Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Poverty reduction is one of our highest priorities

A more determined effort is required if the Liberal government wants to meet the promise of an Ontario where people’s lives are not cut short by the devastating health impacts of poverty, say Ontario nurses.

Members of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne Thursday, calling on her government to implement desperately needed measures that will make a difference for thousands of families and single adults who continue to struggle in a province as wealthy as Ontario.

Despite the government’s claim that more than 40,000 children and their families were lifted out of poverty between 2008 and 2010, RNAO says the situation remains serious with 383,000 children still living in poverty, more than 573,000 households deemed “food insecure” or lacking basic access to nutritious food in sufficient quantities to maintain good health, and thousands of single adults on social assistance forced to make ends meet on a monthly income of $606.

RNAO says the government already has plenty of evidence of what needs to be done to tackle this pervasive and solvable problem:

  • Ensuring paid work is a pathway out of poverty by increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation
  • Reforming Ontario’s social assistance system so it reflects the actual cost of living
  • Improving access to affordable housing, supportive housing and addressing homelessness
  • Reversing the severe cuts to the child dental care program and extending it to adults in need
  • Providing access to high quality, not-for-profit child care
  • Ensuring effective training and workforce development opportunities are available

Read the media release
Read RNAO’s open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne