services : Clerical Employment Services - Employment Assistant Services - Employment Preparation for Retail Services - Finance and Office Assistant Program - Job Search Workshop - Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada - Mentoring - Sector-specific information sessions - Sector Terminology Information and Counselling - Tech@Skills - Work Search for foreign-trained teachers and Engineers
To navigate this site, use the drop-down menu at the top of the page or go to the "About SFC" page.
Here are a few sample pages on this site:
Links to Other Sites - Links to business directories, community agencies and job banks
SfCeNews Newsletter - Monthly e-mail newsletter about SFC programs and services

Social Assistance in the New Economy (SANE)
[Ernie Lightman, Andy Mitchell, Dean Herd]
The Social Assistance in the New Economy (SANE) project, established in 2002, is a multi-year, multi-disciplinary inquiry into the changing nature of social assistance in Ontario and its relation to precarious employment and health in a globalizing economy. Funded primarily by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through five major grants to date, the research program comprises a number of complementary projects which are investigating the welfare and post-welfare experiences of social assistance recipients, as well as the labour market experiences of those precariously employed. Our methodologies include primary data collection through qualitative in-depth interviews, ethnographic research, and secondary analysis of large data sets such as the SLID, CCHS and NPHS. Aside from publishing extensively in the academic literature, SANE has advised various non-profit community-based agencies and governments on policies towards income support for those with low incomes.

* Research Team
* Grants
* Publications
* Presentations

Source:
University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work

Selected SANE papers and reports:

Precarious Lives: Work, Health
and Hunger among Current and Former
Welfare Recipients in Toronto
(PDF - 177K, 18 pages)
2008
By Andrew Mitchell, Ernie Lightman and Dean Herd
Andrew Mitchell
ABSTRACT.
This article explores the impact of welfare reform in Ontario, Canada, by reporting on three rounds of annual, in-depth qualitative interviews with a longitudinal panel of current and former welfare recipients in Toronto. Two years after they were first interviewed, participants continued to live precarious lives, both on welfare and off. Whether “welfare poor” or “working poor,” most respondents reported compromised hunger status, fear of, as well as actual hunger and monotonous diets lacking necessary nutrition. These findings provide valuable insight into longer-term impacts on labor market restructuring and welfare reform on health and hunger among the vulnerable and marginalized and offer direction to policymakers in response.

Welfare Time Limits: Symbolism and Practice (Word file - 114K, 26 pages)
2008
By Dean Herd, Ernie Lightman and Andrew Mitchell
This paper examines time limits on the receipt of welfare, based on experiences in the United States and, since 2002, in British Columbia, the only province to have introduced time limits in Canada. In effect, time limits start a 'clock' running and when the time has expired, welfare recipients become subject to penalties, up to lifetime exclusion from welfare.
The paper begins by describing the introduction of time limits in the US and Canada, detailing the often complex policies themselves. It then reviews the research evidence, drawing primarily on the US experience which has been more fully evaluated. Overall, the research shows that time limits are both philosophically flawed and a blunt and ineffective policy tool. Proponents of time limits advocate their use as part of a package of measures designed to change the behaviour of individuals and to reduce welfare "dependency". Instead, the research shows that those who reach time limits face multiple barriers to employment.
NOTE: recommended reading - this paper contains an excellent overview of the evolution of the welfare time limit rule from bad idea to non-issue in BC.

Poverty is making us sick : A comprehensive survey
of income and health in Canada
(PDF - 522K, 39 pages)
By Ernie Lightman Ph.D, Andrew Mitchell and Beth Wilson
December 2008
"(...) the poorest one-fifth of Canadians, when compared to the richest twenty percent, have:
• more than double the rate of diabetes and heart disease;
• a sixty percent greater rate of two or more chronic health conditions;
• more than three times the rate of bronchitis;
• nearly double the rate of arthritis or rheumatism."
Source:
Partners in this report include:
Social Assistance in the New Economy
Wellesley Institute
Community Social Planning Council of Toronto

Related Toronto Star article:

Higher pay, better health
December 2, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten

Poverty is making Canadians sick, robbing thousands of their health and creating huge costs to the public health-care system, says a new report to be released today. But boosting incomes of the poor – even by $1,000 per year – can lead to significant health improvements, says the report by the University of Toronto's Social Assistance in the New Economy program. (...) The study, based on the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey, found that every $1,000 increase in income for the poor resulted in nearly 10,000 fewer chronic health care problems.
Source:
healthzone.ca
[ part of the Toronto Star ]

Workfare in Toronto: More of the Same? (PDF file - 81K, 13 pages)
December 2005 - Manuscript accepted for publication by the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.

One Year On: Tracking the Experiences of a panel of social assistance recipients in Toronto (PDF file - 105K, 21 pages)
2005 - Manuscript accepted for publication by the Journal of Poverty.

Rituals of Degradation: Administration as Policy in the Ontario Works Program (PDF file - 182K, 27 pages)
February 2005--- in Journal of Social Policy and Administration, 39, 1: 65-79.

Cutting Caseloads by Design (PDF file - 47K, 6 pages)
Spring/Summer 2003 --- in Canadian Review of Social Policy, 51, Spring/Summer: 114-120.

Rhetoric and Retrenchment: Ontario's 'Common Sense' Welfare Reform (PDF file - 51K, 7 pages)
2002 --- in Benefits, 34, 10, 2: 105-110.

Reports

* Notes on the Service Delivery Model for Ontario Works (Word file - 91K, 15 pages)
December 2004
Prepared for the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults of the Toronto City Summit Alliance

* Discouraged, Diverted and Disentitled: Low Income Ontarians Experience with Ontario Works (PDF file - 224K, 48 pages)
2002

Also from the same authors (but on a different website):

Rituals of Degradation:
How Ontario Works’ Administrative Process
Discourages, Diverts and Disentitles (PDF file - 71K, 17 pages)
Dean Herd, Andrew Mitchell and Ernie Lightman
Social Assistance in the New Economy (SANE)
Faculty of Social Work (University of Toronto)
Prepared for “Welfare-to-Work: The Next Generation. A National Forum.”
November 16-18, 2003, St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Social Edge - "A monthly social justice and faith magazine"

Ontario Government makes distinctions between worthy and unworthy poor
Article by Reuel S. Amdur
April 2002
"While there is something to be said for implementing programs that replace social assistance, ODSP [the Ontario Disability Support Program] is not such a program. It is still a social assistance program, and it still embodies the prejudiced notions about the worthy and the unworthy."

Social Planning Council of Ottawa
"...the SPC uses modern research and communication methods and works with Ottawa's social agencies, concerned residents and decision-makers to understand and advocate the social needs of our new city. The SPC is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, charitable organization run by an elected Board of Directors. "
- incl. links to : About SPC | Research | Mapping | Membership | What's New | Networks | Publications | Newsletter | Donations | Contact Us | Français | Site Map

Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

Women and Poverty in Hamilton (PDF file - 380K, 4 pages)
May 16, 2006
"It is widely reported that 20 percent or 95,000 Hamiltonians are living in low income. Less understood, however, is that poverty is not gender neutral. Poverty in Hamilton has a female face that often goes unreported. Women are far more likely to live in poverty than are men. In Hamilton, women make up 52 percent of the adult population but they represent almost 60 percent of those living in poverty. "


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 : a definition of independent community-based social planning - a list of all SPNO member organizations with website and e-mail links - a list of SPNO projects and some project descriptions - links to various government sites and other sites related to social planning.

Working with Census Data – Ontario’s Social Landscape:
Socio-demographic trends and conditions in communities

September 8, 2010
Many of the Social Planning Network of Ontario’s (SPNO) members in collaboration with the Community Social Data Strategy purchase Census data as a consortium to produce reports of the like of this latest report, Ontario’s Social Landscape: Socio-demographic trends and conditions in communities across the province. The report provides valuable information about Ontario and its evolving communities. Chalk-full of demographic and socio-economic data, the report is offered as a resource for program planning, needs assessments, advocacy initiatives, public policy development, research projects and more.
Found in:
datalibre.ca

Download Full Report (PDF - 4.9MB, 126 pages)
June 2010

Download Report Summary (PDF - 221K, 2 pages)
September 8, 2010

Source:
Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO)
SPNO is a coalition of social planning councils, community development councils, 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.

- Go to the Census 2011 questionnaire links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/2011_census_questionnaire.htm

For more on SPNO and poverty reduction, see Poverty Watch (higher up on this page)

Social Planning Toronto
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/
Social Planning Toronto is committed to building a civic society: one in which diversity, equity, social and economic justice, interdependence and active civic participation are central to all aspects of our lives.

Selected site content:

SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/2HyeXd
June 5, 2014
[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

In this issue:

Social Planning Toronto - Election 2014 Issues Sheets
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/reports/spt-launches-provincial-election-fact-sheets/
Topics : Arts - Child Care - Environment - Public Transit - Public Education - Post-Secondary Education - Public Space - Social Assistance - Good Jobs - Minimum Wage -
Migrant Workers - Newcomers - Affordable Housing Strategy - Creating Affordable Housing - Tenant Issues - Housing, Health and the Economy
---
Also in this issue:
* SPT Research and Policy Forum- Participatory Budgeting
* Film Screening: CRISIS OF DISTRUST
* SPT Membership
* News from our Partners
* Interesting Reads
* Worth Repeating

More issues of SOUNDBITES
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk4.htm#spt
- this link will take you to the Social Planning Toronto section of the NGO links page of this site:

SPT Member Organizations
http://socialplanningtoronto.org/about-us/member-organizations
- links to over 130 member organizations in Toronto, from ACCESS EMPLOYMENT to YWCA of Greater Toronto

Source:
Social Planning Toronto
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/
For more than 50 years, SPT and its predecessor organizations have served as a vital voice for the non-profit community sector in Toronto – conducting research and supporting community mobilization that has made a real difference for our organizations, our communities, and the most vulnerable residents in our city.


Earlier issues of SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin:


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/GeakN7
April 16, 2014
[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

This issue:

* SPT's 2014 Annual General Meeting- April 29
* City of Toronto Strategy to Reduce and Eliminate Poverty
* SPT Executive Director's Forum- Election 2014- May 5
* Research Participants: Access to Ont. Post-Secondary Education for Non-Status Immigrants
* Decent Work, Decent Lives Campaign
* Join SPT!
* SPT Partner News
* Interesting Reads
* Worth Repeating:
Income inequality: How you doin'?
Joe Fiorito (Toronto Star), March 26, 2014
"The people on top don't give a damn; pass the gravy, please. The people stuck in the middle hiss like geese at the thought of losing what they have. And the poor are quietly drowning."


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/E58IVl
January 15, 2014

[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

In this issue:

* 2014 City Budget- Lots to report
* City Councillor Budget Townhalls- Have your say!
* City Budget Resources
* City Budget- What happens next?
* Solid Waste Charges for Charities and Non-profits- A correction
* SPT Forum- Social Impact Bonds: The Future of Non-Profit Funding?
* Call for Nominations- Frances Lankin Community Service Award
* Mark your calendar for these SPT and social planning event dates
* SPT is hiring! Part-time Communications Officer
* SPT membership- Sign up today!
* SPT Partner News
* Interesting Reads
* Worth Repeating


SPT Soundbites- e-bulletin
Special edition: City Budget 2014

http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a8f54eab94acd8c455bb09550&id=4c6552de74&e=f39c876800
November 28, 2013

Contents:
* Toward a Poverty Elimination Strategy for the City of Toronto
* City of Toronto 2014 Budget released
* Join SPT Budget Forums happening today!
* Give a Budget Deputation
* Budget meetings in your ward?


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/DXTaZ
July 3, 2013

[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

This issue:
* Community Engagement Award for Social Planning Toronto
* Triple Threat to Equity Update
* Affordable Housing Forum focuses on action!
New Report: It All Begins with Space
News from our Partners
Interesting Reads
Worth Repeating: "Permanent Resident Voting Isn't 'Backward'- It's Back to the Future"


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/QXhhc
June 19, 2013
[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

This issue:
* Come Together Right Now: Jobs & Workers' rights
* Should the TDSB spend money it receives to support students in need, or on computers for the richest schools?
* Congratulations to SPT Director- Community Engagement Winston Tinglin on his retirement!
* News from our Partners
* Something to think about
* Worth Repeating: Toronto City Council backs radical change to ranked ballots and letting non-citizens participate


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
February 13, 2013
http://goo.gl/JaZg45

[NOTE : Click the link above to access any of the articles below and related links]

This issue:

* City Budget Roundup 2014
* Commitment2Community
* SPT in the News- "Civic leaders support call for Toronto anti-poverty plan"
* SPT Board of Directions- Call for Nominations
* Last call for nominations and tickets available for Frances Lankin Award Night
* SPT Executive Director Breakfast- March 5
* Social Planning Network of Ontario- National Household Survey
* SPT Membership
* News from our Partners
* Interesting Reads
* Worth Repeating: "Budgets should help citizens, not just 'taxpayers'"


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
December 21, 2012 issue
http://goo.gl/WfL7b
In this issue:
* Social Planning Toronto’s 2013 Symposium
* "In School Out of School Time" Research and Policy Forum Summary
* Reporting Back from the “Action on Poverty” Community Forum
* Year-End Update on 2013 City Budget: Some Progress, More Work to Do
* Charity Garbage Fee Update: Reprieved for 2013!
* SPT Member Forums: "Fair Is Fair: Meet Toronto’s Ombudsman"
* Save The Date – 2013 Frances Lankin Community Service Award
* Farewell and Thanks
* Worth Repeating: Social Planning Toronto's Deputation to the City of Toronto Budget Committee


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
http://goo.gl/Zinhh
June 26, 2012

In this issue:
* Reporting back from the "Action on Poverty" Profile Release Event
* Register for the July 10 SPT Member Forum: "Cost Containment: A “Nuts and Bolts” response to the Austerity Agenda"
* West Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (WCOHH)
* Worth Repeating: Toronto school board’s permit fee hike destructive, sports groups say


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin - July 21, 2011
Contents:
1. Core Service Review Suggests Eliminating or Reducing Community Grants
2. July 29 SPT Research and Policy Forum
3. SPT Member Forum on Social Assistance Review
4. Worth Repeating: A Poverty Free Ontario
5. News from our Partners
6. Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
7. About Social Planning Toronto


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin - May 30, 2011
This issue:
* Registration is Now Open for Social Planning Toronto’s June Research & Policy Forum
* Proceedings from SPT’s 2011 Research & Policy Roundtable Forum, “Who’s in Charge?” Now Available
* Share your thoughts about School Fundraising with the Ministry of Education
* "Tenant Voice, Tenant Homes" - SPT's Deputation to the Executive Committee, May 24, 2011
* Partner News & Events
* Worth Repeating: Stupid Rules
* Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
* About Social Planning Toronto


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin - December 16, 2010
In this issue:
* Save The Date - Frances Lankin Community Tribute – February 16
* The Real Cost of Public Education
* Save the Census Campaign Update
* City Budget Watch – Mark Your Calendars
* SPT hosts “Can We Talk?” The Relationship between the Nonprofit Sector and the Ontario Government
* News From Our Partners
* Worth Repeating - Goar: Unease grows over inequality
* Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
* About Social Planning Toronto
* Join us on Twitter & Facebook


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin - December 1, 2010
This issue:
* Research & Policy Forum: "Can we talk?" The relationship between the nonprofit sector and the Ontario government. (Dec 9, 2010)
* Save The Census Campaign Update (scroll down the page you're now reading for more on this campaign)
* Taking Action on Housing
* News From Our Partners
* Worth Repeating - Workers bear burden of provincial ‘restraint’
* Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
* About Social Planning Toronto
* Join us on Twitter & Facebook
[ SOUNDBITES Archive - links to 20 issues ]


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin
October 15, 2010
This issue:

1. TORONTO VOTES fact sheets available for download
2. Candidates Step Up to the Plate on Poverty!
3. Common Ground Symposium Draft Proceedings PDF Now Available for Download
4. One Third of Toronto Candidates Pledge to Make the City’s Budget Process More Open, Inclusive and Participatory
5. One Toronto - A Call To Action
6. Update - York South –Weston Local Immigration Partnership Project
7. "Footprint On The City" Report Released by SPT
8. Toronto Community Resource Guide for Non-Status Immigrants - 2010
9. News From Our Partners
10. Worth Repeating - Not all Torontonians get to vote
11. Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
12. About Social Planning Toronto
13. Join us on Twitter & Facebook
Source:
Social Planning Toronto

Also from
Social Planning Toronto:

SavetheCensus.ca
Join the fight to save the Long Form Census in Canada!
This website was created and is hosted and maintained by Social Planning Toronto

Related links:
Go to the Census 2011 questionnaire links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/2011_census_questionnaire.htm


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin : September 16, 2010
In this issue:
1. REGISTER TODAY for "Common Ground - Schools as Community Hubs: The Vision, The Challenge, The Opportunity"
2. SPT Toronto Votes Kits are now available online.
3. Ontario’s Social Landscape Paints the Picture of Local Communities Across the Province
4. Student Placements at SPT
5. News From Our Partners
6. Worth Repeating
7. Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
8. About Social Planning Toronto
9. Join us on Twitter & Facebook


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin : August 31, 2010
In this issue:
1. REGISTER TODAY for "Common Ground - Schools as Community Hubs: The Vision, The Challenge, The Opportunity"
2. Coming Together to Address Poverty in Toronto – Establishing Roots for Community Action
3. Social Planning Toronto helps lead the “Save the Census” Campaign
4. SPT Member Forum Responds to “Partnership Project”
5. News From Our Partners
6. Worth Repeating - How Census-Gate Will Change Canada
7. Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
8. About Social Planning Toronto
9. Join us on Twitter & Facebook


SOUNDBITES e-Bulletin : May 26, 2010
In this issue:
1. SPT Annual General Meeting
2. SPT Community Planning Forum: "Moving Forward, Breaking Through!"
3. SPT Research & Policy Forum: "Mending Canada’s Frayed Social Safety Net: The Role of Municipal Governments”
4. The Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL) Project
5. 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction - Leadership Forum Report
6. Colour of Change - Forum Report
7. Update on Participation and Activity Limitations (PAL) Survey
8. York South – Weston Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)
9. Report on Foreign Workers and CERIS blog
10. Ontario Government and Trillium Foundation Launch “Partnership Project” with Non-Profit Sector
11. Social Planning Toronto Updates
12. News From Our Partners
13. Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
14. About Social Planning Toronto
15. Join us on Twitter & Facebook


Social Planning Toronto and The Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto Release 44 “Action on Poverty” Ward Profiles
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/news/action-on-poverty-ward-profiles/
June 6, 2012
By Jeremy
The Alliance for a Poverty -Free Toronto and Social Planning Toronto have released a series of 44 “Action on Poverty” profiles – one for each ward in the City of Toronto. These profiles provide basic information about the numbers and demographics of individuals living in poverty in Toronto, as well as comparisons with the city-wide statistics for the same indicators.

NOTE : Click on the link above to access links to profiles for each of the 44 wards, along with one poverty profile for the entire City of Toronto (see the next link below). The PDF file for each ward is 2 pages and approx. 350K in size. The link to the City of Toronto poverty profile appears immediately below.

