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Media Release

Fair Ontario Still a Faint Hope for People in Deep Poverty


For Immediate Release:
4:00 PM, Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ontario Speech from the Throne

Fair Ontario still a faint hope for people in deep poverty

Community leaders and groups across Ontario calling on the new Premier for action on a social justice agenda to improve the living conditions of more than 1.6 million Ontarians living in poverty were offered faint hope in today’s Speech from the Throne. Reference to recommendations for social assistance reform by Commissioners Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh did not even make the Summary of Highlights posted at the front end of the speech. http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/home/index.php

Poverty Free Ontario (PFO), a province-wide network of individuals and organizations in 25 communities across Ontario, advocates for a provincial government commitment to end the deep poverty experienced by Ontarians living on social assistance and to end the working poverty of people earning the minimum wage.

The new Government under Premier Wynne’s leadership states its commitment to implement recommendations in the Lankin and Sheikh report to help people find employment and to introduce an unspecified earnings exemption for social assistance recipients before benefits are clawed back.  The Government will make a special effort on supporting youth job creation.  The Speech also recognized the need for affordable and secure housing.

“These measures are not unimportant, but we hope they are only the first glimmers of the Premier’s social justice agenda,” says Peter Clutterbuck, PFO Coordinator, “We were really hoping to see some evidence of the Government’s intention to introduce the $100/month increase in benefits to people on social assistance as also recommended by Commissioners Lankin and Sheikh. A fair society cannot tolerate so many of its members experiencing monthly cycles of hunger and hardship at great cost to their health and well-being.”

“We remain hopeful that the Government’s first budget will more strongly reflect the social justice mission that the Premier has espoused,” adds Clutterbuck.

Poverty Free Ontario is an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) working with local community groups across the province www.povertyfreeontario.ca


Media Contact:

Peter Clutterbuck, SPNO,
416-738-3228 and 416-653-7947

PFO Media Release Feb. 19 2013 (PDF)


3 Responses to “Fair Ontario Still a Faint Hope for People in Deep Poverty”

  1. This would allow the province to pass the buck to the municipalities and when the municipalities’ back is against the wall to then wash their hands of it. Meanwhile the ones who suffer are those living on the rates which are way below poverty level as usual. It’s pretty sad when people Aspire to reach the poverty line!

    Posted by Lana Bogart | February 20, 2013, 1:57 pm
  2. IF they go ahead with combining welfare and Odsp that will cause more suffering and so will downloading the O dsp program to the cities. The things that will help are increase of rates for welfare , but not to cut benefits from Odsp to do that. Letting people keep more earnings of course , but $200 is ridiculous, like giving a 1% increase is.

    Posted by Sonjia PRIDHAM | February 20, 2013, 4:28 am
  3. Oh, absolutely. I would be hesitant to support the whole SAR report. Many concerns arise from it, but if we can at least get them to move on some of the positive points. Members of our group did meet with one of the Ministers from the previous government under McGuilty, and apparently they raised the issue of the $100 increase, to which that particular Minister replied,”so you agree to cutting the special diet allowance too?” They also promote a false economy about merging the two programs. Not only do amalgamations of sorts fail to save money, but this type of amalgamation will only make it easier for the province to make further and deeper cuts to the social safety net by throwing more responsibilities to the municipalities and then when municipalities make these big cuts because they end up not having any choice but to, the province will wipe its hands clean and say, “We didn’t do it. Go talk to your city council”. We have to fight this tooth and nail.

    Posted by Angela Browne | February 20, 2013, 1:07 am

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