FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2009
TORONTO – A report by the 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network shows how the Ontario government could get three-quarters of the way towards its goal to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent.
A Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario – the result of consultations in 30 Ontario communities – lays out a plan that could reduce the number of poor Ontarians by 197,420 (15 per cent) and reduce the number of poor children in Ontario by 62,000 (19 per cent) within the next three years.
“Our blueprint focuses on key investments during the next two years in social infrastructure and public programs that do double duty of stimulating the economy at a time when we need it most and reducing poverty when the need is highest,” says blueprint co-author and OFL economist Sheila Block.
The blueprint includes immediate measures such as:
- A $100 Healthy Food Supplement to help all adults on social assistance access healthier food;
- A Housing Benefit to help low-income renters meet the rising cost of housing;
- An increase to the Ontario Child Benefit to $92 a month in 2009 budget and $125 a month in 2010 budget to protect Ontarians during the economic downturn;
- Building 7,500 new affordable child care spaces, crucial to supporting parents who need to work and retrain for the demands of a changing economy;
- Leveraging federal infrastructure dollars to build more affordable housing.
In the first year, the blueprint calls for an investment of $2.4 billion in social infrastructure and public programs, with a $2.6 billion commitment next year.
Analysis by Informetrica Inc. shows that increasing the Ontario Child Benefit, indexing social assistance and introducing the healthy food supplement in the next two budgets, as well as increasing the minimum wage up to $11 an hour by 2011 would bring the provincial government three-quarters of the way towards its goal to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent in five years and it would reduce total poverty by 60 per cent by 2011.
Spending in the blueprint is also stimulative: it is directed to infrastructure investments or low-income Ontarians. Almost half is directed to infrastructure investment, which will help our economy recover and will not contribute to a structural deficit.
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For more information please contact: Trish Hennessy (416) 551-2059.