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Poverty: No more talk, it’s time for action

Anti-poverty groups picket Liberal ‘poverty reduction’ consultation

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Sept. 12, 2013 – Refusing to participate in another fruitless round of consultations, anti-poverty groups from across the province today picketed outside the Wynne government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy meeting in Toronto.

“The Liberals have had more than a decade to show they are serious about dealing with the sub-poverty social assistance system,” said Liisa Schofield, spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). “We heard no end of talk and have been asked time and again to participate in their consultation process. Despite this, people are poorer under the present ‘Social Justice Premier’ than they were under Mike Harris.”

The protest was organized by the Raise the Rates Campaign, with the involvement of groups including OCAP, CUPE Ontario, the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty and Poverty Makes us Sick, from Kitchener-Waterloo.

“These ‘consultations’ are just a diversion. The government has already embraced an austerity agenda and we anticipate that they will proceed with merging Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program, and attacking the rights of disabled people,” said Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, chair of CUPE Ontario’s Social Service Workers’ Coordinating Committee. “We are standing up for fairness for every Ontarian and will not let this government continue making poverty worse.”

Anti-poverty groups want no part of this government stalling tactic, which will only result in the Liberals preparing the greatest attack on the poor since the 21.6 percent cut to social assistance initiated by the Harris Tories.

Throughout October, Raise the Rates partners will hold marches, rallies, pickets, occupations and other actions to demand the government keep its hands off ODSP and raise social assistance rates to levels that existed prior to the Harris cutback of 1995. The campaign is also calling for full restoration of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit and supports calls by First Nations Peoples for the right to extend control of social assistance delivery in their own communities.

For more information or to
arrange interviews, please contact:
Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications
[email protected]