Action on Poverty Profile – City of Toronto (PDF - 356K, 2 pages)
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Action-on-Poverty-Profile-City-of-Toronto.pdf
Almost one quarter of Torontonians are living in poverty, with the rates around one-third for children and youth. Racialized groups, newcomers, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities and lone parents face distressingly high rates of poverty, disproportionately affecting those most marginalized.

Also included on the same page:

Action on Poverty Profile – Destitution Day Information (PDF - 184K, 1 page)
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Action-on-Poverty-Profile-Dday-info.pdf
This document explains how we arrived at the calculation of June 7 as Destitution Day.

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

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.

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...

RESEARCH TIP WITHIN
A RESEARCH TIP:
The Committee transcripts are just that - a written record of what was presented at Committee hearings. But hearings are time-limited, so the accepted practice is for groups to submit a brief in support of their oral presentation. It's sometimes a challenge to find those submissions on the government consultation website, but if you go to the website of any organization whose presentation is included in any Committee transcript, I'll bet you dimes to doughnuts that you'll find a link to that group's official pre-budget submission, as in the case of the SPT presentation by John Campey, whose oral presentation appears in the February 3 Committee transcript.

[ 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...]

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

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

Social Planning Toronto Community News
- blog format - the content at the above link changes each time a new blog entry is posted.

Toronto and Ottawa Raise Their Voices on Housing!
Housing Network of Ontario Update
Posted August 4, 2009
Low-income tenants and affordable housing advocates raised their voices in support of a meaningful, long-term plan to address the housing crisis in Ontario at four consultations held in the past week in Scarborough, downtown Toronto and Ottawa. Housing Network of Ontario members and supporters came out in force, with capacity crowds at each of the housing consultation meetings.

---

Submit a Brief to Federal Pre-Budget Consultations
Posted August 4, 2009
The federal budget consultation process is accepting briefs from individuals and community organizations until August 14th. This is a great opportunity to speak out for EI reform and pensions. The deadline to submit a written brief is August 14, 2009 and they can be sent to Jean-Francois Page, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance, at fina@parl.gc.ca

---

Toronto’s Social Landscape – 10-Year Trends, 1996-2006
June 2009
Complete report (PDF - 4.2MB, 49 pages)
Executive Summary
Toronto’s Social Landscape is a new resource for organizations and community groups that use demographic and socio-economic data in their work – to assist in program planning, needs assessments, funding submissions, advocacy initiatives, public policy development and research projects. This report draws on 10 years of Census data, and additional data sources, to paint a picture of Toronto’s population and the major trends impacting its residents and institutions.

---

Toronto and Ottawa Raise Their Voices on Housing!
Housing Network of Ontario Update
Posted August 4, 2009
Low-income tenants and affordable housing advocates raised their voices in support of a meaningful, long-term plan to address the housing crisis in Ontario at four consultations held in the past week in Scarborough, downtown Toronto and Ottawa. Housing Network of Ontario members and supporters came out in force, with capacity crowds at each of the housing consultation meetings.

---

Submit a Brief to Federal Pre-Budget Consultations
Posted August 4, 2009
The federal budget consultation process is accepting briefs from individuals and community organizations until August 14th. This is a great opportunity to speak out for EI reform and pensions. The deadline to submit a written brief is August 14, 2009 and they can be sent to Jean-Francois Page, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance, at fina@parl.gc.ca

---

Toronto’s Social Landscape – 10-Year Trends, 1996-2006
June 2009
Complete report (PDF - 4.2MB, 49 pages)
Executive Summary
Toronto’s Social Landscape is a new resource for organizations and community groups that use demographic and socio-economic data in their work – to assist in program planning, needs assessments, funding submissions, advocacy initiatives, public policy development and research projects. This report draws on 10 years of Census data, and additional data sources, to paint a picture of Toronto’s population and the major trends impacting its residents and institutions.

---

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)

Uninsured: Why EI is Failing Working Ontarians
News Release
Posted May 25, 2009
(...) In 2008, approximately 1 in 5 unemployed workers in Toronto were eligible for EI. While unemployed workers were struggling to make ends meet, the accumulated surplus of EI premiums soared to over $54 billion.

Complete report:

UNINSURED: Why EI is Failing Working Ontarians (PDF - 2.7MB, 25 pages)
May 2009

Source:
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

Social Policy in Ontario (SPON)
This site is designed as a tool for public reporting about social programs in Ontario. Initiated with the help of SSHRC funding, and support from the Ontario Social Development Council, the Online Guide to Social Policy in Ontario combines the resources of faculty and students at Laurentian University to generate a 'macro' view of the human service system. It is intended to facilitate access to information and analysis, and to encourage debate about the adequacy of social programs in Ontario.

- incl. links to resources in the following areas:
* Child & Family * Education * Employment * Equality * Governance * Health * Inclusion * Social Security
- includes links to Provincial Social Planning Councils and Organizations in Ontario and to other social planning and research resources (national/international).

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.

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.

Links - 200+ online resources for social activists!

Sparrow Lake Alliance
"The Sparrow Lake Alliance, founded in 1989 [by the late Dr. Paul Steinhauer], is a voluntary coalition of professionals from all Ontario sectors that work with children, including educators, social workers, lawyers, physicians, and many others. The Sparrow Lake Alliance fosters a vision of inter-sectoral collaboration and integration to produce better outcomes for Ontario’s children."
NOTE for the uninitiated: this site is not about Sparrow Lake, as you might think.
It's about better outcomes for Ontario's children, but its content will be of interest to anyone working in the field of family and children's services.
Site Map - this is a huge site; I recommend using the site map to get an overview of the rich content you'll find here...
- incl. links to : | What's New | Events | Forum | Alliance | Task Forces | Publications | Links | Site Map | Contact Us | Help + much more
Here's just some of the information you can find here: Current Issues (Ontario's "Clawback" of the National Child Benefit Supplement - The Youth Criminal Justice Act -
Social Inclusion) - The Sparrow Lake Alliance Task Forces - Alliance Resources - Conferences of Interest Conferences of Interest - Archived Conference Proceedings - Key People - Open Discussions - Forum - Donation Form - History of Sparrow Lake Alliance - Tribute Dr. Paul Steinhauer - Children in Limbo Task Force - Education Task Force - Children, Youth & the Law Task Force - Major Papers - Task Force Reports - Address and Contacts - much more

What's New

Stable and Affordable Housing in Ontario

Stableandaffordable.com
Welcome to stableandaffordable.com – an initiative of the Wellesley Institute and many partners across Ontario. Here, you’ll find plenty of facts and figures about housing in Ontario, along with stories from people around the province, and tips for actions that you can take to ensure everyone in Ontario has a stable and affordable home. Stableandaffordable.com is an initiative of the Wellesley Institute and the Ontario Housing Network. We are a network of organizations dedicated to one goal: stable and affordable housing for all Canadians.
[Note: the Housing Network of Ontario doesn't appear to have its own website per se.]

Tell us your housing story!

Helpful Resources
- incl. links to selected key resources on housing and homelessness in Ontario:
*Where’s Home 2008 * National Housing Report Card 2008 * Housing and Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy * Key elements of an Ontario housing strategy: A policy dispatch from Poverty Watch Ontario * Consultation principles * Ottawa report card: The Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness fourth annual report card * Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto (Wellesley Institute, 2006)

Selected site content:

The Housing Network of Ontario has released its
"Five Tests for a Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy"
April 19, 2010
Building the Foundation for Ontario’s Future: 5 Tests for Success of Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, summarizes what thousands of low-income Ontarians and advocates expect of the government’s promised Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, due to be released in June.

Download the report:

Building the Foundation for Ontario’s Future:
Five Tests for Successof Ontario’s Long-Term
Affordable Housing Strategy
(PDF - 195K, 2 pages)
April 2010
The five tests:
* Bold targets and sustained funding
* A solid measuring stick
* Accountability
* Make housing truly affordable and accessible
* Reform housing legislation to build stronger communities

---

Taking action as Ontario gets set to launch provincial housing consultation
May 31, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
The Housing Network of Ontario is continuing to prepare for the Ontario's government's consultations for a comprehensive new provincial housing plan. The government is expected to announce details of the provincial consultation in the next few days. The Wellesley Institute is a founding member of the Housing Network of Ontario and we have launched a new web site to help people and groups across the province learn about the key issues and get engaged in the consultation. The Toronto Star's Laurie Monsebraaten has set out some of the key issues in a recent article .
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]

Related links:

Activists set to push for housing
May 30, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
"(...) Across the province, almost 130,000 households are waiting for provincially subsidized housing with wait times that run from several years to several decades, depending on the location. It's a problem the McGuinty Liberals promised to address during the 2007 provincial election. But their pledge to develop a long-term affordable housing strategy was put on hold while they crafted a poverty reduction plan. With a provincial plan now in place to cut child poverty by 25 per cent in five years and poverty reduction legislation enacted last month, housing activists are gearing up for the government to turn its attention to people [who are on provincial subsidized housing lists]."
Source:
The Toronto Star

-------------------------------------------------
A related link about the
"Ontario Housing Measure":
-------------------------------------------------

Suggestions for an Indicator to Measure Trends in Housing Induced Poverty (PDF - 313K, 11 pages)
This report is ONPHA’s contribution to assist the government in defining the “Ontario Housing Measure” – one of eight key measures to be used in determining the effectiveness of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Author: ONPHA
May 11, 2009
Source:
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
ONPHA gives non profit-housing tools to do the best possible job. ONPHA offers a comprehensive list of programs and services. We are advocates for our members with all members of government; we deliver courses, workshops and resources for volunteer boards, staff and tenants; help members save money through our Best Deals program; work toward building networks locally and provincially to ensure that non-profit housing has a respected voice in the community; and we fight to get more new affordable housing built in Ontario.

Straight Goods - Canada's consumer and news watchdog
Straight Goods is a watchdog working for Canadian consumers and citizens. The purpose of Straight Goods is to help you save money, protect your rights and untangle spin with investigative reports, features, forums, archives, and links to many others who share our values.

The poor-bashing bandwagon
When times get tough, politicians deflect attention by blaming social assistance recipients.
January 06, 2010
by Jamie Swift
Sobering facts about social assistance:
1. Our most vulnerable neighbors, relying on social assistance, would need a 55 per cent benefit increase to regain the meager incomes that public provision offered in 1993.
2. The welfare system has more than 800 rules and regulations that by law must be applied before a needy person's eligibility and benefit level can be determined.
3. In 2003 a report for Ottawa's Justice Department pointed out that every year corporate crime, white collar fraud and tax evasion cost Ontario more than its entire welfare system.
(...) We are again living through difficult economic times, with high unemployment and low benefits for the jobless. Two of five working women have precarious, poorly-paid jobs with no security or benefits. Women make up 60 percent of minimum wage workers. Meanwhile, only 39 percent of unemployed women are getting Employment Insurance. No wonder the majority of social assistance claimants are women!

Street Health (Toronto)
... an innovative, community-based health care organization providing services to address a wide range of physical, mental and emotional needs in those who are homeless, poor and socially marginalized. Support, education and advocacy are key components of our services.

The [Toronto] Street Health Report 2007 (PDF file - 2.4MB, 66 pages)
September 2007
"(...) The Street Health survey was conducted over a three-month period between November 2006 and February 2007. We surveyed a representative sample of 368 homeless adults at meal programs and shelters in downtown Toronto about their health and access to health care."
- includes "an action plan consisting of realistic solutions to immediately improve the health of homeless people and to ultimately end homelessness."

TD Waterhouse

Welfare woes highlighted by economic slowdown: Drummond
March 12, 2009
With the Ontario economy expected to further deteriorate in the coming months, large holes are being exposed in the province's main safety nets, one of Canada's leading economists told an audience of local businesspeople Thursday. Don Drummond, TD Waterhouse senior vice-president and chief executive, said only 40 per cent of unemployed people in Ontario are eligible for employment insurance due in large part to the tie-in to regional unemployment levels that determine eligibility across Canada. Furthermore, he said, it is difficult for those who are ineligible for EI to rely on the welfare system. "It is very, very difficult to get onto welfare in Ontario," he told the audience of more than 160 people at the Ottawa Business Journal's Mayor's Breakfast Series.
Source:
Ottawa Business Journal

Related link:

The Economic Outlook:
Implications for Ontario and Ottawa
(PDF - 184K, 16 pages)
March 11, 2009
Powerpoint Presentation by Don Drummond
Senior Vice-President and Chief Executive
Source:

---

TD Economics (<=== this page includes links to more TD Economics reports)

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:

MoneyTalk with Patricia Lovett-Reid (video - this may not work for you if you're behind a corporate firewall)
From Welfare to Work: Still the Road Less Traveled
December 08, 2005
Gillian Manning, economist, TD Bank Financial Group
Susan Pigott, chief executive officer, St. Christopher House
NOTE: this is a weekly half-hour television show on Toronto business TV.
The December 8 program focused on the work of the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWWA").
Click the link above, then (on the next page) scroll down to the December 8 show and click the "PLAY" button under that date to watch the whole half-hour show.

Related Links:

Analysis of Social Safety Net Reveals Major Gaps,
Says Task Force of Civic Leaders
(PDF file - 119K, 8 pages)
Press Release
September 8, 2005
"TORONTO – A new report prepared by TD Economics on behalf of the Task Force for Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA) highlights the need for broad-based income security reform in Canada. The MISWAA Task Force, of which TD Bank Financial Group is a member, was launched last year by the Toronto City Summit Alliance (TCSA) and Toronto’s St. Christopher House to identify failings in the present income security system and recommend a road map for change. The Task Force is composed of leaders from the business, academic, government and non-profit sectors, including those with first-hand experience dealing with income security issues."

Executive Summary (HTML)

Complete report:

From Welfare to Work in Ontario: Still the Road Less Travelled (PDF file - 467K, 54 pages)
September 2005
"Ontario Works and other provincial/territorial welfare systems have been turned into "providers of first resort" for too many people and too many things - for a path into work, for more income when work doesn't pay enough, for sundry health benefits, and for child care. And, not surprisingly, welfare programs have responded to this surfeit of demands on their systems by raising entry barriers, with the result that a growing number of low-income adults are at risk of falling through the cracks." [Excerpt, page 33]

Now, even a bank slams workfare
TD report pokes holes in welfare and EI policies, offers new blueprint for safety net
Thomas Walkom
National Affairs Writer
The Toronto Star
September 9
"The worm turns. Old ideas gain currency again. Now, even hard-headed business people are beginning to realize that taking a sledgehammer to the welfare state was a bad, bad idea. The latest evidence is a remarkable paper released yesterday on how Canadian governments should deal with welfare, poverty and unemployment. (...) What is remarkable is the report's provenance. It was written by the TD Bank Financial Group, a big, rich bank. And it appears destined to form the basis of recommendations that a joint panel of business, labour and anti-poverty activists is to present to federal and provincial governments next month."
Source:
The Toronto Star

On a personal note...
I find it SO refreshing to see this kind of information produced by a financial institution --- makes me feel that there's some hope for us yet!
Thanks, TD Economics!

Also from TD Economics:

Enhancing GTA standard of living
requires concerted effort: TD Economics
(PDF file - 19K, 3 pages)
July 17, 2007
Press release
(TORONTO) A report published today by TD Economics states the relative decline of the Greater Toronto Area’s standard of living against competing jurisdictions during the past five years poses a serious threat to the region’s future prosperity (www.td.com/economics). Cohesive and coordinated action is required by all regional players, but future policies must be underpinned by efficiency and innovation rather than public money.
Among the GTA’s challenges, co-authors Don Drummond and Derek Burleton cite:
· The region’s eroding competitive position due to economic forces such as the rising dollar;
· The limited flexibility of the City of Toronto due to its structural deficit; and
· The rising number of low-income families among newcomers and the self-perpetuating cycles of poverty.

Complete report:
An Update toTD Economics' 2002 Report on the Greater Toronto Area Economy (PDF file - 301K, 33 pages)

Executive summary (PDF file - 440K, 3 pages)

Link to the 2002 GTA Report:

Canada's Primary Economic Locomotive in Need of Repairs (PDF file - 673K, 37 pages)
May 2002

Source:
TD Economics (<=== this page includes links to more TD Economics reports)

Related link:

TD urges social investment for TO's "deep pools of poverty"
July 17, 2007
By Michael Shapcott
Toronto and the surrounding Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are "a powerful economic locomotive which produces nearly one-fifth of the entire nation's GDP", along with many other economic advantages, according to a new report from TD Economics called "Canada's Primary Economic Locomotive in Need of Repairs". But the economists working for one of Canada's largest banks warn that despite the economic good times, "deep pools of poverty persist - a problem that is exacerbated by an inadequate supply of social housing".
Source:
The Wellesley Institute Blog
[ The Wellesley Institute ]

Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA")
- incl. links to : In the News · Press Releases · Task Force and Working Group Members · Contact Us · Papers · Frequently Asked Questions

Toronto City Summit Alliance
"The Toronto City Summit Alliance is a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region. The Alliance was formed to address challenges to the future of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing."

From The Toronto Star:

'The greatest mayor we never had,' David Pecaut dies at 54
December 14, 2009
Passionate city-builder and co-founder of Toronto's Luminato Festival, David Pecaut has succumbed to cancer. He was 54.
"(...) Inspired by Pecaut, more than 6,000 people became involved in Alliance projects, tackling everything from immigrant integration to income security reform to cultivating emerging leaders."

David Pecault's message to the city
December 9, 2009
Toronto City Summit Alliance Chair, David Pecaut, shares his inspiring vision of collective leadership and city-building to ensure the future success of the Toronto region.

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

Comment:
I don't generally include death notices in my site and newsletter, but like many others in the Canadian social advocacy community, I was saddened by the passing of David Pecaut. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago and watching him at work in the context of the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA"). He was an inspiring civic leader, and he will be sorely missed.
May he rest in peace.
[by Gilles]

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

Related links:

Toronto City Summit Alliance
The Toronto City Summit Alliance is a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region. The Alliance was formed to address challenges to the future of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing.

Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA")
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.

St. Christopher House
“St. Chris has 92 years of experience working with diverse individuals, families and groups. We provide support to people of all ages, including immigrants and people who are lower-income. We are not a religious organization in any way. St. Christopher House is strongly committed to community development in all aspects of our work.”

All governments have a duty to tear down walls of poverty
With politicians in election mode, now is the time to secure a decent living for all
Sep 16, 2007
By John Stapleton
Earlier this year, an impressive list of community leaders – including three former premiers from all parties – united with other leaders in an open letter calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to follow the "fair deal" road map (first related link below) laid out by the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults (second related link below). In a full-page newspaper plea, they urged senior levels of government to ensure "a decent living for all Ontarians." Announcements on new income security measures surfaced soon thereafter. But with a provincial election and a new federal session on the horizon, now is the time to review expectations for the fall and to encourage governments to achieve the goal of ensuring a decent living for all.
Source:
The Toronto Star

Ontario Budget Aftermath:
Working poor get little relief from Flaherty
By John Stapleton
March 23, 2007
Upon closer inspection, the Conservative finance minister's Working Income Tax Benefit falls way short of the original proposal first floated by his Liberal predecessor Ralph Goodale, notes John Stapleton.
Source:
The Toronto Star

A Decent Living For All:
An Open letter to Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty

March 16, 2007
"On February 26-27, over 600 leaders from across the Toronto Region met at the Toronto Summit 2007 to discuss key challenges facing our city, province, and country. One of the major topics at the Summit was the need for urgent action to address poverty. Specifically, leaders discussed the report of the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults – an unprecedented coalition of leaders from business, community agencies, labour unions, the public sector, and leading social policy institutions. The Task Force’s May 2006 report, Time for a Fair Deal, delivered a roadmap for modernizing income security in Canada. We are writing you today to urge your governments to follow that roadmap and take action to assist low-income working-age adults in lifting themselves and their families out of poverty."
[This open letter appeared in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail on March 16]

Source:
Toronto City Summit Alliance
"The Toronto City Summit Alliance is a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region. The Alliance was formed to address challenges to the future of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing."

