An End to the Countdown: The Beginning of a 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Strategy

An End to the Countdown
The Beginning of a 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Strategy

  1. Ontario turns corner on more than a decade of poor bashing, says Pat Capponi
  2. Poverty Plan Lays Foundation for Action, Budget investments must be next step
  3. TAKE ACTION: Investments key in the 2009 Ontario budget
  4. Regulating Temp Agencies – Good News for Temp Workers, says Workers Action Centre
  5. Hardship of welfare getting harder, Ontario’s welfare incomes falling behind
  6. Red letter day for poverty reduction: selected media and partner links
  7. Thank you: More than 1,500 endorse 25 in 5 Declaration for Poverty Reduction

Quote of the week

“What may get lost in the back and forth over whether the provincial Liberals have gone too far or not far enough in their poverty reduction strategy is that it marks the end of a particularly shameful period in Ontario …  it ends more than a decade of poor bashing, of deliberate and callous targeting of those living in poverty.”

Who said it? Pat Capponi, in Long years of poor bashing finally brought to an end, an op-ed in the Toronto Star (Dec 8)


Poverty Plan Lays Foundation for Action

Ontario is on track to becoming a leader in poverty reduction in a plan that is not only crucial to the province’s economic recovery but is also the right thing to do, says the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.

Tens of thousands of people across Ontario called on the government to commit to a plan to reduce poverty reduction by 25% within the next 5 years. They asked for a plan with targets, timelines, and accountability. And the politicians listened – Ontario now has that plan.

By securing this commitment, poverty reduction cannot be ignored in next five provincial budgets.  The next step is to secure sufficient investment in the spring budget and to push for the federal government to come to the table to do its part.

The good news is that the stimulus package needed to kickstart Ontario’s struggling economy is rooted in precisely the investments that are needed in poverty reduction: it’s about new affordable housing and more child care spaces, it’s about putting money into the pockets of low income families so they can make more than ends meet at the local grocery store.

Related Links

The 25 in 5 response to the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy

The 25 in 5 Partner Key Messages/Analysis

Pat Capponi’s message to supporters of the 25 in 5 Network

“With Ontario signing on to our vision for a fairer and more just province, we have achieved a real milestone, a concrete foundation from which to continue our efforts. More than this, we’ve demonstrated what can be accomplished when government is prepared to seriously sit across the table with us to develop a poverty reduction strategy that works.” 
Read More…

Official Strategy Document

Looking for the official “Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy: Breaking the Cycle” documents? Click here.


Take Action: Poverty reduction investments key in the 2009 Ontario budget

We have the foundation.  Now the real work begins.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to talk to the politicians who make the decisions, the media that reports on the issues, our colleagues, neighbours and family:   Ontario needs a down payment on poverty reduction in the 2009 budget to make the 25 in 5 commitment a reality.

Every voicemail, phone call, letter and email counts!  Contact the Premier; Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, and your local Member of provincial Parliament and let your voice be heard.  Email to  dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org and dduncan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org.

Our message is this:

  1. Good start, way to go: Ontario is on track to becoming a leader in poverty reduction in Canada.  We applaud our Provincial government for delivering a plan and a promise to reduce poverty by 25% over the next five years, and for demonstrating leadership by investing in Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens.
  2. Poverty Reduction Plan is not only the right thing to do, it is also crucial to the province’s economic recovery: Is crucial that we do not press the pause button on this promising commitment now that we have momentum on our side.  Governments at all levels must understand that today’s focus on poverty reduction can become tomorrow’s headline about a strong economy.
  3. The place to start is in the 2009 Budget: The roadmap to our collective prosperity runs through investments in poverty reduction.  We need to take the following 3 steps in the upcoming 2009 spring provincial budget:
    • Stimulate local economies by putting money into the pockets of low income families through action that speeds up the implementation of the Ontario Child Benefit, and increases incomes for those on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program;
    • Invest in infrastructure development of new affordable housing units; and
    • Invest in infrastructure development through the expansion of early learning and child care spaces.

Action taken in the next budget will be not only the next test of the government’s resolve on its poverty reduction strategy – they will also be investments in our collective prosperity.

OTHER ACTIONS:

Join the Movement for Poverty Reduction in Your Community
Leadership in Hard Times: 25 in 5’s Tour to Promote Poverty Reduction had its last stop this morning in Mississauga. The tour visited 25 cities and talked to hundreds of people across the province. Poverty reduction activists and communities coordinated events and came out to share their input, clearly demonstrating how engaged the poverty reduction movement is right across the province. For information on getting involved locally, visit www.povertywatchontario.ca and check out past events for contacts in your community or contact us at info@25in5.ca.

Make your voice heard for Poverty Reduction at the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs Pre-Budget Consultations
While oral presentations are now over, you can still submit your feedback to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. You can send a written submission to the Clerk of the Committee at william_short@ontla.ola.org by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2009.

The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition included the following in their submission:

ISARC congratulates the province on new positive directions to reduce and eliminate poverty in this province. The announced policy and program changes will affect people who have for too long been in a survival mode. Faith communities appreciate the attention paid to community-based programs where people assist each other to break the cycle of poverty.

Click here to read their full submission.

There are other ways to TAKE ACTION on our website.


Regulating Temp Agencies is Good News for Temp Workers, says Workers Action Centre

The Ontario government’s announcement of legislation to protect temporary agency workers is good news for temp workers.

