Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) – 9 weeks to go to Ontario government’s deadline

In this week’s bulletin:

Question Period in the House: Focus on Government’s poverty reduction plans

Social and environmental linked to economy, says business leader

Mapping Poverty Action: Anti-poverty advocates from across Canada meet in Ottawa

Community Actions in October Taking Shape

Build support for a Poverty-free Ontario:  Endorse the 25 in 5 Declaration on-line


Poverty Reduction Highlighted in Question Period, Sept. 24

The NDP used all six of its questions in the House on September 24 to press the Government on its poverty reduction plan. Having just released its own report on eight town hall meetings, the NDP asked the Premier about his comments on delaying implementation of the plan, action on child poverty, job losses in Ontario, and plans for addressing poverty in the Aboriginal community.

Premier McGuinty responded, “The issue is not whether we do this; the issue is how quickly can we move on this.” The Premier said further, “At the end of this year, we want to put out a plan… that properly defines poverty, puts in place specific ways to measure it, puts in place specific targets, and puts in place a specific strategy for us to achieve those targets, together with regular accountability so people will know whether we’re making success or not.”

The Premier concluded that it was “a matter of enlightened self-interest, both for our personal sake and the sake of our economy, that we find more ways, working together, to support families that are struggling in poverty.”

Minister Matthews stated in the House that the Government’s strategy would be “comprehensive” and “fair, balanced, aggressive but doable.”

See www.povertywatchontario.ca for full transcript of the questions and answers in the House on poverty reduction.

Related News Items

Premier’s implementation slowdown, with commentary from 25 in 5
http://www.thestar.com/article/503418

http://www.thestar.com/article/505658

Pat Capponi’s OpEd in Toronto Star on the same issue
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/502808

The Politics of Poverty
http://www.uptownmag.com/2008-09-18/page2906.aspx


Social and Environmental Linked to Economy, says Business Leader

Mark Chamberlain, local business leader and chair of the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty, expressed concern when hearing the Premier might be delaying implementation of a poverty reduction plan to re-focus on the economy.

Quoted in the Hamilton Spectator, Mr. Chamberlain said, “When I hear that, I do worry because economy, social and environment, they’re all the same thing.”

“Investing in people will not only solve poverty but also create the resilience and the infrastructure for prosperity. They are in some respects the same investments.”

See the full story at http://www.thespec.com/article/439640


Mapping Poverty Reduction Action Nationally, Sept. 27

More than 50 representatives of organizations, coalitions and networks across Canada came together in Ottawa on September 27 to share information and learning about their work on poverty reduction at the regional, provincial and national levels.

25 in 5 was well-represented presenting on the overall work of the Network and its many partners.  Michael Creek also presented on Voices on the Street and Grace-Edward Galabuzzi on Colour of Poverty.  Local partners from North Bay and Cornwall also participated.

The cross-community mobilization being done in Ontario under the 25 in 5 banner and the policy areas of the Declaration evoked much interest among participants from the other provinces and territories.  Developing a common Policy Framework for a national poverty reduction strategy was raised as a possible follow-up action to the Summit heading into a Social Forum planned for May 2009.

The Canadian Council on Social Development, which sponsored the gathering, will be summarizing the information collected and making it available online soon.


Community Actions in October Taking Shape

Local poverty reduction working groups are planning community events and activities in October to show support for the priorities for poverty reduction in the 25 in 5 Declaration.  Dates and times are to be confirmed and will be reported as soon as available, but planning currently includes:

  • Rally at city hall in Cornwall to gather community members within a giant ring of support for the Declaration on October 17.
  • Stand Up to make Poverty History at the Cambridge City Hall Atrium with Mayor Doug Graham at 12:15 on October 17 where endorsements of the Declaration will be announced and promoted.
  • Community meals in the name of poverty reduction in Kingston and Belleville on October 17.
  • Public event to display a 25 in 5 quilt and release thousands of postcards endorsing the Declaration to be held at the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre, October 21 at 10:00 AM.
  • Local cable broadcast on the poverty reduction topic with community leaders in Durham and resource people from 25 in 5.
  • A Community Conversation over breakfast in Kitchener-Waterloo on October 24.

Since a number of communities across the province are hosting events on October 17 to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 25 in 5 will not host a Toronto event on this date.  Instead, we are planning the following:

  • October 16th – Press Conference or Press Release – commenting on the results of the federal election and what we need in Ontario
  • October 17th – Mark the International Day with 25 in 5 presence at ONPHA (Ottawa)  and other community events and conferences
  • October 27th – 1/2 day,  large 25 in 5, Toronto-based Network and Steering Committee meeting at 900 Bay to update on current campaign, and where we go from here (we have not yet decided if this will be an am or pm meeting – we will send out details as soon as possible).

Check out www.povertywatchontario.ca for a calendar of activities.


Build support for a Poverty-free Ontario:  Endorse the 25 in 5 Declaration on-line

Endorsing the Declaration is a concrete way to show your support for a poverty-free Ontario and the bold first steps we need to take to get us there. Individuals and organizations can now endorse the 25 in 5 Declaration on line at www.25in5.ca.  Recent groups and organizations who have endorsed 25 in 5 include:

  • Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Social Justice & Advocacy Committee
  • Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ)
  • Grey-Bruce Community Legal Clinic
  • Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay
  • Help Centre of Northumberland
  • Health Nexus
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
  • Kingston and District Labour Council
  • Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW)
  • Ontario Region of the Rabbinical Assembly
  • Oshawa City Council
  • Ottawa and District Labour Council
  • Sarnia and District Labour Council
  • Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council
  • Social Issues Networking Group – SING
  • Social Planning Council of York Region (SPCYR)
  • Start Me Up Niagara
  • The Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
  • United Food and Commercial Workers Union of Canada (UFCW)
  • United Steelworkers District 6 (USW, Ontario and Atlantic Provinces
  • United Way of Bruce Grey
  • Working Women Community Centre

If not already done, make sure your organization endorses the Declaration and promote endorsements with other organizations with which you are connected.

Help us achieve a poverty reduction plan that addresses three priorities:

  1. Sustaining employment that means a living standard above poverty for any adult who works full time throughout the year. It means fair pay and stable working conditions for all Ontarians.
  2. Livable incomes that mean dignity for all Ontarians – including those unable to work.
  3. Strong and supportive communities that mean affordable housing, early learning and child care, public education and community programs that help people connect.

Click here to learn more about the Declaration and to add your organization’s name to the growing list of endorsers.


About the Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Plan eBulletins

The 25 in 5 Network is steered by a coalition of Ontario organizations including Campaign 2000, the Income Security Advocacy Centre, the Social Planning Network of Ontario the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, The Colour of Poverty Project, the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, Voices From the Street, among others.

This is the second in a series of weekly bulletins that 25 in 5 will issue electronically to its contact list of supporters and interested parties across the province. The Countdown Bulletin is intended to keep you up to date on the development of a poverty reduction plan for Ontario and to let you know how you, your organizations and networks can help make it happen.

For more information visit www.25in5.ca

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