Related links:

Toronto Summit 2007: Making Big Things Happen
- incl. links to 10 summit backgrounders on a number of topics such as transit and transportation infrastructure, waterfront revitalization, diversity, strong neighbourhoods and more.
The two backgrounders that I chose to highlight from the collection deal with incomes and housing:
* A Decent Living For All (PDF file - 78K, 4 pages)
* Affordable and Adequate Housing for All (PDF file - 92K, 4 pages)
[Go to the Toronto Summit 2007 page for links to the other backgrounders.]

St. Christopher House
St. Chris has 92 years of experience working with diverse individuals, families and groups. We provide support to people of all ages, including immigrants and people who are lower-income. We are not a religious organization in any way. St. Christopher House is strongly committed to community development in all aspects of our work.

Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA")
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.

- incl. links to : In the News · Press Releases · Task Force and Working Group Members · Contact Us · Papers · Frequently Asked Questions

Time for a Fair Deal: Report of the Task Force on
Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults
(PDF file - 282K, 67 pages)
May 2006

Family falls behind trying to get ahead
December 1, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/yjj539
"(...) Social workers, labour experts and academics have long decried the lack of incentives in the system to help working-poor families lift themselves out of poverty. It's a system designed on giving with one hand while taking with the other, leaving impoverished families no further ahead, said income-security expert John Stapleton." There is no governing agency that looks at the overall effect of these programs," he said. "You need employment insurance, the tax system and Canada Pension Plan working together with public housing, child care, social assistance and the child-benefit system to bring in large-scale solutions. Many families are suffering the "unintended consequences" of rules that kick in when people's income levels hit an amount that nobody would think was excessive, said Susan Pigott, co-chair of a Toronto task force report calling on Ottawa and the provinces to overhaul the country's income-security system."
Source:
Toronto Star

Time For A Fair Deal
Task Force Addresses Urgent Need to Reform Income Security Policies with Unveiling of Report
(PDF file - 134K, 8 pages)
Press Release
May 15, 2006
[version française du communiqué:
Un traitement équitable s'impose
Un rapport du groupe de travail indique un besoin urgent de réforme en matière sécurité du revenu
] (fichier PDF - 135Ko, 10 pages)

TORONTO, ON – (May 15, 2006) - Today in Toronto an unprecedented coalition of business, labour, academic, non-profit, and think tank leaders released their report “Time for a Fair Deal” calling for fundamental reform of Canada’s income security programs for working-age adults.

Declaring the current system in need of a thorough overhaul, The Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults (MISWAA) identified three key issues plaguing low-income Canadians:

- Many working people cannot earn enough to make ends meet even when working full-time for a full year – at least 30% of low-wage workers fall into this group,
- Employment Insurance (EI) no longer covers the majority of the temporarily unemployed – in Ontario only 27% receive EI benefits, and only 22% receive EI benefits in Toronto, and
- Existing social assistance programs are punitive, make it difficult to escape poverty, and create a “welfare trap” for many.
(...)

Key recommendations to the federal government include:

- Reforming Employment Insurance to address the significant decline in coverage,
- Introducing through the tax system a new national refundable tax credit and working income supplement to support low-income Canadians,
- Providing a national disability income support program for persons whose disabilities are so substantial they cannot enter the paid labour force.

Key recommendations to the Ontario Government include:

- Establishing an independent body, with representation from employers and labour, to recommend periodic increases to the minimum wage,
- Implementing a seamless and integrated child benefit platform for low-income parents with children that pays child benefits to all low-income parents, including those receiving social assistance,
- Reducing the impediments to leaving social assistance by providing prescription drug and dental benefits to low-income workers,
- Strengthening the enforcement of employment standards to protect the rights of workers under the law,
- Restoring the asset limits for those receiving social assistance to levels that allow savings for contingencies and help support the transition to work,
- Improving training and employment supports for social assistance recipients and low-income workers,
- Introducing reforms to the Ontario Disability Support Program, including returning benefit levels to those received by senior citizens who have no other source of income, and
- Uploading social assistance benefit costs from municipalities to the province.

Complete report:

Time for a Fair Deal: Report of the Task Force on
Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults
(PDF file - 282K, 67 pages)
May 2006

Context

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.

MISWAA Frequently-Asked Questions (PDF file - 106K, 7 pages)

Related Links:

From The Toronto Star:

Ontario still punishing poorest of its children
October 22, 2006
Children living in families that receive welfare should be no less deserving of our help than any other poor children. Yet when the National Child Benefit Supplement was introduced in 1998, the Ontario government under former Conservative premier Mike Harris decided, in effect, there were two groups of families in the province — the deserving and the undeserving poor. It did that by clawing back the supplement from families that received welfare, and putting that money instead into child-care programs for working parents across the province. (...)
In British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, low-income families receive a separate, income-tested child benefit paid for all children in need. They receive the benefit regardless of whether the parents are working or, because of the circumstances they find themselves in, are forced to rely on welfare incomes that fall far below any measure of poverty. Ontario should adopt a similar program. Combined with federal funds, an Ontario Child Benefit could support all low-income families with children up to the age of 18.

Victory possible in war on poverty
October 21, 2006
In an effort to build a broad base of public support for a true national anti-poverty strategy, the National Council on Welfare launched a new website inviting Canadians to voice their opinions about the state of poverty in Canada and what politicians should do about it. (...) A reasonable and thorough program to start alleviating poverty has been developed through a co-operative effort of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, a broad-based coalition of civic leaders, and St. Christopher House, a Toronto neighbourhood centre that works with low-income people..."

More recent Toronto Star articles on poverty - 7-day archive search results from The Star ("Ontario AND poverty")
NOTE: the number of search results will vary depending on when you click the link - on October 22, there were links to 9 articles.

Working poor a 'smouldering crisis'
June 20, 2006
By: VANESSA LU - Toronto Star
Many adults below poverty line despite full-time jobs
Successful business leaders must not ignore the plight of Canada's working poor who toil as an invisible group, often unable to get ahead in this rich country, says a prominent civic leader. "I think what we're facing here is a smouldering crisis. It's not burning out there," David Pecaut, chair of the Toronto City Summit Alliance told a Canadian Club luncheon yesterday. "But in the next recession, it will burst into flames. There is no doubt about that. "Toronto and the GTA will be one of the hardest-hit places in the country." Pecaut, who is a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group, is warning about growing income disparity in Canada — where the working poor and those on welfare lag far behind. (...) Pecaut co-chaired a report, released last month, with Susan Pigott of St. Christopher House, called Time for a Fair Deal, Modernizing Income Security for Working-age Adults.

Source:
Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults
[ Toronto City Summit Alliance ]

Google Web Search Results:
"modernizing income security, report, Toronto"
Google News search Results:
"modernizing income security, report, Toronto"
Source:
Google.ca

Compromise versus conviction
May 19
By Carol Goar
"Compromise hurts, especially when people come to the table with strong convictions. Sometimes it is the price of progress. Sometimes the sacrifices outweigh the gains. For the past year and a half, 51 of Toronto's most civic-minded people have wrestled with these trade-offs. The result is a not-quite-unanimous report released this week titled Time for a Fair Deal. It sets out a hard-headed plan to tackle adult poverty, a social blight that governments refuse to address and middle-class voters blithely overlook. Given the diversity of the task force — members ranged from senior corporate executives to militant anti-poverty activists — it is a tribute to the group's dedication that it stayed the course. But its report reflects a clash of visions that could not be reconciled."
Source:
The Toronto Star

Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA")
- incl. links to : In the News · Press Releases · Task Force and Working Group Members · Contact Us · Reports · Frequently Asked Questions

St. Christopher House
“St. Chris has 92 years of experience working with diverse individuals, families and groups. We provide support to people of all ages, including immigrants and people who are lower-income. We are not a religious organization in any way. St. Christopher House is strongly committed to community development in all aspects of our work.”

Toronto City Summit Alliance
"The Toronto City Summit Alliance is a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region. The Alliance was formed to address challenges to the future of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing."

Boston Consulting Group - Toronto Office
"BCG Toronto was created through the merger of The Canada Consulting Group and The Boston Consulting Group, and in the years since then, it has more than tripled in size."

Analysis of Social Safety Net Reveals Major Gaps,
Says Task Force of Civic Leaders
(PDF file - 119K, 8 pages)
Press Release
September 8, 2005
"TORONTO – A new report prepared by TD Economics on behalf of the Task Force for Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA) highlights the need for broad-based income security reform in Canada. The MISWAA Task Force, of which TD Bank Financial Group is a member, was launched last year by the Toronto City Summit Alliance (TCSA) and Toronto’s St. Christopher House to identify failings in the present income security system and recommend a road map for change. The Task Force is composed of leaders from the business, academic, government and non-profit sectors, including those with first-hand experience dealing with income security issues."

Executive Summary (HTML)

Complete report:

From Welfare to Work in Ontario: Still the Road Less Travelled (PDF file - 467K, 54 pages)
September 2005
"Ontario Works and other provincial/territorial welfare systems have been turned into "providers of first resort" for too many people and too many things - for a path into work, for more income when work doesn't pay enough, for sundry health benefits, and for child care. And, not surprisingly, welfare programs have responded to this surfeit of demands on their systems by raising entry barriers, with the result that a growing number of low-income adults are at risk of falling through the cracks." [Excerpt, page 33]
Source:
TD Economics


Employment Insurance: Research Summary for the
Task Force for Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults

Ontarians Can No Longer Count On Employment Insurance To Provide Temporary Income Between Jobs
Toronto and Ottawa Have Lowest Coverage in Canada
October 6, 2005
By Jill Black and Richard Shillington
Highlights
- EI coverage has declined precipitously for a number of reasons, many to do with changes in the labour market that the program wasn't designed to handle; new initiatives should therefore be considered to fill the gap.
- Toronto and many other Ontario cities have extremely low EI coverage, likely due to high employment and high immigration; there is no comprehensive or definitive assessment of what is driving low coverage, but program changes in the 1990s clearly contributed to EI coverage becoming increasingly unbalanced. This needs to be understood better, and part of the solution may lie in EI program changes.

Complete report:

Word version ( 428K, 11 pages)
PDF version (613K, 11 pages)

Ontarians Can No Longer Count on Employment Insurance to Provide Temporary Income between Jobs
Toronto and Ottawa Have Lowest Coverage in Canada
(PDF file - 68K, 2 pages)
Press Release
October 6, 2005
"The Task Force for Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults released its review of Employment Insurance (EI) today, revealing that EI no longer fulfils its role of providing temporary
income to most unemployed Canadians who are between jobs."


Youth raised in care of child welfare authorities face huge challenges when expelled from system at age 18
Measures aimed at easing transition from state care to independence would
improve quality of life and lessen dependence on social assistance

News Release
"
TORONTO, Oct. 28 - Compared to their peers, youth exiting, or leaving the care of child welfare agencies are often consigned to a cycle of persistent poverty, are more dependent on adult social assistance, and are overly represented in the mental health and criminal justice system according to Youth Leaving Care: How do they Fare?, a study released today by the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA).

Complete report:

Youth Leaving Care – How Do They Fare?
Briefing Paper
(PDF file - 242K, 31 pages)
September 2005
By Anne Tweddle
"This discussion paper was prepared for the Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA) Project in order to support and inform short- and long-term recommendations respecting challenges facing youth leaving care."

Source:
Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults ("MISWAA") - they produced the report
More MISWAA content (further down on the page you're now reading)
Laidlaw Foundation
(they funded the report)

Related Links:

Smoothing a brutal transition
October 28, 2005
By Carol Goar
Trying to be gentle, social workers coined the phrase "aging out of care" to describe what happens to adolescents who reach the end of the child welfare system. In an earlier, less tactful era, they were simply terminated. But no amount of semantic cushioning can soften what, in real life, is a brutal transition.
At the age of 18, crown wards, whose only parent has been the state for most or all of their lives, suddenly have no parent. They're on their own. In Ontario, some are eligible for extended care and maintenance payments of $663 per month until they reach 21. But many — usually those least able to cope — are cut off completely. They're alone in the adult world.
Source:
Toronto Star

Child Protection Services in Ontario
- from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Children's Aid Society Foster Care
- from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services


39th Parliament, 1st Session
Standing Committee on Human Resources,
Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
EVIDENCE
Thursday, November 23, 2006
On November 23, 2006, The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and status of persons with disabilities began its deliberations on Factors aggravating poverty by hearing the testimony of the following five witnesses:

On behalf of the
National Anti-Poverty Organization:

Vincent Calderhead, Senior Staff Lawyer, Nova Scotia Legal Aid

On behalf of the
National Council of Welfare:

Greg deGroot-Maggetti, Member

On behalf of the
Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults
:
John Stapleton, Research Director and St. Christopher House Research Fellow.

As individuals:

Ross Finnie, Professor, School of Policy Studies, Queen's University;
Chris Sarlo, Professor, Department of Economics, Nipissing University.

This is one of two Parliamentary committees currently studying poverty.
The other is Senator Hugh Segal’s study of Rural Poverty.

These committee studies are important. They are an avenue to our MP’s and they can be a powerful force for change. They are your committees too, so get involved!


High-Powered Task Force of Civic Leaders Aims to Reform
Income Security Policies for Working-Age Adults

Press Release
February 18, 2005
"Toronto - Government policies and programs aimed at assisting low-income Canadians to escape poverty are not working. A Task Force made up of some of Toronto’s most prominent citizens met today to launch a process to discover why the current system is failing and to recommend a new roadmap for reforming income security in Ontario. Called the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA), it is spearheaded by the Toronto City Summit Alliance (TCSA) and Toronto’s St. Christopher House, with prominent members from Canadian business, academia and public life, including those with first-hand experience dealing with income security issues. The Task Force is an unprecedented response from leaders across the spectrum of civil society to tackle one of the most critical issues facing our cities."
Recommended reading (from the "Reports" page):

Progress To Date: Highlights From First Two Task Force Meetings (PDF file - 440K, 39 pages)
- contains excerpts from the materials used at the first meeting of the Task Force on September 22, 2004 and its second meeting on December 13, 2004.

“What Works When Works Doesn’t?” Income Security Strategies For Working-Age Adults (PDF file - 204K, 30 pages)
Spring 2004
"St. Christopher House brings the results of its recent efforts to develop 'modern strategies' for income security for working age adults in Ontario, including an in-depth understanding of the issues, and ideas for potential solutions that have been tested with front-line agencies and people directly affected by problems with the system. The MISWAA Task Force will build on the final report of that effort." (Description from the "Reports" page)

Related Links:

Toronto City Summit Alliance
St. Christopher House

Media coverage:

New task force aims to bolster income security
Review to focus on working-age adults and need to recession-proof the city
By JOE FRIESEN
February 18, 2005
"Ontario's social safety net is full of holes that make it difficult for the poor to get off welfare and back to work, say the co-chairs of an ambitious task force on income security that is being launched today. David Pecaut, chairman of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, and Susan Pigott, CEO of St. Christopher House, are co-chairs of a group of more than 50 prominent economists, academics, business people and civic leaders. They aim to produce a report they hope will encourage Ottawa and Queen's Park to act on an issue that has major economic ramifications for Toronto (...)"
Source:
The Globe and Mail

City aid crisis looms
By ROYSON JAMES
February 18, 2005
"Toronto is faced with the creation of a permanent underclass in the next recession, says a dream team task force bent on repairing the country's fraying social safety net. Programs that paid out billions of dollars during the last recession in 1992 have been changed and amended to such a degree that thousands of people will be left without help if the hard times return, they warn."
Source:
The Toronto Star

The next article is relevant, but not related to the launch of the task force (or is it?):

Voice missing from the debate
By CAROL GOAR
"... there is a missing voice in this incipient debate: that of the economically marginalized.For the 675,000 Ontarians who depend on social assistance, there is a more urgent need than health services or post-secondary education. They can't afford life's basic necessities. All of the support systems they rely on — welfare, social housing, subsidized child care — have been chopped, dismantled or frozen in the last decade. Their incomes have slid from 62 per cent of Statistics Canada's low-income cut-off in 1995 to 45 per cent today (...)"
Source:
The Toronto Star

Thunder Bay

A Community of Acceptance: Respect for Thunder Bay's Diversity
March 2002
This study is a multi-method assessment of racism and race relations and social cohesion in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
- 392 surveys and interviews with 45 residents form the basis of the study.
"The study concludes that while blatant racism is occasional, far more relevant are a number of racializing social practices which are subtle and pervasive. This study is contracted by Diversity Thunder Bay, an organization comprised of representatives of many stakeholder organizations. Funded by Canadian Heritage, the study is about race relations and social cohesion in this Canadian city."
Full Document (PDF file - 1114K, 130 pages)
Report summary (PDF file - 76K, 6 pages)
Diversity Thunder Bay website - includes a description of Diversity Thunder Bay and an overview of the study.


Toronto - see City of Toronto on the Canadian Social Research Links Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (A-C) page

Toronto City Summit Alliance
"The Toronto City Summit Alliance is a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region. The Alliance was formed to address challenges to the future of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing.

"At the present time there are six projects underway or completed. They are:

The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council - working to improve the employment outcomes of skilled immigrants in the Toronto region through internships, mentorships, public campaigns and advocacy, improved licensing and accreditation processes, and increased government coordination.

The Toronto Region Research Alliance - bringing public and private institutions in the Toronto region together to build research excellence in our areas of strength, increase the commercialization of our research, increase venture capital financing to all areas of research and development, and market the Toronto region internationally as a premier R&D location.

The Toront03 Alliance - dedicated to post-SARS tourism recovery through a marketing campaign to bring tourism, especially Americans, back to Toronto. The mandate of Toront03 ended March 31st, 04 at which point it partnered with the city, the province and Tourism Toronto to fund and launch a branding strategy for the city which will be completed by the end of this year.

The Affordable Housing Coalition - uniting the private and community sectors to advocate for greater access to quality affordable housing through government lobbying and public education campaigns.

The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force - articulating a vision for strong neighbourhoods in Toronto, recommending the principles, potential scope and purpose of a tripartite agreement between all levels of government to mobilize investment in community infrastructure in Toronto's neighbourhoods, advocating for change.

New Deal for Toronto"

- incl. links to : About TCSA - TCSA Initiatives (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council - Toronto Region Research Alliance - Toront03 Alliance - Affordable Housing Coalition - Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force - New Deal for Toronto) - Issues Facing Our City (Affordable Housing - Arts & Culture - Community Services - Early Childhood Development - Economic Integration of Immigrants - New Fiscal Deal for Cities - Post Secondary Education - Public Education - Regional Transportation and Planning - Research and Development - The Waterfront - Tourism - Search for Policy Reports - Additional Web Resources - Event Listings - Community Resources - Take Action - FAQ's - Media - Contact Us

Site Map - best way to see everything on this site!

