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.
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