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Dec. 4, 2012: Fourth Anniversary of Poverty Reduction in Ontario

For Immediate Release

Anti-poverty target in peril: Ontario’s aspiring political leaders called to action

Toronto (Dec 4, 2012) – Ontario’s political leadership hopefuls are being warned that the province will fall short of its goal to reduce child and family poverty by 25% in 2013 unless urgent action is taken.

As the Ontario Liberals choose a new leader and Opposition parties eye a spring election, a progress report by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is calling for immediate investments to support those who are struggling.

“On the fourth anniversary of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy, we have seen how strong leadership and government action can and does reduce poverty,” said Greg deGroot-Maggetti, Co-Chair of the 25 in 5 Network. “But we have also seen how scaling back investments threatens to undermine progress and drive more Ontarians further into poverty.”

Meeting the Poverty Reduction Target: Strong Leadership and Good Policy Required is the 25 in 5 Network’s fourth annual progress report on Ontario’s five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy. It shows that between 2008 and 2010 Ontario made a number of important investments that helped reduce child poverty by more than 6%, lifting 29,000 children and their families out of poverty.  However, the report also points to recent backtracking on child benefits, social assistance, housing, and other areas that can stall earlier progress.

“In these tough times with costs always rising, the Ontario Child Benefit has helped many low income Ontarians buy healthy food for their kids,” said Mike Creek, Co-Chair of the Network. “But there is so much more to be done to reduce and eliminate poverty and inequality in Ontario. Ontario needs leadership that ensures more good jobs with living wages, a social safety net for the unemployed, and equitable programs that build healthy communities.”

With an eye to the 2013 provincial budget – the final budget before the end of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy – the Network is calling for a number of investments, including:

  • Increasing the Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 for low income Ontario families in July 2013, as originally promised by the government;
  • Making a downpayment on social assistance reform, including a $100 rate increase, raising asset limits and reducing clawbacks on earned income, and appointing a commissioner and community-based advisory committees; and,
  • Ensuring that work pays by increasing the minimum wage and investing in employment standards enforcement.

The report also calls on all parties to articulate their vision and plan for creating Ontario’s second five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, which the Poverty Reduction Act requires be released by the end of 2013.

Download the PDF version here.
Download the Word version here.

Take Action!

Ask the Liberal party’s leadership candidates and the Opposition leaders what they plan to do to address poverty in Ontario. Tell them the 25 in 5 report calls for action – what’s their plan? Will they endorse the report’s recommendations?

If you are on Email:

Send emails using these links / email addresses:

If you are on Twitter:

Ask the question: “25in5 report calls for action. What’s your plan?”

Use the hashtags: #olpldr, #poverty, #25in5

Tweet to the Liberal leadership candidates and Opposition leaders at these Twitter handles:

  • Eric Hoskins: @DrEricHoskins
  • Gerard Kennedy: @GKennedyOLP
  • Glen Murray: @Glen4ONT
  • Sandra Pupatello: @SandraPupatello
  • Charles Sousa: @SousaCharles
  • Harinder Takhar: @harindertakhar
  • Kathleen Wynne: @Kathleen_Wynne
  • Tim Hudak, PC Leader: @timhudak
  • Andrea Horwath, NDP Leader: @andreahorwath