"Enough Talk"- An Action Plan for the Toronto Region (PDF file - 579K, 36 pages)
April 2003

Toronto CED Learning Network
Community economic development (CED) involves initiatives that attempt to strengthen the community by building equitable and inclusive economies. It is about building a sustainable economy through a process that is driven by and for the community. CED is about the full economic participation of marginalized communities such as people experiencing long-term poverty, consumer/survivors of mental health services, ethno-racial groups, youth, women and disabled people. The Toronto CED Learning Network is a group of over 350 organizations and individuals who are interested in CED in the Toronto area.
Excellent resource! incl. links to over 750 sites touching a wide variety of topics related to CED, background information on community economic development, research papers, Internet resources, reference material, a weekly newsletter (with archives back to July 2000), and a whole lot more...
Current CED Bulletin (newsletter)

Toronto Community Housing - "...one of the largest social housing providers in North America and home to about 164,000 tenants in communities across Toronto.We work with tenants, the community and other stakeholders to create strong, healthy neighborhoods."
- incl. links to : About Us - Our Communities - Tenant Life - How to Rent at TCHC - Revitalization - News - Events - Business Opportunities - Job Opportunities - Contact Us - Search - Sitemap

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
(Anti-homelessness coalition)
Visit this site for links to pages on homelessness in Canada - United States - United Kingdom - Australia - United Nations - International

See also Homelessness Links (a separate page of this site)

The Toronto Star


Links to articles about poverty (2006, 2007) - from The Toronto Star
- dozens of links to articles by various Star writers and columnists about the plight of Canada's needy and possible reforms to the social programs that assist them.
NOTE : this link takes you to another page of the Canadian Social Research Links website.

TheStar.com Census 2006 page
- incl. links to 30+ articles and features related to the 2006 Census
Selected content:
* Speak Out: Is marriage important? * Voices: Marriage vs. common law * Census highlights * Flash: Canadian population breakdown * Flash: Immigration and language * video reports on trends in the 2006 Census: income, immigration, divorce rates, gender imbalance, population growth, Quebec's baby boom and declining towns * population profile * much more
-----------------------------
Related link:
Globe and Mail In-Depth : Census 2006
- links to several dozen articles based on Statistics Canada's 2006 datasets, covering a wide range of themes, including :
* visible minorities * the wealth gap * income inequality * interracial relationships * Canada's aging work force * immigrants and education * baby boomers, retirement and the spectre of a labour shortage * ethnic origin and minorities * families and work * Canadians helping the seniors in their lives * public transit use * immigrants living and working in their mother tongue * Canada's changing work force * families * Population of Indian, Métis and Inuit tops one-million mark * population * Canada's tenuous French connection * more...
Source:
The Globe and Mail
-----------------------------

For more info on the 2006 Census of Canada, go to the Social Statistics Links page of this site:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/stats.htm

Selected articles:

Once-in-a-generation chance to modernize welfare lost: Goar
Premier Kathleen Wynne wanted to be the ‘social justice premier’ but ended up tinkering with the status quo.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/05/06/onceinageneration_chance_to_modernize_welfare_lost_goar.html
By Carol Goar
May 6, 2013
Ontario’s best hope of creating a modern, humane social assistance system has expired.
Thursday’s provincial budget was its last gasp. Premier Kathleen Wynne wanted to do the right thing. She was prepared to take a political risk for the 850,000 Ontarians struggling to get by on subsistence-level welfare payments. But three months into the job, she realized there was no realistic prospect of “charting a new course on social assistance” as a far-sighted provincial commission proposed. Even the people she aimed to help were balking.
So the premier took the safe, conventional route. She made a couple of minor changes to the existing program. They won’t break the bank or ruffle many feathers. In fact, most Ontarians won’t notice them at all. It was exactly the same strategy her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, had followed.

So who really lost in the 2013 Ontario Budget?
(...)
Social assistance recipients themselves — although few recognize it. Wynne was ready to offer them a $100-a-month boost to the lowest welfare rate ($606 per month) plus the two measures in Sousa’s budget. Instead, they lobbied for — and got — a stay of execution for the Special Diet Allowance
[ http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/special_diet_apply.aspx ]
...(which will be whittled back anyway) and a continuation of the two-tier benefit structure put in place by former premier Mike Harris in 1997* so he could slash welfare rates without being accused of punishing the sick and injured."

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

* COMMENT (by Gilles) :
It's not often that I find a factual error in a Carol Goar article, but I really must jump in here with my welfare historian hat on.
In the above excerpt, Ms Goar refers to "the continuation of the two-tier benefit structure" (i.e., lower benefit levels for employable clients) that was put in place by the Harris government in 1997. In fact, the two-tier welfare benefit structure was put in place a few generations ago, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with the implementation of the Ontario Family Benefits Act and General Welfare Assistance Act.

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

Low income senior’s income tax shock
http://www.moneyville.ca/article/1231097
By James Daw
July 29, 2012
This article is a case profile of a low-income senior, age 66, seeking advice about how to maximize a modest RRSP, while having minimal impact on her Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits. "Adeline" will have an income of $20,000 this year, including $2,927 from Ottawa’s Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). She was surprised to discover she would receive no GIS payments for the second half of the year, after she reported a one-time gain on the sale of some property on her 2011 tax return. Now she is worried she will lose more GIS payments once she starts to withdraw money from her modest $30,000 RRSP (registered retirement savings plan).
Source of the above article:
Moneyville
http://www.moneyville.ca/
---
Moneyville is a subsite of the
Toronto Star:

http://www.thestar.com/

---

- Go to the Asset-Based Social Policies Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/assets.htm

- Go to the Pension Reforms Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/pensions.htm

- Go to the Seniors (Social Research) Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/seniors.htm

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

From The Campaign 2000 Team
at Family Service Toronto:

Social Planning Toronto releases first-ever poverty profiles of the city’s 44 wards on Destitution Day
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1207119
June 6, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Today is D-Day in Toronto.
The D is for destitution, and it is the date a single person on welfare would run out of money if he or she were living at the poverty line, according to Social Planning Toronto. (...) Dwayne Scriven's welfare cheque is a meager $599 a month and with tax credits adds up to about $8,100 a year. Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off, after taxes, for a single person living in a large city like Toronto is about $19,800. (...) Social Planning Toronto has chosen the day to release the first-ever detailed poverty profiles for residents living in the city’s 44 wards, along with stories about agencies or initiatives that are making a difference. Since income data from the 2011 census won’t be available until next year, the profiles rely on 2006 census data and before-tax incomes that don’t reflect tax benefits that help many living in poverty.

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

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

Toronto : Two female hardship survivors give back to others
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1275658
October 22, 2012
By Catherine Porter
Read this compelling story of Linda Chamberlain ("...inspirational ... not only for what she’s survived but for what she’s accomplished") and Linda Coltman, first winner of the Linda Chamberlain Pay It Forward Award.

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

Loss of emergency housing benefit will increase homelessness in Ontario, activists say
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1215892
June 22, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
More vulnerable Ontarians will be pushed into homelessness if Queen’s Park axes a $114 million benefit that helps people on welfare pay emergency housing costs, warn social activists and municipalities.
“This benefit is used to keep people housed who are having difficulty for all kinds of reasons,” said Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre, a provincial legal clinic that supports people on social assistance. “There is no doubt that homelessness will increase as a result of this move.”

Under the Liberal budget approved this week, the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit will end January 2013. The mandatory program, delivered through the welfare system, provides up to $799 for a single person and up to $1,500 for a family. It is available every two years and can be used on a wide variety of housing-related expenses including rent and utility arrears, first and last month’s rent, furniture or other household items.

Almost 200,000 singles and families on social assistance rely on the benefit annually. In its place, the Liberals are allocating $63 million — about half of what they spent on the benefit last year — to a new housing and homelessness program to be run by municipalities

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

Metcalf Foundation study: working poor numbers way up in Toronto *
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1129631
February 11, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
The legions of Toronto area workers pouring coffee, cleaning toilets and otherwise toiling for low wages in office towers and factories is growing dramatically.
Between 2000 and 2005, the area’s working poor grew by 42 per cent, to 113,000 people, according to a groundbreaking report based on Statistics Canada labour and income data. Across the region, they accounted for 6.4 per cent of the working-age population. But inside the city of Toronto, they surged to 8.2 per cent of the workforce, or 70,700 people, says the study by the Metcalf Foundation, released on Saturday.
(...) Almost three out of four [of Toronto's working poor are immigrants, and almost half are single or lone parents. More than half have some post-secondary education, about the same as the average Canadian worker.
---
* NOTE : If you scroll down past the photo in the article to the fourth paragraph, you'll find (in the text box in the left margin on the page) links to five case profiles of the working poor in Toronto. The profiles offer first-hand accounts by people who work and live in poverty in Toronto --- single people, single parents and two-parent families.

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

Small fixes to Ontario’s welfare system not enough, says progress report
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/1125640
February 2, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Small fixes will not be enough to bring about the transformational change Ontario’s social assistance needs, says a progress report by the province’s social assistance review commission. More employment support for those on welfare, including those with disabilities; streamlined delivery and new benefits available to all low-income people outside the welfare system are some of the ideas the commission is exploring.

NOTE : all links pertaining to Ontario's social assistance review have been moved to a separate page.
See Review of social assistance in Ontario

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

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.

For related links, see the Ontario Social Assistance Review Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/on_sa_review.htm

AND
the Provincial and Territorial Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

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

Ontario tax credits
and tax preparation companies:

Minor adjustment a major problem for poor
November 29, 2011
By Carol Goar
Ontario has changed the way it pays out provincial tax credits to people living in poverty to ensure a steadier income flow throughout the year, but the change has had some unintended effects that include more gouging by tax preparation companies.
"The government knew there would be transitional glitches when it phased out lump-sum tax refunds. What it did not anticipate was that the tax preparation companies, faced with the loss of a lucrative chunk of their business, would come up with a scheme like this.There is nothing illegal about what they’re doing. But it is exploitative."

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

Linda Chamberlain rose from rough beginnings to become a champion of the mentally ill
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1092913
November 25, 2011
By Catherine Porter
[ Video: Linda Chamberlain ]
[ http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1092913#video ]
Linda Chamberlain has lead a very interesting life. She's been orphaned, homeless, a burlesque dancer, a fugitive, accused and acquitted for murder.... She is now dying of cancer and hopes to have a book written about her life to inspire others.
(...)
I first met Chamberlain two years ago. I watched her playing bongos for dancing patients inside the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, on the very floor where she once lived. She was then a peer-support worker, but under the Dickensian welfare rules, she was earning less working part-time than sitting at home. So, sadly, she quit the job. Her case became known as the “Linda Chamberlain rule” by welfare reformers. I visited Chamberlain again this week in the east-end apartment building she calls her lifesaver. She wanted to tell her story because a month ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
(...)
Chamberlain’s life lessons are rich. Her favourite, she tells me, is the importance of letting go and giving back. “Life is too short. If you give back, not matter what you go through, things will turn around and good things will come to you.” Her legacy will also be rich. Her friend, welfare policy expert John Stapleton, is recording her life for a book. He also hopes to set up an annual award in her memory. It’s tentatively called “The Linda Chamberlain Turn Around Award.” When will it be established? “Not anytime soon,” says Chamberlain, getting teary for the first time.

* To contribute to Chamberlain’s legacy, email speakersbureau@bellnet.ca


Related links:

From Gladwell.com:
http://www.gladwell.com/

Million-Dollar Murray:
Why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage.

http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_02_13_a_murray.html
By Malcolm Gladwell
February 13, 2006

---

From the
Metcalf Foundation:
http://metcalffoundation.com/

“Zero Dollar Linda”: A Meditation on Malcolm Gladwell’s “Million Dollar Murray,”
the Linda Chamberlain Rule, and the Auditor General of Ontario
(PDF - 225K, 28 pages)
http://metcalffoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/zero-dollar-linda.pdf
By John Stapleton
2010

Welfare Rules: A Smack Down, Not a Hand Up (small PDF file)
http://wfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/zero-dollar-linda-article-2.pdf
November 23, 2010

---

Open Policy - John Stapleton's website
TIP: Check out John's Publications - Media Commentaries - Presentations

---

From the
Toronto Star:
http://www.thestar.com/

Linda Chamberlain’s job was making her broke
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/894037
November 19, 2010

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

Queen’s Park offers crumbs to Ontario’s poor
November 24, 2011
By Carol Goar
Next week, welfare rates go up — but not by enough to buy a child a Christmas present, to put healthy food on the table or even to stave off eviction for many families. On Dec. 1, the province’s 475,000 neediest people get a 1 per cent raise. For an individual, that amounts to an extra $7 a month. For a single parent raising two children, it is $9 more.

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

Small fixes to Ontario’s welfare system not enough, says progress report
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/1125640
February 2, 2012
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Small fixes will not be enough to bring about the transformational change Ontario’s social assistance needs, says a progress report by the province’s social assistance review commission. More employment support for those on welfare, including those with disabilities; streamlined delivery and new benefits available to all low-income people outside the welfare system are some of the ideas the commission is exploring.

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

NOTE : all links pertaining to Ontario's social assistance review have been moved to a separate page.
See Review of social assistance in Ontario

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

Timely warning for Canada about prisons
September 8, 2011
By Carol Goar
Just in time for the opening of Parliament, a new book entitled A Plague of Prisons has landed in Canada. It tells the story of the “mass incarceration” of Americans over the past 30 years, showing how it has torn families apart, exacerbated racial tensions, drained state treasuries and fostered a culture of violence and vengeance. (...) Between 1980 and 2009, America’s prison population quintupled. It now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world (715 inmates per 100,000 people). (...) What makes all this relevant to Canadians in September of 2011 is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is poised to embark on the same path the U.S. took a generation ago. Shortly after the opening of Parliament, his government will introduce a package of 12 tough crime bills. They’re guaranteed to become law; the Conservatives now have a majority in both the House of Commons and Senate.
(...)
Assuming the Prime Minister goes ahead, here is what Canadians can expect:
• An exponential growth in prisons. The Conservatives have refused to provide taxpayers with a credible estimate of how much they plan to spend on penitentiaries. It won’t be as costly as the American crackdown, which threatens to bankrupt several states, but the bills will keep mounting long after Harper’s departure.
• A deterioration of the social structures that communities need to prevent crime.
• A disproportionate increase in the number of poor, non-white people behind bars.
• A belated recognition that there was never any evidence tougher sentences improve public safety.
• And over time, a made-in-Ottawa “plague of prisons.”

Is this the legacy we want for our children? Is it the future we want for Canada?

[ Comments (34) ]

Related links:

A Plague of Prisons:
The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America

This is the promo website for the book.
* Sources - links to 100+ free online related resources

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

How the mayor [of Toronto] could save $100 million
August 31, 2011
By Carol Goar
If Mayor Rob Ford really wants to “find efficiencies, not cut services,” he’ll welcome a proposal put forward by the City Service Review Group. It would save the city $100 million and make it a more humane place. If he is bent on slashing spending and getting rid of civic employees, he’ll dismiss it out of hand. The scheme was drafted by a coalition of mental health activists. It calls on the city to move people with mental illness and addiction problems out of its homeless shelters. Civic workers would help them to apply for provincial disability support ($1,053 a month). This income would allow them to rent a private apartment. Many of these people now live on welfare ($592 a month). They qualify for disability support, but they aren’t able to fill out the complicated application form and they don’t have a family doctor.

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

Ford's housing cure is ill-advised
April 12, 2011
By Nick Falvo
In the aftermath of two damning reports by the City of Toronto’s auditor, the entire board of directors of the Toronto Community Housing Corp. has been replaced and multiple staff have been let go.
But privatizing Canada’s largest provider of affordable housing would be expensive for both taxpayers and renter households over the long term.

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

Loophole blunts injustice
March 29, 2011
By Carol Goar
No one was gladder than John Stapleton to see Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s latest budget go down in flames. The Toronto social activist — along with a bevy of savvy corporate investors — was taking advantage of one of the tax loopholes Flaherty proposed to close. And therein lies a story of ingenuity, compassion and the kind of justice they don’t teach in law schools.
Source:
Toronto Star

Kudos to you, John Stapleton!

Open Policy - personal website of John Stapleton
--- Check out John's Publications - Media Commentaries - Presentations

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

Liberals urged to ‘put food in the budget’
March 10, 2011
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Back in 1995, the opposition Liberals scorned the Mike Harris government’s so-called “welfare diet,” which purported to show that a single person on social assistance could eat for $90 a month.
Today that meagre Tory shopping list — which included pasta but no sauce and bread but no butter — costs $48 more. And yet since the Liberals took office in 2003, a single able-bodied person on welfare gets just $29 more in their monthly cheque for food. “It’s no wonder food bank use in Ontario is soaring,” said social policy expert John Stapleton, who used the 1995 shopping list to buy the welfare diet at a Scarborough discount grocery store in January. It is one more reason anti-poverty activists across the province are calling on Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to put a $100 monthly food supplement for welfare recipients in this spring’s provincial budget.
[ 55 comments ]

Tough on poverty, tough on crime
February 20, 2011
By Senator Hugh Segal
Debates about whether approaches to crime and corrections in Canada are too soft or too tough are ongoing and endemic.
While the partisan debate continues unabated, the real issue is why prisons disproportionately house our most vulnerable citizens. While all those Canadians who live beneath the poverty line are by no means associated with criminal activity, almost all those in Canada’s prisons come from beneath the poverty line. Less than 10 per cent of Canadians live beneath the poverty line but almost 100 per cent of our prison inmates come from that 10 per cent. There is no political ideology, on the right or left, that would make the case that people living in poverty belong in jail...
[ Comments (82)]

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

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.

---

For links to more Ontario antipoverty information , go to the Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm
...and click "Ontario" in the left margin

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

Ontario housing strategy: Won’t reduce long wait lists
November 30 2010
Claiming it needed “the time to get it right,” the Liberal government at Queen’s Park long delayed releasing a long-term affordable housing strategy. That’s what makes what was released Monday – three years after it was first promised in the 2007 election campaign – all the more disappointing.The housing strategy is little more than a series of regulatory changes that reduce red tape, simplify convoluted rules and provide municipalities more flexibility to cater to local needs.
(...)
One change (calculating income annually, instead of monthly) will be helpful to low-income households lucky enough to already live in subsidized housing and to raise their income levels through paid work. Under the new rules, their rent would not go up for a year. The strategy is called “Building Foundations: Building Futures,” but it does not propose actually building any new housing. Nor does it fund any new rent subsidies to help people afford existing apartments. That means it does next to nothing for the 142,000 low-income families in Ontario on waiting lists of up to 20 years for subsidized housing.

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

Linda Chamberlain’s job was making her broke
Toronto's Linda Chamberlain quit a job she loved
because she was poorer with part-time work and a
paycheque than she is simply collecting welfare.