“Temp agency workers and the Workers’ Action Centre (WAC) have been fighting for years to get temp workers the same basic rights that their permanent co-workers have – the rights to public holiday and termination pay, vacations and sick days; contract information; the ability to enforce employment rights and be free from shameful fees and barriers to permanent work,” says Deena Ladd, WAC Coordinator. “The Ontario government’s announcement to improve protection of temp agency workers demonstrates that it has heard what workers have said about the realities of temp work.”

Link to press release and backgrounder http://www.workersactioncentre.org/


Hardship of welfare getting harder

Welfare incomes in Canada are increasingly inadequate to meet basic needs,with Ontario seeing the harshest loss over the past two decade, says a new report by the National Council of Welfare.

The report shows the biggest loss in welfare incomes was in Ontario in 1995 under the Mike Harris Conservative government when welfare for able-bodied people was cut by 21.6 per cent and frozen for everyone for the next nine years.  While rates increased slightly under Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals since 2004, they have never reached pre-1995 levels, forcing Ontario’s 675,000 people on welfare and disability support to live far below the poverty line.

More from the Toronto Star story by Laurie Monsebraaten

Check out the National Council of Welfare’s “Welfare Incomes” Report http://www.ncwcnbes.net/en/home.html and for more information visit the National Anti-Poverty Organization at http://english.napo-onap.ca/Default.asp.


Red letter day for poverty reduction: selected media and partner links

Selected media coverage:

Ontario backs ’25-in-5′ poverty plan, Toronto Star (Dec 4)
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/548215

First Steps on poverty draw praise from anti-poverty activists, vow to ensure the Liberal government lives up to its promise – Toronto Star coverage
http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/548853 includes historical timeline of poverty milestones since 1792 (Dec 5) http://www.thestar.com/News/article/550392

We can win war on poverty, say Howard Elliot in the Hamilton Spectator (Dec 6)
http://www.thespec.com/article/477848

Watch highlights from the 25in5 press conference on Dec 4, via Sun TV
http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2008/12/05/7640611-sun.html#/news/2008/12/04/pf-7638271.html

Peterborough Community Poverty Reduction Strategy Group praise the province’s new strategy to reduce poverty, Peterborough Examiner (Dec 5)
http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1331617

The economic argument for reducing poverty is compelling. It’s the smart thing to do, says Kingston Whig Standard editorial (Dec 8)
http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1334803

Ambitious plan to reduce childhood poverty in Ontario by 25 per cent in five years was unveiled at Queen’s Park, London Free Press (Dec 5)
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Local/2008/12/05/7641981-sun.html

Thumbs up for poverty plan, says Chatham-Kent poverty reduction roundtable, Chatham Daily News (Dec 5)
http://chathamdailynews.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1332927

Poverty plan includes after school programs for ‘high needs’ neighbourhoods, Fort Frances Times (Dec 5)
http://www.fftimes.com/node/217091

In the shadow of the federal political firestorm, Ontario quietly introduced its long-awaited poverty reduction strategy, Cornwall Standard Freeholder (Dec 5)
http://standard-freeholder.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1331075

Ontario’s strategy to lift 90,000 kids out of poverty meets enthusiasm, skepticism – Central to plan is $230M annual increase in provincial child benefit, Sault St. Marie Star (Dec 5) 
http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1331693

Poverty plan draws local praise, Sarnia Observer (Dec 5)
http://theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1330721

We can’t battle poverty with a system that undermines the very people it’s supposed to help, Toronto Star Editorial (Dec 8)
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/549437 (Dec 8)

Plus selected links from our partners:

We got what we asked for.  Now the real work begins.  Public message from the June Callwood Campaign Against Child Poverty in Toronto Star (Dec 6)
View the ad in PDF format

Peel Action Group: Strategy to fight child poverty a good start (Dec 5)
http://www.mississauga.com/article/21741

Colour of Poverty: Too many gaps in poverty plan… Focus on kids a good start, but breaking down stats by race called key to knowing who needs help (Dec 7)
http://www.thestar.com/article/549804

Wellesley Institute Backgrounder: Ontario’s new poverty reduction plan provides solid foundation; more investments required (Dec 8)

RNAO: Nurses welcome the McGuinty government’s roadmap to lift children out of poverty (Dec 4)
http://www.cnw.ca/en/releases/archive/December2008/04/c7248.html

OFL: Government leadership and grassroots community work yield results on poverty reduction (Dec 4)
http://ofl.ca/index.php/news/index_in/government_leadership_and_grassroots_community_work_yield_results_on_povert/

ACORN: Ontario takes modest first steps towards poverty reduction (Dec 4)
http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=10850

Marvyn Novick has a goal. He wants to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25 per cent in five years and 50 per cent in 10 years. And he’s looking for your input.  From the Oakville Beaver (Dec 5)
http://www.oakvillebeaver.com/news/article/224496


More than 1500 groups and individuals endorse 25 in 5

THANK YOU FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

By endorsing the 25 in 5 Declaration we sent a clear message to the Provincial Government that action on poverty reduction cannot be delayed. We expect a Poverty Reduction Strategy to be announced in the coming days that will reflect the spirit of the 25 in5 Declaration

And you can still add your voice. Visit www.25in5.ca and sign on for poverty reduction by endorsing the 25 in 5 Declaration.


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 a weekly bulletin from 25 in 5 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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