Ontario Government Poverty Reduction efforts a complete failure

Ontario Government proposes more Poverty Reduction consultations but community groups say enough already - Time For Action!

Mcquinty will be known as the Food Bank Premier
Five years ago the Ontario’s Liberal Government announced a Poverty Reduction Strategy yet hundreds of thousands of people still don’t have enough money to pay their rent and buy adequate nourishment. Food bank usage in Ontario is at record levels – rising from 374,000 people per month in 2008 to 413,000 in 2012, including 160,000 children.

It's no wonder a guy said to me the other day that he's going to have to shoplift in order to eat. He's 55 he explained and can't seem to get a job dish-washing,  so meantime he's been able to get a room with the assistance of welfare. His room costs $500 per month which leaves less than $100 more to pay for food, transportation, clothing, phone and toiletries which cannot be done at today's rates, so you eliminate things one at a time like bus fare and food money. Of course, he's expected to search out work regardless of circumstances or risk being cut off, and his 55 year old body is not like the teenagers they now hire for jobs he once got. Shoplifting will be only the tip of the iceberg as more and more people are unable to afford food or accommodations.

Despite holding multiple consultations about poverty reduction and social assistance reform which P.A.C.C. members were York Region's only grassroots participants, the Liberal Government has consistently ignored thousands of community members:

In the spring and summer of 2008, more than 75 community consultations on poverty reduction were held across Ontario, including 44 with MPPs.Community representatives consistently delivered the message that livableincomes and a minimum wage to raise a full-time, full-year worker out of poverty were critical to poverty reduction. The Liberal Government of Premier McGuinty ignored this input.

In late 2008, people in communities across Ontario urged the government to set a target for poverty reduction in general – not just child poverty. Children live in families, they pointed out, and reducing overall poverty will inevitably help children. This message was ignored, and the government’s target of lifting 90,000 children out of poverty is short by 49,000 as of 2011.
In 2011 and 2012, four out of five community briefs to the Commission on Social Assistance Reform argued that adequate social assistance rates was a primary issue. The final report of Commissioners Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh recommended an immediate rate increase of $100/month. The Liberal government of Premier Wynne was deaf to its own commissioners as the 2013 budget increased social assistance to recipients of Ontario Works benefits by only $14/month!  

Dalton McGuinty’s last act as Premier was to cut the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit, which further worsened the destitution of Ontario’s most vulnerable.This benefit has been used for years to assist people with first and last months rent or moving expenses in order to obtain or maintain a home. Low incomers otherwise cannot save these required amounts otherwise without this anti-homelessness benefit.

Now, after five years of the Liberal Government failing to deliver on social assistance reform,

it lacks credibility to call for more consultation in the absence of action on what the community has recommended to date. We believe Premier Wynne needs no further consultation to reduce poverty in Ontario. The Liberal government can respond now to the core demands that people from communities across Ontario have been making for five years. PFO participation in any consultations on a new poverty reduction strategy will be to assert three core demands.

PFO a partner in poverty reduction demands;

Premier Wynne's government can reduce poverty and demonstrate her commitment to social justice by acting on the following:
1.    Raise the rates
·        Immediately increase the base rate of social assistance by $100 a month without paying for it by cutting other benefits.
·        Restore the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit.
2.    Protect  the well-being of people with disabilities
    Discuss the Commission on Social Assistance Reform recommendations regarding ODSP with community advocacy groups representing people with disabilities.
3.    Reduce poverty for everyone
·        Raise the minimum wage now to 10% above the poverty line.
·        Set targets that reduce and eventually end poverty for everyone – children, families and communities.
Commitment to Social Justice
We are committed to social justice for people in Ontario who live in poverty. We will not stop until poverty is ended.
A social justice strategy to end poverty requires providing people with enough money for food, housing and everything else that ensures a life of health and dignity.
It is time for Premier Wynne to demonstrate her commitment to social justice with constructive social and economic policies. She can begin by acting on our three demands.

Here's some related links that will inform you.

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