Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Urgent Action Alert to Premier McGunity: Today’s the Day: Keep the Promise of Reducing Poverty in Ontario

Urgent Action Alert to Premier McGunity: Today’s the Day: Keep the Promise of Reducing Poverty in Ontario

December 4, 2009
Exactly one year ago today the McGuinty government released Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. On this anniversary, we can celebrate positive steps that have been taken over the last year including: unanimous passage of the Poverty Reduction Act; $2 billion in new social investments in the 2009 Budget for the Ontario Child Benefit and to match federal social housing infrastructure spending; new legislative protection for temporary workers; and, a commitment to early learning by moving forward with full-day learning for four and five year olds.
One of the key promises within Breaking the Cycle was to review Ontario’s social assistance programs (Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program). After being stalled for a year, the government announced the creation of the Social Assistance Review Advisory Group on December 2, 2009. Although a movement in the right direction, it is urgent that Ontario’s social assistance system be transformed from a punitive, incoherent tangle of contradictory rules and regulations to a person- and family-centred system that treats clients and staff with dignity. This includes raising the rates significantly to reflect the actual cost of living, so that Ontarians don’t have to choose between paying the rent and feeding their children.
The economic downturn of the last year has meant that more Ontarians are facing significant hardship in their daily lives along with greater health challenges. While the social assistance system is being transformed, the government must introduce a $100 per month Healthy Food Supplement as a down-payment towards addressing the gap between dangerously low social assistance rates and nutritional requirements.
Please Act Now! TODAY’S THE DAY to tell them what you think.

  1. Email the letter below to Premier McGuinty, Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, and Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services. You can edit the letter to share some of your insights from your nursing practice on why addressing poverty is essential for good health.
  2. Please share this action alert with your colleagues, friends, and family and ask them to write as well!

The template below will allow you to send your email to your MPP so that he or she knows of your concern about poverty as well as the Premier, Minister Broten, and Minister Meilleur.
Don’t know your MPP by name or riding?  Use the Elections Ontario website to search for your electoral district here.

Making Good on the Promise: Evaluating Year One of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy    25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction    December 2. 2009

Advisors aim to fix Ontario’s welfare ‘quagmire’  Toronto Star   December 2, 2009

Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy   December 4, 2008

First Year Report Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy 2009 Annual Report
Media Release creation of Social Assistance Review Advisory Group December 2, 2009

RNAO Resources: Ways to Get Involved on Addressing Poverty