November 19, 2010

By Catherine Porter
Linda Chamberlain left her dream job because it was making her broke. She’s richer earning nothing, living in her subsidized apartment and getting monthly disability cheques from the government — $260 a month richer. (...) After three decades of battling schizophrenia and homelessness and poverty, Chamberlain finally got a job. She worked 2 ½ days a week as a peer support worker on the very floor where she once lived at the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction. It’d be hard to find a better success story. Except, under the antediluvian web of provincial rules, she lost half of her paycheque to the government, while her rent-geared-to-income skyrocketed by 471 per cent.

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

Family courts filled with litigants and no one to guide them
November 10, 2010
By Carol Goar
It was hailed as the “birth of a new profession.”
Four years ago, Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate paralegals. Then-attorney general Michael Bryant promised that the newly proclaimed Access to Justice Act would raise the status of paralegals, protect the public and provide more choice for consumers.
Things didn’t quite work out that way.
Almost two-thirds of Ontarians who appear in family court are now unrepresented. They can’
t afford a lawyer and — thanks to the new law — they can longer use a paralegal for uncontested divorces, child custody arrangements or financial support orders.

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

Foster children get tuition support
August 25, 2010
(...)
Less than half of [Ontario's foster children complete high school by age 21, and less than a quarter of those go on to post-secondary education. By contrast, 75 per cent of Ontario youth finish high school and 40 per cent get a post-secondary education. (...) Social policy expert John Stapleton ... says youth should be allowed to stay in foster homes until they are 21 if they choose to, and that the province should financially support those in care until age 25. “The real de facto age of adulthood in our society is much higher and people are leaving home much later. If child welfare agencies are in the position of being a parent to a child, they should be doing what any normal good parent would,” he said.
Source:
Parent Central
[ The Toronto Star ]

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

Ontario deficit to last into 2017
March 16, 2010
By Robert Benzie
Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals will have to win two more elections – in 2011 and 2015 -- before Ontario’s record deficit is eliminated under a plan to be unveiled in the March 25 budget.

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

Goar: 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.

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

Advisers aim to fix Ontario's welfare 'quagmire'
By Laurie Monsebraaten
December 2, 2009
Ontario has appointed the head of Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank to head a panel of anti-poverty advocates to advise the government on a long-awaited review of its welfare system, the Star has learned."If this group can't make the proper recommendations, then nobody can," said food bank executive director Gail Nyberg. Almost 800,000 Ontarians – including about 236,000 children and about 260,000 disabled people – live on provincial welfare and disability supports that leave most of them trapped in grinding poverty and despair. (...) The advisory panel, which will meet with Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur before Christmas, will help the government finalize the scope of the review and start work in the New Year on both short- and long-term changes, the source said. The review is expected to be complete by the end of 2010. Other members of the advisory panel are Pedro Barata of the Atkinson Foundation; Colette Murphy of the Metcalf Foundation; former senior provincial social services bureaucrat John Stapleton; Michael Oliphant of the Daily Bread Food Bank; Michael Mendelson of the Caledon Institute and Kira Heineck of the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association.

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

Premiers setting national agenda
August 4, 2009
Editorial
The premiers gather tomorrow in Regina for their annual conference. With federal politics devoted mostly to name-calling and finger-pointing these days, the premiers' conference can perform an important agenda-setting function for the whole nation by refocusing debate on neglected issues of public policy.

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

Opportunity to transform early learning in Ontario
Evidence supports Pascal's blueprint for an integrated approach for children under 6

June 16, 2009
Opinion
By Jim Grieve and Bill Hogarth
We know for certain that every dollar we invest in children before they are 6-years-old saves us up to $17 in social service costs. So why does Canada shamefully spend so little in support of its youngest and most vulnerable citizens? What will it take to change the status quo – to move from talk to action and make a difference for children, families and our communities?The good news is we finally have an opportunity to make that difference. A new report entitled With Our Best Future in Mind by Charles Pascal, early learning adviser to Premier Dalton McGuinty, presents a clear and powerful blueprint for Ontario. The report calls for sweeping, collaborative action to place early learning firmly on the public agenda for Ontario and the rest of Canada. With Our Best Future in Mind calls attention to the need to build on best practice and embed proven strategies uniformly toward a total transformation of our approach to early learning. The report proposes expanded Best Start Child and Family Centres and introduces early learning programs as the enhanced full-day model for 4- and 5-year-olds.

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

Early Learning : A Star special on a new vision for Ontario Children
- includes links to a number of articles on the report on early learning:
* `Seamless' program urged for kids (by Andrea Gordon) - June 16, 2009
* The case for full-day learning (by Kenyon Wallace) - June 16, 2009
* Can teachers, daycare staff play together? (by Laurie Monsebraaten) - June 16, 2009
* Not known which schools will get kindergarten program: Premier (by Rob Ferguson) - June 15, 2009
* Full-day learning starts next year (by Laurie Monsebraaten) - June 15, 2009
* Take over daycares, Ontario schools told (by Kristin Rushowy) - June 14, 2009
* Single system for child care encouraged Laurie Monsebraaten - November 4, 2008
*The people behind the report
Fraser Mustard, Charles Pascal and Lorna Weigand were all
instrumental in the Ontario plan to make elementary schools full-day hubs for 4- and 5-year olds


Related link from
the
Government of Ontario:

With Our Best Future in Mind:
Implementing Early Learning in Ontario

June 2009
Complete report:
PDF
(2.1MB, 68 pages)
HTML - table of contents + links to individual chapters of the report
News Release (June 15)
Summary

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

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...
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.

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

'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.

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.

NOTE: For more links to information about the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy,
see http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

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

Fix welfare rules that hurt jobless
Editorial
March 24, 2009
The number of Ontarians living on welfare is rising. Another 18,000 cases were added in the last few months, bringing the total to more than 214,000 cases. That's nearly 400,000 people living on welfare. The hard truth is that even these numbers understate the real need for social assistance, given the effects of the economic downturn. Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who have lost their jobs will soon run out of severance pay and exhaust their Employment Insurance benefits. Yet many of these recent victims of the economic downturn will discover that they face even more hurdles – and humiliations – because of the punitive welfare rules still in place.

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

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 ]

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

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

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.

Related links:
- Go to the Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

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

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.

Recent columns by Carol Goar
(Toronto Star):

Hard times call for Ontarians to pull together
Opinion
February 20, 2009
By Carol Goar
"One of Dalton McGuinty's favourite phrases is "shared responsibility." In his first term as premier, he applied it to everything from curbing gun violence to keeping seniors healthy and independent. But since his re-election 16 months ago, he has used it chiefly to explain, affirm and defend his pledge to reduce poverty. "There will be part of the (upcoming provincial) budget that speaks to our shared responsibility to help those Ontarians who have been most affected by this recession," he promised last week. This is a welcome departure from the blame-the-victim language that prevailed at Queen's Park for more than a decade. But anti-poverty groups are withholding their applause. The premier's rhetoric is encouraging, but Ontario's welfare system still operates on the assumption that recipients should be hounded and lectured about their responsibility to become self-supporting. The government's desire to tackle poverty seems genuine, but its actions have been modest and its plans are vague. It would be nice to believe that Ontario is returning to its tradition of protecting the vulnerable and supporting the disadvantaged."

Putting healthy food within reach
February 18, 2009
"(...) a coalition of 350 anti-poverty organizations, known as the 25 in 5 Network, is asking Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to include a $100 monthly Healthy Food Supplement in monthly welfare cheques. The extra $25 a week wouldn't enable people who depend on social assistance to follow the Canada Food Guide, which calls for five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, three daily servings of milk or cheese and two daily servings of meat or high-protein substitutes.But it might mean an apple or a banana a day. It might mean a glass of milk at dinner. It might mean chicken instead of macaroni on Sundays."

Size of your food bill depends on where you live
February 16, 2009
"(...) The Heart and Stroke Foundation is calling on the government to monitor food prices and issue regular reports to Canadians. It also wants Ottawa to sit down with food producers, wholesalers, retailers and marketing boards to find out why there is so much inconsistency in the price of healthy foods. It is asking the agri-food industry to promote equitable food pricing within and between communities. And it is advising Canadians to shop carefully, choose frozen vegetables when fresh produce is unavailable or expensive, and learn more about healthy eating."

[ Earlier columns by Carol Goar ]

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

Also from The Star:

Food supplement 'can't wait'
Pressure mounts on province to introduce $100-a-month benefit for welfare recipients
February 20, 2009
By Megan Ogilvie
The call for the Ontario government to introduce a $100 healthy food supplement for all adults on social assistance is getting louder. Yesterday, Toronto's medical officer of health added his voice to the campaign for the introduction of the monthly food supplement in the upcoming provincial budget. A coalition of 350 anti-poverty organizations, called the 25in5 Network, along with the Association of Local Public Health Agencies, has mounted the drive for more nutrition dollars.


Is a cellphone a basic human right?

As the United States provides mobile phones to the poor, experts argue they are not a luxury

January 10, 2009
By Lynda Hurst
All compassionate governments should provide which of the following to their people:
a) food
b) shelter
c) medical care
d) a cellphone.
Having a little problem with d)?
Rephrase it then to "the right to communicate."
Still a problem?
It isn't south of the border.
In the wake of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. has increased the drive to ensure all citizens have basic phone services and access to help in times of emergency. More than 7 million Americans still don't. Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched SafeLink, a program that provides eligible people with a free cellphone and 68 minutes a month of free airtime for the period of one year. It includes texting, voicemail, call waiting and caller ID. The program is up and running in Florida, Tennessee and Virginia, where more than 2 million households qualify for the service, and is scheduled to go into nine other states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. SafeLink was the brainchild of Miami-based TracFone Wireless Inc., the largest prepaid cellphone company in the U.S. As a purely prepaid provider, TracFone has always aimed at the market's lower end.
Source:
The Toronto Star

[ NOTE : Be sure to read the Comments section at the bottom of the article for reactions from 60+ readers on the subject of free cell phones for people living in poverty. These reactions range from the reasonable ("If done correctly, a great idea") to the ridiculous ("Why not give them a plasma TV while you're at it?"). Read the above article and the bumph from SafeLink Wireless below and decide for yourself : is a cell phone a basic human right? My own view is that the concept and rationale are excellent, but the optics are horrible and not very "marketable" from a political standpoint...]

Related link:

SafeLink Wireless (U.S.) is a government supported program that provides a free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers.
To be eligible for SafeLink, a person must be participating in specified State or Federal assistance programs, such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid - OR - the person's total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by individual States and/or the Federal Government. [This works out to $18,000 (U.S.) for an individual and $26,000 for a four-person family.]

When 'poorhouse' wasn't only an expression
A local museum preserves in harrowing detail the stories of a forgotten institution
January 3, 2009
By Tracey Tyler
"(...) Though more commonly associated with Victorian England and novels by Charles Dickens, such as Oliver Twist, the poorhouse was part of Canada's social fabric for more than 60 years and one of its earliest legislated responses to poverty."

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

Glimmers of hope in poverty fight
October 17, 2008
By Carol Goar
Today, people of conscience in every country will take time to mark International Day to Eradicate Poverty. Canadians will meet in council chambers and classrooms, homes and churches to renew their commitment to fight poverty. The tradition began 15 years ago, when the United Nations designated Oct. 17 as a day for humanity to stand together against the most ruthless killer and greatest cause of suffering in the world. It has been observed – usually by a devoted few – ever since. For Canadian anti-poverty campaigners, this year's anniversary comes at a particularly challenging time.
(...)
Although the Conservatives won Tuesday's federal election, the three opposition parties captured more than half of the seats in Parliament. The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois all want Ottawa to tackle poverty. Their policies are very similar. If they are prepared to use their combined strength to advance policies that will help struggling Canadians, they have the votes to make headway. It will take political maturity and a strong prod from the Canadians who voted for them. But there is potential for progress under a minority government. (...) For those working tirelessly to lift their fellow citizens out poverty at home and abroad, promising glimmers and isolated success stories don't provide a lot of sustenance. Luckily, they don't need a lot.

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

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.

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

Recessions hit poor the hardest
July 18, 2008
Carol Goar
Canada has been through seven recessions since 1950. It looks as if we're heading for an eighth. Past contractions have varied greatly in length and severity. Some have been highly localized, others have been all encompassing. Some have destroyed governments, others have scarcely registered on the political scale. Despite this variation, they've all had one thing in common: The poor have fared worse than the rich.

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

'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.

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

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.

See also:
- Canadian Social Research Links Antipoverty Strategies and Campaigns page

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

Foster children left behind, NDP charges
February 20, 2008
By Tanya Talaga
News that 20,000 Ontario foster children were left out of an anti-poverty plan proves how flawed Premier Dalton McGuinty’s child benefit program is, the province’s NDP leader says. In 2003, McGuinty promised he would end a clawback of the national child benefit supplement, which takes about $1,500 a year out of the pockets of families on welfare and disability support, Howard Hampton charged yesterday. However, parents who receive Ontario disability support or Ontario Works payments are still having the national child benefit deducted from those cheques, Hampton said.

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

McGuinty forgets vulnerable kids
February 18, 2008
NDP Children and Youth Services critic Andrea Horwath slammed Dalton McGuinty for once again failing Ontario’s poor and most vulnerable by forgetting to include foster children in his child benefit program.
Source:
Ontario NDP website

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

Thousands of foster kids to get RESPs
Province tells children's aid societies to put cash from federal child care benefit into education plan

April 23, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten and Tanya Talaga, Social Justice Reporters
Queen's Park is ordering Ontario children's aid societies to set up registered education savings plans for all kids in foster care younger than age 6 receiving Ottawa's $100-a-month child-care benefit. An annual contribution of $1,200 from birth to age 6 would trigger $340 a year in matching federal funds and $1,000 in Canada Learning Bond payments up to age 6. After that, the RESP would grow by $100 per year in Canada Learning Bond payments, until age 16, according to the Royal Bank, which was chosen by the province to manage the RESPs at no charge to the societies.
Source:
The Toronto Star

Buddy can you spare a home?
April 5, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten
More than 66,000 individuals and families in Toronto are on the list for subsidized apartments in these buildings – a number city officials say would take 66 years to serve at the current rate of affordable housing construction. They are the tip of a veritable iceberg of need in a city where an estimated 200,000 low-income households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent and another 4,000 sleep in homeless shelters every night.

Ottawa must commit on housing: Province
April 5, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten
A Toronto plan to provide safe, affordable homes for more than 200,000 vulnerable families and individuals in the next 10 years may never get off the ground if Ottawa doesn't contribute, warns Ontario Housing Minister Jim Watson.

Working poor still losing ground:
Report shows Ontario child poverty rate still rising; system penalizes working poor

April 2, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten
When Andrea Duffield's youngest child started Grade 1 last fall, the single mother of three got a part-time job in the hope of pulling her family out of poverty. But the extra income caused her subsidized rent to double. And after taxes and work-related expenses, her Toronto family wasn't any further ahead.

Hand up for foster kids
Editorial
February 25, 2008
When the provincial government introduced its new five-year, $2.1 billion Ontario Child Benefit in its budget last year as the cornerstone of its pledge to fight poverty, it did not extend the program to the 20,000 Ontario children in foster care. The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies pointed out the apparent oversight during the budget lock-up last March. But the problem, which cost each child $250 last year, still has not been fixed.

Related links from the
Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Making It A Little Easier For Low-Income Ontario Families
File Your Income Tax Return To Qualify For New Monthly Ontario Child Benefit
News Release
February 22, 2008

Ontario Child Benefit (OCB)
In July 2007, eligible families received a one-time down payment of up to $250 for each dependent child under 18. Beginning in July 2008, the Ontario Child Benefit will be delivered to eligible families each month. In July 2008, about 460,000 families will receive a monthly Ontario Child Benefit payment of up to $600 per child annually. When the program is fully implemented in 2011, more than 600,000 low-income families will receive up to $1,100 per child annually.

Ontario Child Benefit Calculator - from the Ontario Ministry of Finance
New Ontario Child Benefit - from the 2007 Ontario Budget (March 22/07)
OCB Backgrounder - from the 2007 Ontario Budget

Ontarians hope budget will spark EI reform
But despite pressure from McGuinty, Flaherty unlikely to act on uneven benefit payments
February 23, 2008
By Les Whittington
OTTAWA–Ontarians facing the threat of a recession will keep a nervous eye on Tuesday's federal budget to see if the Conservatives will deal with an Employment Insurance program that leaves the province's jobless lagging far behind other Canadians.

---

McGuinty wants equal EI pay for Ontario workers
Says unemployed are being short-changed $1.7B and wants Ottawa to address discrepancy in budget
February 23, 2008
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Premier Dalton McGuinty wants the federal government to use next Tuesday's budget to fix a problem that is keeping $1.7 billion out of the hands of Ontario unemployed workers. But the chances are it won't happen, despite a $50 billion surplus in the Employment Insurance program. McGuinty has been vociferous in complaining about how Ontario's unemployed workers are treated differently than those in other provinces.

An income for all Canadians
A guaranteed income program would lift more than 1.5 million people out of poverty
February 17, 2008
Comment by Reginald Stackhouse
Some ideas are rejected in the public forum not because they have been tried and found wanting but because they have been found challenging and not tried. One of them is a proposal that can really make poverty history in this country – no, not by increasing any or all of our existing social programs. Just the opposite.They will be replaced by a basic income policy, a.k.a. guaranteed annual income or negative income tax. It will provide all Canadians with an annual income, regardless of what other income they enjoy, earned or unearned.

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

Bridging Toronto's divides
Only a socially inclusive strategy can overcome the twin `paradoxes of globalization'
January 20, 2008
In the past few months, two major reports have delivered a disturbing message to everyone concerned about Toronto's future. In November, the United Way's Losing Ground documented growing income inequality across the city with more than 30 per cent of families living in poverty, rising to more than 50 per cent for single-parent families. Still digesting the implications of that report, Torontonians' holiday spirits were dampened by the University of Toronto study, The Three Cities within Toronto. It mapped the new geography of the economic gap. Since 1970, Toronto's renowned mixed-income neighbourhoods have become harder to find, squeezed between an opulent inner city and deteriorating suburbs. The overall conclusion: Toronto is Canada's richest city, but also becoming its poorest and most divided.
Source:
The Toronto Star

Related links:

Losing Ground: The persistent growth
of family poverty in Canada's largest city

November 2007
Source:
United Way of Greater Toronto

The Three Cities within Toronto:
Income polarization among Toronto’s neighbourhoods, 1970–2000
(PDF file - 880K, 12 pages)
December 2007
by J. David Hulchanski
[
Related Table, maps and figures ]
Source:
Centre for Urban and Community Studies (University of Toronto)

Eliminating poverty makes economic sense
January 11, 2008
By Ann Decter*
When Canada's First Ministers meet over dinner tonight in Ottawa, they'll sit down to the unusual opportunity to chew on an issue that has support from premiers of all political stripes. Along with dinner, they can take a big bite out of poverty. Any meeting focused on the economy and labour force requirements should take a hard look at the statistic that almost 12 per cent of Canadians under 18 are living in poverty. Meeting labour force requirements will mean ensuring all Canadian youth are prepared for the working world, and none are left behind with inadequate skills.
Source:
The Toronto Star

[ * Ann Decter is national co-ordinator of Campaign 2000, a coalition working to end poverty in Canada, and interim director of social reform at the Family Service Association of Toronto. ]

Related links:

Campaign 2000 Media release: Poverty Should Top First Ministers’ Agenda
January 10, 2008
Reducing poverty should lead the agenda of today’s First Ministers’ Meeting in Ottawa, says Campaign 2000, the national non-partisan coalition working to end child and family poverty. In an open letter, the coalition urged the First Ministers to use the meeting to take initial steps toward creating a national Poverty Reduction Strategy with targets and timetables.

Open letter to First Ministers from Campaign 2000 (PDF file - 32K, 3 pages)
January 11, 2008

The Liberals' calculated fight against poverty
Stéphane Dion's strategy of targeting low-income Canadians looks starry-eyed.
It might just be a hard-nosed play for the middle class
January 5, 2008
Susan Delacourt
OTTAWA–The next federal election campaign could spark an intriguing form of Liberal-Conservative class warfare: the Liberals, putting poverty front and centre, while the Conservatives continue their quest to own the middle-class vote in Canada. So is it food banks versus tax breaks in the expected election campaign of 2008? The homeless versus the suburban dwellers? The battle lines may not be that clear-cut, but it's worth asking why Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion and his party have decided to embrace the anti-poverty fight so intensely – at the same time as many strategists argue that successful election campaigns are fought in the middle of Canada's income spectrum.

No time to let up on poverty front
Editorial
January 02, 2008
If our political leaders muster the will to act, 2008 could very well mark the year in the history books when the appalling but silent enemy of poverty in Canada was finally engaged. It has been a year now since the Star launched its War on Poverty in a continuing series of editorials and news stories aimed at documenting the toll poverty takes on one in every 10 Canadians and nearly one in five of the children living in one of the richest countries in the world.

A '25-and-5' goal to fight poverty
September 4, 2007
Some 18 years ago, Parliament voted unanimously to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. Today, the percentage of children in Canada and in Ontario living in poverty is higher than it was back in 1989. As well, the percentage of all Canadians in poverty is as high as ever. In a country and a province so rich, it is a disgrace that so many Canadians are living in poverty – estimates run up to 5.3 million people. In Ontario, the child poverty rate is 17 per cent, or one in every six children. Food banks served 330,500 Ontarians in 2006. (...) In Ontario, the provincial branch of the national anti-poverty group Campaign 2000 is challenging all three major political parties to devise a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy before the Oct. 10 election. It has set out a credible multi-year strategy that includes defining poverty, setting targets and timetables, making long-term financial commitments and providing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the results – all things that Britain and Ireland did.

Prosperity gap weakens province
July 16, 2007
Excerpt re. anti-poverty strategies and targets:
"(...) In the United Kingdom, the government set a target to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent by 2004, missing it only by a small margin. The target is twice as ambitious for 2010, with a total elimination of child poverty by 2020. With similar goals, Ireland reduced its child poverty rate from 15 per cent in 1994 to less than 5 per cent and aims to hit zero. Here at home, Newfoundland has set a goal to be the province with the least poverty within a decade. And Quebec hopes to have one of the lowest poverty levels among the industrialized nations by 2013.

Poverty plan targets election:
Blueprint by activists urges Ontario
political parties to commit to strategy during upcoming campaign
July 13, 2007
By Kerry Gillespie
"(...) More than 330,000 Ontarians rely on food banks to survive – and 40 per cent of them are children. Today, a group dedicated to ending child poverty in Canada is releasing a blueprint for reducing child poverty in Ontario in the hopes of setting the agenda for the Oct. 10 provincial election. The Campaign 2000 report, obtained early by the Star, calls for all three political parties to commit to developing a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy. The goal should be to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent within five years and by 50 per cent within 10 years, the report states."

The Discussion Paper:

A Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario (PDF file - 425K, 14 pages)
July 2007.
By Jacquie Maund (Campaign 2000), Sarah Blackstock (Income Security Advocacy Centre), Greg deGroot -Maggetti (Citizens for Public Justice), Sara Farrell (Toronto Public Health), Elizabeth Ablett (Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care).
This report calls on all Ontario political parties to commit to a “Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario” as they finalize their party platforms for the October election.
Source:
Ontario Campaign 2000
[ Campaign 2000 ]

Ontario's political parties respond:

No commitments offered on poverty group's targets
But parties to meet with Campaign 2000 officials
July 14, 2007
By Kerry Gillespie
"Ontario's political parties yesterday would not commit to the firm targets for reducing poverty that have been proposed in a new report by the non-profit coalition Campaign 2000. Liberal officials said they appreciate the suggestions and the dedication of the group, which yesterday called on Ontario politicians to commit during the upcoming election campaign to cut child poverty in half within 10 years. The Liberals also talked about improvements they've made, including raising the minimum wage and welfare rates and introducing a child benefit for low-income families."

Poverty is a medical condition
December 15, 2006
CAROL GOAR
According to the Toronto department of public health, a single mother with two school-aged children needs $412.70 a month to feed her family properly. She has to be a thrifty shopper. She has to prepare most meals from scratch. And she has to be able to get to a decent grocery store. If she is living on social assistance, all of that is difficult. But there is a bigger problem. She has an income of $1,184 a month. That includes $582 for housing and $602 for everything else. The trouble is, there is no housing in Toronto for $582 a month. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,052 a month. So she has $132 a month left for food, clothing, toiletries, transportation, utilities and possibly heat. For this mother — and thousands like her — the health department's "nutritious food basket" is a cruel joke.

More columns by Carol Goar
- links to almost three dozen recent columns dealing with social justice themes like poverty, welfare, housing, immigration, etc

Toronto Workforce Innovation Group (TWIG)
TWIG (formerly known as the Toronto Training Board) is a not-for-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for workforce solutions. TWIG conducts labour market studies, analyzes employment trends, convenes stakeholder consultations and facilitates workforce initiatives that serve the needs of employees and employers in the City of Toronto.

Selected links:

Toronto Labour market analysis:

Sifting through the sands. Unpacking the hourglass (PDF - 2.4MB, 54 pages)
http://www.workforceinnovation.ca/sites/workforceinnovation.ca/files/SiftingThroughTheSandsWeb_0.pdf

November 2011
By Tom Zizys
This report deepens the analysis of our first report:
An Economy out of Shape: Changing the Hourglass (April 2010, PDF - 1.1MB, 56 pages):
http://www.workforceinnovation.ca/sites/workforceinnovation.ca/files/AnEconomyOutofShape.pdf
...by expanding the categories and comparing knowledge workers to those in entry-level occupations. The purpose of the report is to unpack the two ends of the labour market — the Knowledge Work and Entry-level jobs categories. The results of this analysis point to even greater polarization in the labour market in Toronto and a need for interventions that create career pathways and greater opportunities.

[Author Tom Zizys is a Toronto-based labour market specialist and consultant.]

---

Innovative Approaches to Prosperity: Shaping Toronto’s Labour Market
Breakfast Roundtable moderated by Carol Goar
November 22, 2010
A half day symposium on the challenges and solutions of Toronto’s changing labour market.
[ Background Paper (PDF - 530K, 4 pages) ]
[ Innovative Approaches to Prosperity: Shaping Toronto's Labour Market (Powerpoint - 5.8MB, 11 slides) ]

---

Two related Toronto Star
columns by Carol Goar:

November 26, 2010
Toronto’s hourglass economy needs a makeover
An economy should be oval-shaped. Toronto's looks like an hourglass; top-heavy, bottom-heavy and emaciated in the middle.

November 24, 2010
A smart social policy innovation for lean times
Could a guaranteed income for people with severe disabilities be Canada's next social advance?

Source:
Toronto Star

An Economy Out of Shape: Changing the Hourglass (PDF - 731K, 53 pages)
Researched and written by Tom Zizys
April 1, 2010
This Toronto Workforce Innovation Group report examines changes in the occupational structure of the labour force in the City of Toronto and the rest of Ontario using Statistics Canada census data. The purpose of this report is to highlight trends, isolate the impact of these trends on different population groups, and offer recommendations that can contribute to economic growth and productivity as well as promote equitable outcomes for all workers.

TV Ontario

The Debate: Ontario's War on Poverty
Making poverty a priority: What Ontario should - and should not do - as it designs its poverty reduction program.
March 3, 2008 (taped program, view on demand on your computer)
Recommended viewing!
Steve Paikin of TV Ontario's The Agenda parses the Ontario poverty reduction initiative
of Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government along with the following guests:

* Deb Matthews (Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services)
* Jacquie Maund (Coordinator of Ontario Campaign 2000)
* Finn Poschmann (Research Director, C.D. Howe Institute)
* Shawn Skinner (Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment in Newfoundland & Labrador)
[NOTE: you won't likely be able to watch this 20-minute video clip if you're behind a network firewall, but it's definitely worth viewing from home.]

Click the link above, then (on the next page) click on the tab in the top- middle of the page that says "Ontario's War on Poverty"- only then can you click on the link to the video or the podcast (in the top right corner of that page)
NOTE: - includes an extensive discussion and debate about the measurement of poverty in Ontario and elsewhere, perspectives on poverty reduction strategies in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand and panel members' recommendations concerning the best direction for Ontario's poverty reduction strategy.

Source:
The Agenda with Steve Paikin

The Tyee

Liberals to JobWave: You're Fired
$8 million job training contract cancelled; work goes to B.C. competitor.
August 29, 2008
The company that pioneered private job placement services in B.C. for people receiving welfare has lost an $8 million government contract in the province's Interior. A message sent on Aug. 8 by ASPECT-B.C.'s Community Based Trainers to its members working in the sector said the Ministry of Housing and Social Development had cancelled the Interior region contract with WCG International Consultants Ltd., which runs the JobWave program. The company continues to provide B.C. Employment Program services in other regions of the province.
(...)
WCG won a contract in 2005 to provide a pilot project, JobsNow, in Ontario. The pilot ended over a year ago and has not been renewed. The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services prepared an evaluation of the project but has not released it. Originally scheduled for a fall 2007 release, the ministry's website now says it will be released in summer 2008.
Source:
The Tyee

United Way Toronto
Established in 1956, United Way Toronto is a charity working to advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our city. Working in partnership with others, we mobilize people and resources to address the root causes of social problems and to change community conditions for the better.

Selected site content:

It’s More than Poverty : Employment Precarity
and Household Well-being
(PDF - 5.9MB, 120 pages)
http://www.unitedwaytoronto.com/downloads/whatwedo/reports/ItsMoreThanPoverty2013-02-09FReport.pdf
February 2013
(...)
Social scientists adopted the term ‘precarity’ to describe states of employment that do not have the security or benefits enjoyed in more traditional employment relationships. These precarious employment relationships are becoming the ‘new normal’ for our workforce.
(...)
The report shows that employment insecurity has an independent effect on household
well-being and community connections, regardless of income.

Source:
United Way of Toronto
http://www.unitedwaytoronto.com/

 

Poverty by Postal Code 2 : Vertical Poverty
January 2010
This report presents new data on the growing concentration of poverty in the City of Toronto and the role that high-rise housing is playing in this trend. The report tracks the continued growth in the spatial concentration of poverty in Toronto neighbourhoods, and in high-rise buildings within neighbourhoods. It then examines the quality of life that high-rise buildings are providing to tenants today. Its primary focus is on privately owned building stock in Toronto’s inner suburbs.

* Complete report (PDF - 8MB, 238 pages)
* Executive Summary (PDF - 25.4MB, 29 pages)
* Key findings
* Key maps
* Recommendations made by United Way Toronto
* Supplemental Resources
* Poverty by Postal Code (1)
- April 2004
- includes links to the full report, the executive summary and a speech by Frances Lankin about the report

United Way Toronto report reveals the geographic concentration
of poverty is growing vertically - in inner suburban high-rise apartments
.
Media Release
January 12, 2011
Agency's latest report shows the number of high poverty neighbourhoods in Toronto
has quadrupled, poverty has intensified and 92% more low-income families are living in high-rise buildings.

Slim bridge between Toronto’s two solitudes
January 17, 2011
By Carol Goar
(...) The United Way depicts this reality [decay of the "inner suburbs") in graphic detail in its latest report, Vertical Poverty. It shows how Toronto’s pockets of poverty have spread, now forming a ring around the city core. It urges the city, the province and the federal government, along with the private sector and community agencies to rehabilitate these apartment towers, which not only pose risks to residents but to the vitality of Canada’s largest city. (...) The recommendations in Vertical Poverty echo the proposals of anti-poverty activists and social agencies. The report calls for a national housing strategy; an Ontario Housing Benefit to help low-income tenants stave off eviction; an increase in funding for non-profit housing; a zoning amendment requiring developers to include affordable housing in residential highrises; a public investment in retrofitting aging apartments and an industry-government task force to tackle the problem of chronic elevator breakdown. In an era of retrenchment, this is going to be a hard sell.
Source:
Toronto Star

This research is part of United Way Toronto’s
Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy
.

Related link:

Toronto’s poor concentrated in aging highrises
January 12, 2011
By Laurie Monsebraaten
They rise up among the postwar bungalows of Toronto's inner suburbs. Towering buildings that house hundreds of thousands of the city's poorest people. These apartments are often the first home for those who came to this country looking for a better life. Once built to house modest-income and middle-class families, these aging highrises have increasingly fallen into disrepair and become rife with problems — drug dealing, vandalism, bug infestations, overcrowding — and increasing poverty. That is the bleak reality for too many highrise dwellers in Toronto, according to Vertical Poverty, a landmark report released by the United Way Wednesday.
[ Comments (37) ]
Source:
Toronto Star

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

NOTE: The links below point to the old website of the
United Way of Greater Toronto . (note the name change)
In many cases, the old links automatically redirect to the new pages. If you click a link below and you see an error page, go back to the page before the error, copy the title of the misplaced report and then paste it into the search engine on the error page.

Losing Ground: The persistent growth
of family poverty in Canada's largest city

November 2007

United Way poverty report reveals 1 in 4
Toronto families struggling in poverty

Despite economic prosperity, high employment and strong job growth Toronto’s
family poverty rate at 28.8 per cent, compared with 19.5 per cent across Canada
Media Release
TORONTO, November 26, 2007 –The number of low-income families in Toronto continues to grow at an alarming rate, opening up an ever-widening gap with families in the rest of Canada, according to a research study released today by United Way of Greater Toronto. The study also chronicles a number of startling symptoms of the persistent growth of poverty in the city, including signs of growing debt such as insolvencies, rising eviction applications, and a rapid expansion of quick-fix money solutions targeting low-income neighbourhoods across the city.

Losing Ground: The persistent growth
of family poverty in Canada's largest city

November 2007
* Full report
(pdf - 1 MB)
* Executive summary (pdf - 705 KB)
* Introduction by Frances Lankin
* Key findings
* Toronto warning signs
* Recommendations
* FAQ's
* Definitions

This report builds on and updates the findings of several groundbreaking reports:

*** Strong Neighbourhoods: A Call to Action (2005)

*** Poverty by Postal Code (2004)

***Decade of Decline (2002)
Source: United Way of Greater Toronto

*** Update to the TD Economics' 2002 Report on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Economy(2007)
Source: TD Economics

*** Time for a Fair Deal (2006)
Source: Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults Task Force

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

United Way, City of Toronto target inner suburbs with major neighbourhood investment strategy (PDF file - 119K, 2 pages)
Plan calls on governments to coordinate resources to invest in neighbourhoods
Press Release
June 30, 2005
"TORONTO– United Way and the City of Toronto today unveiled a plan to strengthen social services in neighbourhoods facing the greatest need throughout Toronto, particularly in the city’s inner suburbs. The plan identifies nine Toronto neighbourhoods where social services are most out-of-step with growing need. The Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy was released today after a year-long City of Toronto-United Way task force began looking for ways to strengthen the social infrastructure of Toronto neighbourhoods, identify community investment models, and advocate for change."

United way announces $9.5 million in investments for underserved neighbourhoods throughout Toronto (PDF file - 101K, 1 page)
Investments include community development programs to identify local issues
Press Release
June 30, 2005

Complete Report:

Strong Neighbourhoods - A Call to Action... (PDF file - 2.6MB, 44 pages)
June 2005

"Enough Talk"- An Action Plan for the Toronto Region (PDF file - 579K, 36 pages)
April 2003
The Toronto City Summit Alliance represents a coalition of over 40 civic leaders from the private, labour, voluntary and public sectors in the Toronto region.

A Decade of Decline: Poverty and Income Inequality in the City of Toronto in the 1990s
"Despite the economic recovery in the late 1990s, Toronto experienced a significant increase in poverty. A new United Way report reveals Torontonians were financially worse off at the end of the 1990s than in the rest of Canada. Government benefits were cut. Housing costs rose. In Toronto's poorest neighbourhoods, the number of families making less than $30,000/year increased from 16.8% to 20%. In Toronto during the 1990s, two-parent family incomes declined 13%, single-parent family incomes dropped 18%, and single people's incomes fell 12.5%. Neighbourhoods became more segregated as the income gap widened between Toronto's wealthiest and poorest neighbourhoods."
Press Release (PDF file - 26K, 2 pages)
Backgrounder (PDF file - 245K, 6 pages)
Executive Summary (HTML)

Poverty by Postal Code - Complete report (PDF file - 1.9MB, 92 pages)
April 2004

What United Way of Greater Toronto is doing to solve issues of poverty in our community (HTML)
Prepared jointly by :
United Way of Greater Toronto
Canadian Council on Social Development

Related Link :

A Community Growing Apart : Income Gaps and Changing Needs in the City of Toronto in the 1990s
October 2001
This report was prepared by the Canadian Council on Social Development for the United Way of Greater Toronto.

Social Issues : The quality of life for many of Toronto's seniors has deteriorated alarmingly in recent years.
"United Way's landmark new report, A Commitment to Care: Community Support Services for Seniors, identifies the causes behind the problem, what United Way is doing to help, and recommendations for improving care."
November 2001
A Commitment to Care: Community Support Services for Seniors (Complete report online)
PDF file - 2154K, 96 pages
Report Highlights

Toronto at a Turning Point: Demographic, Economic and Social Trends in Toronto
 November 1999

Taking Responsibility for Homelessness (PDF file - 1468 KB, 294 pages)
January 1999 -The Golden Report
Complete Report
Source : City of Toronto

The Golden Report : Speech - Overview - Recommendations (PDF file - 202K, 28 pages)
January 1999
Anne Golden's comments on the release of the report, an overview of the report and the complete list of 105 recommendations, all in one file

Mayor's Homelessness Action Task Force (Toronto)
Includes a short introduction by members of the Task Force and the complete list of 105 recommendations. Also includes a link to the July 1998 interim report,  "Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness". 

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
(Anti-homelessness coalition) 
Visit this site for links to almost 50 relevant web pages on homelessness, many Canadian... 

