Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action Alert: Urge Premier McGuinty and Minister Duncan to Reduce Hunger and Hardship With Strong Leadership in the Upcoming Budget


March 13, 2009




In a speech to the Canadian and Empire Clubs on March 3, 2009, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan revealed a projected deficit of $18 billion over two years in the upcoming provincial budget of March 26, 2009. This is consistent with a growing consensus among international bodies and respected economists that a coordinated stimulus of two per cent of gross domestic product is needed to counter the effects of the global recession.


The essential missing element from Minister Duncan’s speech was any mention of the government’s intention to invest in poverty reduction. This worrying omission was reinforced by comments made by Premier McGuinty in the legislature on that same day that discussed poverty reduction as being conditional on support from the federal government and a rebound in the economy.


Ontario’s nurses know that during these challenging economic times we cannot afford not to act decisively to reduce poverty. Poverty, and the food and shelter insecurity that is often associated with low income, causes people to die sooner and live with an increased burden of chronic illness. This is a human tragedy and a cost to the federal government and province of Ontario of between 10 and 13 billion dollars per year. The International Monetary Fund has calculated that income transfers of $1 billion to low-income Canadians, who spend everything they earn, would boost GDP by almost $900 million and create 7,000 jobs.


Now is the time for our provincial government to invest in Ontario’s people and the future by making substantial investments in poverty reduction in the March 26th budget.



Three Things That You Can Do To Make a Difference:


  1. Sign the Put Food in the Budget online petition:

Endorse the call for the immediate introduction of a $100 per month Healthy Foods Supplement to the basic needs allowance for people receiving social assistance. Too many Ontarians are living with hunger, food insecurity, and poor health linked to lack of access to nutritious foods.





  1. Send an email to Premier McGuinty and Minister Duncan:

Write a letter to Premier McGuinty and Minister Duncan through our website. You can send along our sample letter below as is or you can modify it as you wish. Sharing stories of how poverty is having an impact on you, your patients, clients, friends, neighbours, and communities will help our elected representatives understand why this issue is important. Please don’t forget to sign your name at the bottom of the letter and indicate that you are a RN if appropriate. Copies of your letter will be sent automatically to Premier McGuinty, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, and Minister Deb Matthews, Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction.

Action Alert: Urge Premier McGuinty and Minister Duncan to Reduce Hunger and Hardship with Strong Leadership in the Upcoming Provincial Budget


3.  Call Finance Minister Duncan’s office:


Take a few minutes to call Finance Minister Duncan’s office to urge him to put money in the upcoming budget to tackle poverty.


If you are calling from the Toronto area, the number is 416-325-0400.


Collect calls will be accepted. Just dial 0-416-325-0400 and use the automated operator to call collect.


Ask to leave a message for Dave Pryce, the Minister’s Chief of Staff. It would be helpful to let them know from which community you are calling and the clear message that it is essential to make significant investments in poverty reduction in the upcoming budget. It is always compelling if you can give examples of how poverty is affecting me, the people that I am working with, or the people in my community.





RNAO Briefing Note: Making Poverty Reduction a Priority in Challenging Economic Times 


25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction: A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario


Put Food in the Budget Campaign


Carol Goar, Putting healthy food within reach, Toronto Star, February 18, 2009


Editorial, Poverty measures belong in budget, Toronto Star, March 5, 2009


Key Links:


25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction


Campaign 2000


Health Providers Against Poverty


Poverty Watch Ontario


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