United Way of Ottawa

Leadership Table on Homelessness launches 10-year plan, announces placement of 100 people in first year
May 22, 2009
Ottawa – This morning, the Leadership Table on Homelessness (LTH) announced that, through the support of the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing and the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, 100 chronically homeless people in our community will be placed in supportive housing within the next few weeks. The LTH also released Destination: Home, a plan for our community to address and eliminate chronic homelessness
[ The Leadership Table on Homelessness (LTH) consists of business leaders, government officials, community agencies and members of the faith community, who have come together to implement a plan to end chronic homelessness in Ottawa. The LTH is a community-wide initiative, supported by United Way/Centraide Ottawa and the City of Ottawa. ]
Source:
United Way of Ottawa

Complete report (10-year plan):

Destination: Home
Leadership Table on Homelessness
Ending Chronic Homelessness in Ottawa:
Our Vision, Our Plan
(PDF - 1.2MB, 13 pages)
May 2009
Core Strategies:
1. HOUSING FIRST
Provide a permanent, stable home for every chronically homeless person.
2. SUPPORT SERVICES
Provide each chronically homeless person with the support services he or she needs in order to remain housed and off the streets.
3. ENGAGEMENT
Build understanding about chronic homelessness and engage the community in helping us provide housing and support services to the chronically homeless

Related links:

City to spend $1M a year to help 100 homeless get off streets
May 22, 2009
The City of Ottawa announced Friday that it's taking a million-dollar step toward ending chronic homelessness in the city. With the help of Leadership Table on Homelessness, the group of business leaders and government officials that made the announcement Friday, the city said it hopes to help 100 chronically homeless people a year. The city said it has committed $1 million a year to provide support for the 100 homeless who will soon be given homes.
Source:
CBC

Report urges housing for chronically homeless
Saving on services will bring benefits to us all in the long run, group says
May 22, 2009
OTTAWA - The squalid, shadowy side of Fat City came sharply into focus Friday with the release of a compelling report on how to end chronic homelessness in Ottawa within 10 years. The report, titled "Destination: Home," noted that more than 1,400 people in Ottawa are categorized as "chronically homeless," defined as those who spend more than 60 cumulative nights a year on the streets or in shelters.
Source:
The Ottawa Citizen

Income Support for Persons With Disabilities [in Ontario, B.C and Alberta] - (PDF - 1.5MB, 21 pages)
By
Ronald Kneebone and Oksana Grynishak
This paper examines the criteria disabled persons in Ontario, B.C and Alberta must meet in order to receive income-support. The authors also trace variations of monthly payment levels in relation to political exigencies and inflationary pressures affecting the cost of living. By crunching these numbers, the authors reveal whether disability funding in these three provinces is enough to cover the basic needs of the people who receive support.
Source:
School of Public Policy
[ University of Calgary ]

University of Calgary: Alberta, Ontario barely meeting needs of people with disabilities - BC failing
New study compares support for disabled across three provinces
Sept. 21, 2011
Calgary, Alberta
Most people will agree that a fundamental role of government is to provide a safety net for people who are disabled and have no source of income. However, in a groundbreaking comparative study released today by The School of Public Policy, Prof. Ron Kneebone reveals a disparity between the support provided by BC, Alberta and Ontario to disabled residents, and argues that BC is failing to provide for basic needs.
Source:
MarketWatch

 

October 2009

Vital Signs
Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of our communities, identifies trends, and shares opportunities for action in at least ten areas critical to quality of life.
Since Toronto's first Vital Signs publication, the Report has been adopted by 16 communities across Canada and is now conducted nationally by Community Foundations of Canada.

Local Reports
Click the link for reports covering the following participating cities and regions:
* Calgary * Central Okanagan * Guelph & Wellington * Kingston & Area * Medicine Hat * Oakville
* Ottawa * Red Deer * Saint John * Sudbury * Sunshine Coast * Toronto * Victoria * Waterloo * Wolfville (NS)

NOTE : Only the link to the Toronto and Ottawa reports appear below because I live in Ottawa, and Toronto is, well, Toronto*, eh...
For all other city reports, click the above link and select a city or region to access its report.
---
* Hey, I'm not sayin' that Toronto would pick up its marbles and go home or anything if I *didn't*
include a link to their report, but the population of Toronto is larger than most of the other provinces combined (except Ontario), so there ya go...
---

Ottawa:
2009 Vital Signs Report - Ottawa (PDF - 2.9MB, 27 pages)
Source:
Community Foundation of Ottawa

Toronto:
Toronto's Vital Signs 2009 (PDF, 2.8 MB)
Source:
Toronto Community Foundation

We help people invest in Toronto, making it the best place to live, work, learn and grow. We monitor the quality of life in our city, identifying its strengths and weaknesses through our Toronto’s Vital Signs® report

Related links:

Toronto: A city of disparities
October 6, 2009
By Royson James
Sooner, rather than later, Toronto needs a strike force to confront the dangerous patterns', `This is a picture of sickness linked to poverty – a snapshot of a city moving in opposite directions, its populace increasingly polarized. (...) Since 1998, the Toronto Community Foundation has been alerting us to the changing forces in our city and region. Toronto's Vital Signs, the annual checkup of the city's social, economic, environmental and physical health continues this year to track the alerts.

Community Foundations of Canada
We are the Canadian movement for community vitality, representing 168 Community Foundations across the country. Together, we help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work and play.

- Go to the Municipal Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/municipal.htm

University of British Columbia

Young parents squeezed for time and money, report finds
A University of British Columbia study found that it's much more expensive to raise a family than it was a generation ago.
October 18, 2011
By Andrea Gordon
Canadian parents are raising children with far less money and time than their baby boomer predecessors, despite the doubling of the Canadian economy since 1976, says a report from the University of British Columbia. At the same time, Canadians approaching retirement are wealthier than ever before, setting up an intergenerational tension that threatens young families, according to the study, released Tuesday.
Source:
Toronto Star

From the
University of British Columbia:

Does Canada work for all generations?
By Paul Kershaw and Lynell Anderson
October 18, 2011

Related resources:

* New Deal for Families blog
* YouTube video "New Deal for Families"

Source:
Human Early Learning Partnership
The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network, based at the University of British Columbia. HELP’s unique partnership brings together many scientific viewpoints to address complex early child development (ECD) issues. HELP connects researchers and practitioners from communities and institutions across B.C., Canada, and internationally.
[ University of British Columbia ]

University of Windsor (Peel Region, Ontario)
http://www.uwindsor.ca/

Homelessness in the Suburbs:
Engulfment in the Grotto of Poverty
(PDF)
http://goo.gl/YhG24
December 2012
By Isolde Daiski, Nancy Viva Davis Halifax, Gail J. Mitchell and Andre Lyn
This paper describes findings from a research inquiry into the lived experience of homelessness in Peel, a suburban region located in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. It is informed by a collaborative project undertaken by members of the Faculties of Health and Education at York University.

Source:
Studies in Social Justice

http://ojs.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/ssj
Studies in Social Justice publishes articles on issues dealing with the social, cultural, economic, political, and philosophical problems associated with the struggle for social justice.

Vicariousass - Vass Bednar's blog
http://vicariousass.com/

Poor Choice
http://vicariousass.com/2012/11/06/poor-choice/
November 6, 2012
By Vass Bednar
[Concerning Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's announcement to prorogue the current session of the Ontario Legislature.]

We know that the “Education Premier” [ http://goo.gl/z15ZQ ] (your “Premier Dad”[ http://goo.gl/8aEmj ]) has pressed “pause” on Parliament. Much has been written about his decision to prorogue – what does it mean? Why did he do it? Does it show contempt? And just how annoyed and/or impressed are we that it was a “surprise”? I can resist those punditry sirens. I prefer to question the timing of that very prorogation itself. Why? I want to discuss the serious policy implications of his pulling of the Parliamentary chute and explain that he stood up our worst-off. How? By effectively ignoring the projected release date of a significant piece of policy research: the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance Ontario. A poor choice, indeed.
[NOTE : includes links to over a dozen related online resources.]

Source:
Vicariousass - Vass Bednar's blog
http://vicariousass.com/

More about Vass Bednar:
http://www.naki-o.com/2012/08/public-policy-and-roller-derbys.html

Vital Signs
http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/home
Vital Signs
is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada. It measures the vitality of our communities, identifies major trends, and assigns grades in a range of areas critical to our quality of life. Vital Signs is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada. More than 30 community foundations are involved in Vital Signs program – either producing a report or acting on the findings of previous reports.

Indicators used in the report:
* Arts & culture * Belonging & engagement * Economy * Environmental sustainability * Health & Wellness * Housing * Learning * Safety * Sports & recreation * Standard of living * Transportation

Vital Signs 2012 : Local Reports
http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/localreports
NOTE : Includes links to previous years' editions of Vital Signs (back to 2007)

The following cities and towns have released (or will release) Vital Signs reports in 2012:
* Victoria --- http://www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca/vital-signs/victoria
* Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region --- http://clayoquotbiosphere.org/web/vital-signs/
* Sunshine Coast --- http://sccfoundation.com/vitalsigns/
* Calgary
--- http://www.thecalgaryfoundation.org/initiatives/vital-signs/calgary-s-vital-signs
* Medicine Hat --- http://cfsea.ca/vital-signs/
* Winkler --- http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/local-19-winkler-s-vital-signs
* London --- http://www.lcf.on.ca/initiatives/london-vital-signs
* Waterloo Region --- http://www.kwcf.ca/vital_signs
* Toronto --- https://tcf.ca/torontos-vital-signs
* Hamilton --- http://hamiltonvitalsigns.ca/
* Burlington --- http://www.burlingtonfoundation.org/vital-signs
* Sudbury --- http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/local-18-greater-sudbury-s-vital-signs
* Kingston --- http://www.cfka.org/vital-signs-2012

* Montreal
--- http://www.signesvitauxmontreal.ca/en/
* Halifax
--- http://www.cfns.ca/pages/contact.html

More information about Vital Signs:
http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/about

Voices From the Street
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.

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:

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.

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

waterlooregion.org
Human services in the Waterloo Region
- Social Planning Council of K-W
- Waterloo Region Community Information Centre
- Waterloo Wide Web
- Let's Talk About Poverty (poverty fact sheets)

Web Networks Community ("Canada's online home for social change")
"Web Networks' mission is
to contribute to building a self-reliant online community based on non-profit enterprise, cooperation, and mutual aid which can support, maintain, and defend principles of social responsibility, ecology, and economic justice."

Wellesley Central Health Corporation
As one of Canada's longest serving urban health organisations, Wellesley Central Health Corporation, continues its mission to promote the health of urban communities. We act on this mission though the implementation of our vision. That is, to be a leader and catalyst for enhancing the wellness and health of the people of Southeast Toronto and other urban communities.


The Wellesley Institute

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.

Wellesley Institute Blog

Selected site content:

Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit : A Reprieve
Ontario’s holiday gift to Toronto restores some of housing and homeless funding that was cut
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/ontarios-holiday-gift-to-toronto-restores-some-of-housing-and-homeless-funding-that-was-cut/
January 4, 2013
By Michael Shapcott
Toronto will get a $12.3 million holiday gift from the province – partial repayment, for one year only, of $21 million in housing and homelessness funding cuts that took effect on January 1st. The Ontario government rushed out its announcement of $42 million in transitional housing and homelessness funds to municipalities in the middle of the holiday season, just days before major cuts to provincial housing and homelessness funding were due to take place. While the new funds are one-time only and only a partial replacement for the funds that were cut, municipal and community advocates are welcoming the news as a partial victory in their campaign to restore funding for the cuts to Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit [ http://goo.gl/jDMBi ] and other provincial housing and homeless funding.

---

December 20, 2012
Counting down to the end of the Community Start-Up
and Maintenance Benefit: there’s still time for Ontario to avoid a crisis

http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/counting-down-to-the-end-of-the-community-start-up-and-maintenance-benefit-theres-still-time-for-ontario-to-avoid-a-crisis/
By Steve Barnes
We’re now less than two weeks away from the Government of Ontario terminating the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and an impending and avoidable housing and homelessness crisis. The CSUMB helps people receiving social assistance to pay for large or unexpected housing-related costs, supporting them to become and remain housed. As of January 1st, this benefit will be terminated and 50 percent of its funding will be passed to municipalities to run their own programs, which as yet are mostly undefined; the remaining 50 percent will be cut.

---

Earlier impact analysis
by the Wellesley Institute:

November 14, 2012
The Real Cost Of Cutting the
Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit

http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/publication/the-real-cost-of-cutting-csumb/
By Bob Gardner, Steve Barnes and Jennefer Laidley
In its 2012 budget, the Ontario government announced that it was eliminating the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) as of January 1, 2013. The CSUMB is designed to assist people receiving social assistance who have large or unexpected housing-related costs. Having access to this kind of immediate and flexible fund can often be the difference between getting a home and staying in a shelter or staying housed and losing one’s home. It can also be the critical support for people to leave abusive situations.
Access to housing that is safe and affordable is a key determinant of health and the cancellation of the CSUMB has the potential to increase the number of low income Ontarians who are precariously housed or who are homeless. This paper sets out some of the potential health implications of this decision through an equity lens.

The Real Cost of Cutting the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit:
A Health Equity Impact Assessment
(PDF - 852K, 13 pages)
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/The-Real-Cost-of-Cutting-CSUMB1.pdf
November 2012

---

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

---

Related link 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/

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

Minority Ontario government creates opportunity
to bring in much-needed four-point housing plan

By Michael Shapcott
October 7, 2011
The minority Liberal government voters elected on October 6 provides a political opportunity for Ontario to realize a long-overdue and much-needed four-point affordable housing plan. The province’s last two minority governments delivered robust housing initiatives: In 1975, the province’s first rent regulation and tenant protection laws, which grew more substantial and effective until they were significantly dismantled in 1998; and Ontario’s first major affordable housing programs in 1985, which were successfully increased until they were shut down in 1995.

The signs of Ontario’s province-wide housing distress are clear:
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/Housing-Election-20112.pdf (466K, 2 pages)
- one in every three Ontario renter households are in core housing need – the federal government’s definition of precarious housing. Approximately 1.3 million provincial households pay 30 percent or more of their income on housing, the official definition of unaffordable housing.

A four-point housing agenda for the new minority Ontario government would include the following:
1. New affordable homes
2. Affordability measures
3. Rent regulation / rental housing protection
4. Ending homelessness / linking with supports

---

* Three reasons why cutting the Hardship Fund is unfair and inequitable
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/three-reasons-why-cutting-the-hardship-fund-is-unfair-and-inequitable/
July 26, 2012
1. The Hardship Fund provides support to people who do not receive social assistance.
2. The cut will unfairly impact recent immigrants, who are often overrepresented in precarious and low-paid work, which has negative health implications.
3. Homeless and poorly-housed people will lose one of the few benefits that support their health.

* Actions to address the impact of cuts to refugee health benefits
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/actions-to-address-the-impact-of-cuts-to-refugee-health-benefits/
July 23, 2012

* Refugees are feeling the real cost of cuts to health benefits
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/health-care/refugees-are-feeling-the-real-cost-of-cuts-to-health-benefits/
July 12, 2012

* Reforming social assistance in Ontario: progress so far and an update
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/economics/income-inequality-economics/reforming-social-assistance-in-ontario-progress-so-far-and-an-update/
June 18, 2012
Recently, the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario announced that their report would be delayed until September. Since submitting our formal responses– one on how to build a social assistance system that enables health equity [ http://goo.gl/J2boE ] and the other a response to the Commission’s second discussion paper [ http://goo.gl/7HC9k ] – the Wellesley Institute has been working with the Commission and with community and professional partners to develop options that would advance population health in the social assistance system.

* Why Toronto’s rich and poor are hospitalized for different reasons, and what we can do about this
http://goo.gl/s4wDB
June 7, 2012
Earlier this week, the Centre for Research on Inner City Health released a report [ (PDF - http://goo.gl/VgiIu ] linking patient incomes to types of admissions to hospitals in the Toronto Central LHIN.]

Source:
Research and Publications
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/publications/

---

Scaffolding up, but lots of work still needed before Ontario finishes building its housing plan
November 29, 2010
The Ontario government has put up the scaffolding for a long-term affordable housing strategy, but there’s plenty of unfinished business for Queen’s Park as it seeks to build a truly comprehensive plan to ensure everyone has access to a healthy, affordable home. There are no targets, timelines and no new housing investments. After six months of consultations, more than 1,000 detailed submissions and a year of writing, Ontario housing minister Rick Bartolucci released the much-needed and long-overdue plan earlier today.

The Wellesley Institute’s backgrounder (PDF - 235K, 6 pages) provides details of what’s in, and what’s missing, from today’s announcement, and it also includes an assessment of how the draft plan measures up to the five tests set by the Housing Network of Ontario.

Housing Checklist – How does Ontario’s Long Term Housing Strategy measure up?
November 29, 2010
As the provincial government releases their plan for affordable housing, we thought it might be helpful to share a checklist to track whether or not the Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy measures up.

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

The Government of Ontario's
Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy Document:

Safe and affordable housing is fundamental for Ontarians striving to build a strong future for their families and their communities.
HTML version - 20 pages of text all on one long page
PDF version (1MB, 20 pages) more printer-friendly
Source:
Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy
Building Foundations: Building Futures

[ Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing ]

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

Related links:

From
stableandaffordable.com
:

Ontario's proposed affordable housing plan fails to meet five basic tests set by Housing Network of Ontario
November 30
The Ontario government released its much anticipated Long-term Affordable Housing Strategy today, but the document failed to provide a plan that meets all five basic tests set out by the Housing Network of Ontario and its almost 500 supporters across the province.

stableandaffordable.com
... is an initiative of the Wellesley Institute and many partners across Ontario. Here, you’ll find plenty of facts and figures about housing in Ontario, along with stories from people around the province, and tips for actions that you can take to ensure everyone in Ontario has a stable and affordable home.

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

U.S. set to unveil national strategic plan to end homelessness as Canada dithers
By Michael Shapcott
June 15, 2010
On June 22 (2010), the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness will unveil Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. (...) This national homelessness plan is the latest in a series of housing and homelessness policies from the Obama administration that includes $1 billion to capitalize the US National Housing Trust Fund. (...) Meanwhile, in Canada, legislation to create a national housing plan (Bill C-304) is stalled in the Commons ...[a]nd Ontario has just announced that it is pushing back the date of the launch of its provincial housing plan until the fall after promising that the plan would be released in the spring of 2010.

Related links:

* U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
* U.S. National Housing Trust Fund
* U.S. National Alliance to End Homelessness
* Bill C-304
(Canadian national housing plan)

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

Ontario delays launch of provincial affordable housing strategy
By Michael Shapcott
June 15, 2010
The Ontario government promised last year, during its six-month province-wide consultation, that it would release its Long-term Affordable Housing Strategy by the spring of 2010. With just days remaining until the end of spring, a senior official in the office of the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has confirmed that the the province will miss its own deadline

Canadians, especially women,
caught in time crunch between work, family, personal needs

By Michael Shapcott
June 15, 2010
Canadians, especially women, are caught in a time crunch and the trend has been getting worse over the past 15 years, says a new report by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), Caught in the Time Crunch: Time Use, Leisure and Culture in Canada.
- includes highlights of the report

The report:

Caught in the Time Crunch: Time Use, Leisure and Culture in Canada (PDF - 1.3MB, 38 pages)
June 15, 2010
This report that follows presents a summary and highlights of research studies in two inter-related quality of life categories:
• Time Use; and
• Leisure and Culture.
Source:
Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW)
The CIW provides unique insights into the quality of life of Canadians – overall, and in specific areas that matter: our standard of living, our health, the quality of our environment, our education and skill levels, the way we use our time, the vitality of our communities, our participation in the democratic process, and the state of our leisure and culture.

Other CIW Reports

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

Controversial Toronto street needs
assessment reports sharp drop in street homelessness

April 16, 2010
Toronto’s latest street needs assessment (released today) shows that the number of street homeless has dropped by half, while the number of sheltered homeless has risen. The methodology behind the count is controversial, as the Wellesley Institute has noted. There are plenty of more reliable studies of the real needs of people who are homeless or precariously housed. The latest assessment ignores the single biggest component of the homeless population – the hidden homeless (couch-surfers). Toronto’s affordable housing waiting list is at an all-time high, and the number of people housed in March of 2010 is way down from last year. The Street Health Report, supported by the Wellesley Institute, provides a detailed review of the health status of people who are homeless.

Reality check: Ontario gives housing dollars with one hand, takes away with other
November 16, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
Reality check: Ontario is indeed matching the 2009 federal affordable housing investments, as housing minister Jim Watson notes in a story in today's Toronto Star (“Nearly homeless struggle to hang on"), but the province has also been steadily cutting spending at the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing since 2005. Finance minister Dwight Duncan, in his October 22 fall economic update, (PDF - 1.7MB, 94 pages) reports spending at the housing ministry was $926 million in 2005 and is projected to be $703.9 million in 2009. That’s a cumulative cut of $657 in the past four years – which more than offsets the $585.3 million that the finance minister says the province will spend this year to match the federal housing dollars.

Communities Speak
A summary of the 2009 [Ontario] Provincial Housing Consultations
(PDF - 653K, 15 pages)
November 2009
[ version française :
Les communautés parlent
Un résumé des consultations du logement de l’Ontario 2009
(PDF - 674Ko, 16 pages) ]

This Housing Network of Ontario report consolidates recommendations made by many hundreds of Ontarians who participated in almost 40 community meetings and consultations focussed on developing an affordable housing strategy, held from June to November 2009. The meetings included government-led consultations, convened by Minister Jim Watson and/or MPPs from ridings across the province. Meetings also included community-led forums with MPPs invited to participate, and public town hall meetings.

The main messages that emerged from these consultations included:

* Ontarians need a comprehensive, fully-funded long-term affordable housing strategy with bold targets.
* Housing insecurity, homelessness and poverty are inseparably linked.
* People with lived experience of housing insecurity and housing related poverty should be at the centre of any housing strategy.

Source:
Stableandaffordable.com
Stableandaffordable.com is an initiative of the Wellesley Institute and the Housing Network of Ontario.
We are a network of organizations dedicated to one goal: stable and affordable housing for all Canadians.

It’s time to raise your voice for affordable housing!
June 12, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
The Housing Network of Ontario has an on-line hub that is regularly being updated with the latest news, reports from community meetings, tips for actions and plenty of other resources. Here’s some of the new material: Community report from Sault Ste. Marie: Notes from the preparatory meeting of housing leaders in the Soo on June 11; Building from the community up: Five practical tips for action; Homeless-making processes: A worksheet from Dr. David Hulchanski; Local housing audits: Quick tips on preparing housing audit for your community; Fixing Ontario’s affordable housing crisis: A presentation from Harvey Cooper, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada – Ontario Region.
More than 225 people and groups have already endorsed the Housing Network of Ontario’s on-line declaration: “We believe everyone in Ontario has the right to live poverty-free and with dignity in housing that is stable, adequate, equitably accessible and affordable…" Read the full declaration and add your endorsement on the site. Also on the HNO web site: You can tell your housing story; find plenty of helpful resources; tell us what’s happening in your community and find out what is happening in other places; and learn more about the Housing Network of Ontario.
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]

---

Canada’s non-profit maze:
A scan of legislation and regulation
impacting revenue generation in the non-profit sector
(PDF - 672K, 34 pages)
Lynn Eakin & Heather Graham
May 2009
Canada’s third sector – the vital web of non-profit, charitable and voluntary organizations that provide programs and services, and knit together communities – is also a significant economic force. In recent years, governments have increasingly relied on non-profit groups as the delivery agent of choice for government services. “Canada’s non-profit maze ” is powerful new research by Lynn Eakin and Associates, commissioned by the Wellesley Institute that provides a troubling picture of the financial and regulatory burdens facing the third sector.

Accompanying documents:

A policy perspective on Canada’s non-profit maze of regulatory and legislative barriers
Mapping the way forward for third sector organizations
(PDF - 160K, 5 pages)
Policy Brief
By Lynn Eakin, Heather Graham, Rick Blickstead, and Michael Shapcott
May 2009

Supporting Tables: Canada’s Non-Profit Maze (PDF - 419K, 4 pages)
Tables were generated from software used to survey respondents of the Wellesley
Institute’s research in Third-Sector regulation and legislation

Video presentations from Ontario housing summit
in Toronto (May 11, 2009)

May 14, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
About 100 housing leaders from across Ontario gathered in Toronto on May 11 for the Housing Network of Ontario's first provincial summit. The group is preparing for the upcoming consultation by the Ontario government to create a province-wide, comprehensive affordable housing plan. More info on the consultation, key resources and a special place to tell your housing stories is available here. The Wellesley Institute is working with a number of provincial and local groups to ensure that Ontario gets a solid and realistic housing plan that ensures everyone has a healthy and affordable home.
Links to the key presentations at the forum
(YouTube videos):
* Affordability and income (Ann Fitzpatrick)
*
Housing supply and stock (Harvey Cooper)
*
Supportive housing (Phillip Dufresne)
*
Housing indicators and measures (Lynne Browne)
*
Housing / homelessness report card (Lynne Browne)

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
* 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)
February 2009

Related links:

Poverty is making us sick : A comprehensive survey
of income and health in Canada
(PDF - 522K, 39 pages)
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.

Confirmed: Deepening rental housing crisis in Canada, Ontario, Toronto
December 11, 2008
By Michael Shapcott
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has confirmed this morning what Canada’s 3.9 million renter households already know: Private rental housing has slipped into a much deeper crisis. The national rental vacancy rate has dropped by a staggering 15% over the past year down to a critically low 2.2% - the lowest level in six years. Across Canada, rents are rising faster than the rate of inflation.
- incl. highlights from the national, Ontario and Toronto rental market numbers
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]

---

Related links from CMHC:

National Rental Vacancy Rate Decreases in 2008
News Release
OTTAWA, December 11, 2008 — The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada's 34 major centres1 decreased to 2.2 per cent in October 2008 from 2.6 per cent in October 2007, according to the Rental Market Survey released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Note: Scroll halfway down the above news release for links to the following 2008 CMHC rental market reports:
1. Rental Market Reports — Major Centres (incl. more coverage of the secondary rental market in selected centres)
2. Rental Market Report — Provincial Highlights — summary of rental market statistics for urban centres with a population of over 10,000 in each province and two of the three territories
3. Rental Market Report — Canada Highlights — at-a-glance rental market information for Canada's 34 major centres
4. Rental Market Statistics Report — a sourcebook of statistical tables with national, provincial and local rental housing market data.
- the news release also contains tables of vacancy rates, availability rates and rents.

Rental Market Survey 2008 (PDF - 1.2MB, 11 pages)
NOTE: I can't provide a direct link to the rental market survey because the CMHC website is built using software that doesn't allow direct linking to reports.
To access the survey, go to Canadian Housing Statistics and click on CHS: Rental Market Survey (2nd report in the list).
- the rental market survey includes data for Major Centres / Provinces with detailed data for each market area. Tables contain data on availability rates, average rents or vacancies, by bedroom size (bachelor, one, two bedroom units, etc.) and by building type (i.e. row homes and apartments)

Source:
Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation
(CMHC)
<Boo to CMHC for making their site so user-not-friendly.>

---

Hefty housing costs stay local in "good news / bad news" provincial funding deal
October 31, 2008
By Michael Shapcott
Good news: The Ontario government, along with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the City of Toronto, jointly announced earlier today a plan to upload the costs of several provincial income assistance programs back to the provincial level over the next decade. This will give municipalities some significant fiscal breathing room – as it takes the cost of this income-distributive program off the municipal tax base and returns it to the provincial tax base, where it belongs. The timing is good as the demand for income assistance programs may well increase with the current economic crisis. Bad news: The cost of the provincial social housing program – which was downloaded to municipalities under the former Harris government starting in 1998 – remains at the local level.
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog

Province Eases Financial Pressures on Municipalities and Property Taxpayers
Provincial and municipal partners reach agreement
News Release
October 31, 2008
The McGuinty government is moving to upload all social assistance benefits and court security costs from municipalities, as stated in an agreement announced today by the Province of Ontario, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the City of Toronto.

Related report:

Report of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal
and Service Delivery Review - Facing the Future Together
(PDF - 1.6MB, 64 pages)
Source:
Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review
[ Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing ]

Some contextual information:
* Ontario is the only Canadian province that still requires a direct municipal government contribution towards the cost of providing welfare (known as the Ontario Works Program or OW) to the able-bodied needy population residing within their municipal boundaries. Municipalities pay 20% of the total OW bill on their territory.
* Last-resort financial assistance for people with disabilities is provided under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Municipalities also pay 20% of the total ODSP bill on their territory.
* The Ontario Government has already announced that the cost of ODSP will be gradually be transferred to the provincial government between 2009 and 2011.

Uploading move good but slow
November 1, 2008
It won't happen as quickly as urban advocates would like, but a newly announced deal between Ontario and its hard-pressed municipalities goes a considerable way toward lifting a historic burden from them. In the deal announced yesterday, the province has agreed to "upload" the cost of all welfare benefits from municipalities (which now pay 20 per cent of the cost) by 2018. An important principle is thus underlined – income support programs are best paid through the income and sales taxes, not through property taxes. Collectively, Ontario's municipalities stand to save more than $400 million yearly from this shift.
Source:
The Toronto Star

From Many Voices: Learnings from the MISWAA Project Multi-Stakeholder Process
September 11, 2008
This report examines the complex collaboration process undergone by the Task Force for Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults (MISWAA). While collaborative working models are recognized as key for the long term well-being of the non-profit sector, the complexity and fluidity of multi-stakeholder processes and inter-agency collaboration often face a number of challenges in building, facilitating, and managing these innovative and rich working environments. This report by Margot Lettner and the Wellesley Institute, in conjunction with various MISWAA partners, aims to capture and explore the experiences, opportunities and challenges they faced in their multi-stakeholder process, and identify conditions needed for success in collaborative projects involving the non-profit, public, and private sectors.

Complete report:

From Many Voices: Learnings from the MISWAA Project Multi-Stakeholder Process (PDF - 1.2MB, 61 pages)

Ontario Throne Speech and housing
November 30, 2007
By Michael Shapcott
The Ontario government opened the current session of the provincial Legislature on Thursday, November 29, with a promise to “begin work” on “reducing child poverty” by developing a poverty reduction strategy that would include “more affordable housing”. This promise needs to be matched with funding and programs before it will have any impact on actually reducing poverty in Ontario.
Source:
The Wellesley Institute Blog
[ The Wellesley Institute ]

Related link:

Ontario Throne Speech
November 29, 2007
Source:
Premier of Ontario

Also found on the Wellesley Institute Blog:

Ontario’s housing allowance plan
violates federal operating principles

April 5, 2007
Ontario’s $185 million housing allowance plan, announced in the 2007 provincial budget on March 22 and funded entirely with federal affordable housing trust fund dollars, violates the operating principles tabled by federal finance minister Jim Flaherty in the House of Commons in May of 2006.

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

A housing policy win - more homes on the way!
February 28, 2007
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced on Tuesday that the provincial government is going to start the flow of $392.5 million in federal funding to build new affordable homes in Ontario. Sounds pretty simple - all the province is required to do is get out of the way and let the federal money flow to housing developers across the province
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog

 

Related link:

Fourteen cents a day won’t build many homes (PDF file - 150K, 6 pages)
February 2007
By Michael Shapcott
The Ontario government spends about 14 cents per person per day on affordable housing — less than half the amount spent in 2000 — even though the province’s population and its housing needs continue to grow significantly. The low level of spending means the government has been able to fund only a fraction of the new homes it promised in 2003. And those targets from 2003 were already modest, when set against the desperate province-wide need for affordable homes.
Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Ontario Office

Provincial Pre-Budget Submission on Housing and Homelessness (PDF file - 60K, 4 pages)
08 Dec 2006
The costs of Ontario's affordable housing crisis and homelessness disaster to individuals, communities and government are enormous, yet Ontario's housing spending has been dropping sharply since 2000 and is currently at 14 cents per person per day. The Wellesley Institute, in our provincial pre-budget submission on housing and homelessness, is calling on the Ontario government to:
o honour the housing commitments that it made in 2003;
o stop blocking the $392.5 million in stalled federal housing dollars;
o and, upload the cost of housing back to the provincial level and increase overall housing spending to 25 cents per capita per day as a first step to ramping up housing spending to meet housing need.

National Housing Day 2006:
Wellesley Institute Backgrounder: Canada's housing deficit $4 billion and growing

TORONTO, Nov. 22 /CNW/ - The combined federal-provincial-territorial housing deficit is $4 billion and growing, according to the latest estimate released by the Wellesley Institute on Canada's National Housing Day 2006. National Housing Day is held annually to mark the date in 1998 when the mayors of Canada's largest cities declared homelessness a national disaster. The mayors called on senior levels of government to commit the funding and programs for a comprehensive national affordable housing strategy.
Source:
CNW Group (formerly Newswire)

Related Links:

The Blueprint to End Homelessness (Toronto)
October 26, 2006
"Homelessness has a devastating impact on Toronto. More than 30,000 women, men and children crowd into the city’s homeless shelters annually. Many thousands more sleep on the streets or join the ranks of the “hidden homeless”. There are about 70,000 households on Toronto’s social housing waiting list. And, on the brink of homelessness, are 150,000 households paying more than half their income on shelter."
- incl links to : Home - About Us - Research - Public Policy - Capacity Building - Why We Need A Blueprint - Toronto’s Housing History - Recommendations From Past Studies - The New York Blueprint - Tri-Partite Agreement in Saskatoon - Tri-Partite Agreement in Vancouver - Tri-Partite Agreements in Winnipeg - Scotland Vows to End Homelessness by 2012

Complete report:

The Blueprint To End Homelessness
In Toronto: a two-part action plan
(PDF file - 521K, 12 pages)
October 2006

Framework for the
Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto
(PDF file- 3.35MB, 106 pages)
"Plenty of current data, a review of 43 major housing studies going back to 1918, a ward-by-ward analysis of housing and poverty numbers and other information is included in the framework document, which is a companion to the Blueprint to End Homelessness."

Source:
Issue Pages: Housing and Homelessness
- incl. links to key online resources, presentations and blog entries on this issue

[ The Wellesley Institute ]
The Wellesley Institute advances the social determinants of health through
rigorous community-based research, reciprocal capacity building, and the informing of public policy.

Other Issue Pages from the Wellesley Institute:
"Issue Pages combine notes, backgrounders or policy papers written by Wellesley analysts and links to carefully selected sites, reports and other resources available on the Internet. They are designed to provide one-stop access to key information and analysis on the social determinants of health and specific policy issues such as homelessness or health care reform.
Here are the current Wellesley Institute issue pages in addition to housing and homelessness (the Source link above):
- Local Health Integration Networks
- Social Determinants of Health
- Health Care Reform
- Health Care Privatization
- Community Engagement

Source:
The Wellesley Institute
The Wellesley Institute advances the social determinants of health through rigorous community-based research, reciprocal capacity building, and the informing of public policy
.

 


Your Legal Rights Rights here. Rights now.
November 15, 2011
Community Legal Education Ontario announces launch of Your Legal Rights website, a new online source of legal information for people across Ontario.
Your Legal Rights
is the new face of CLEONet, CLEO's highly successful legal information portal.

---------------------------
For links to content from the Community Legal Education Ontario site, go to
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk2.htm#cleo
---------------------------

Legal topics covered in Your Legal Rights:
* Abuse and Family Violence * Employment and Work * Housing Law * Social Assistance and Pensions * Consumer Law * Environmental Law * Human Rights * Wills and Estates * Criminal Law * Family Law * Immigration and Refugee Law * Education Law * Health and Disability * Legal System * Legal topics A-Z

The Your Legal Rights site contains the following features:

* Resources: Legal information covering a wide range of legal topics, in a variety of formats, and available in dozens of languages
* Common Questions: Questions and answers to everyday legal problems
* Find Services: Interactive map of key legal and social services across Ontario
* Training: Public legal education training webinars for service providers
* News & Events: The latest headlines and community events about the law and access to justice

Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) and is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Source:
CLEO - Community Legal Education Ontario
CLEO is a community legal clinic, founded in 1974, that specializes in public legal education. CLEO is administered by a volunteer board of directors, and funded by Legal Aid Ontario and the Department of Justice Canada.

Selected site content:

Social Assistance Update - June 2012 (PDF - 32K 2 pages)
http://goo.gl/y311S
June 13, 2012
The Social Assistance Update - June 2012 reports on important changes to ODSP and OW:

* Home Repair Benefit is ending, so apply by June 30, 2012
* Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) is ending, so apply before December 31, 2012
* Campaign to save the Home Repair and CSUMB
* Ontario Budget and Social Assistance
* Social Assistance Review
"... the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario has been conducting a major review of Ontario’s Social Assistance system.
The Commission has announced that its final report, which was due in June 2012, will be released in September 2012.
"

Link to the Commission's website:
www.socialassistancereview.ca

[ Version française du site :
http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/accueil?language=fr_FR&
]

Source:
Your Legal Rights

http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/

 




Links to Canadian municipalities' websites
(organized by province/territory)
-from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario

 

 

See these related Canadian Social Research Links pages:

--- Guide to welfare in Ontario
--- Provincial government
--- NGO/Municipal govt. [A-C]
--- NGO/Municipal govt. [D-N]
--- NGO/Municipal govt. [O-Z]
--- Review of social assistance in Ontario
--- The Ontario Special Diet Allowance
--- The Drummond Commission report
--- Drug testing people who apply for or receive welfare
--- Spouse-in-the-house (54) (welfare cohabitation rules for single people & single parents) 
--- Government Budget Links page - incl. Ontario budget links
--- Federal, provincial and territorial budgets - incl. Ontario budgets +analysis & critiques
--- Ontario anti-poverty strategies and poverty reduction
--- Early Learning and Child Care (for all Ontario ECD links)
--- Case Law / Court Decisions / Inquests - incl. information on the Kimberly Rogers inquest.
--- Provincial-Territorial Political Parties and Elections in Canada - incl. Ontario election links
--- Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients in Ontario

--- Gouvernement de l'Ontario - page d'accueil (version française)



 
CANADIAN SOCIAL RESEARCH LINKS HOME PAGE
  PAGE D'ACCUEIL - SITES DE RECHERCHE SOCIALE AU CANADA

SEARCH
FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


To search the complete
Canadian Social Research Links website ,
use the text box below:


To search ONLY the page you are now reading,
use Ctrl + F to open a search window.


SUBSCRIBE TO THE
CANADIAN SOCIAL RESEARCH NEWSLETTER

Sign up to receive this free weekly newsletter by e-mail or read it online
(including archives back to January 2005).
Each issue includes all links added to this site during the previous week.
(2800+ subscribers in January 2017)

Site created and maintained by:
Gilles Séguin (This link takes you to my personal page)

E-MAIL: gilseg@rogers.com