Did you know that the “provincial purse has begun to pick up $1.5 billion per year of Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) payments in your region? What happens now to the pot of money the regions used for these payments?”
Here are the important answers for Canadians in the following dialogue of Brice Balmer, Director of Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC), during the Religious Leaders Forum of November 18, 2010:
ADVOCACY TIME FOR LOCAL POVERTY REDUCTION!
by Rev. Brice Balmer
The municipal elections are over; it is now time to contact your municipal/regional council members and ask that they begin a local poverty reduction strategy with the Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) monies being up-loaded to the province. Total monies provincially will be approximately $1.5 billion per year when the process is finished in 2018.
Without local action, these monies may go for other municipal programs. Environment, culture, roads, police, transit, planning, and public health are all important, but this is money to assist people with low incomes.
While Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) advocates for a more intense poverty elimination strategy at the provincial level, local interfaith and social justice groups can begin pressing for municipal poverty reduction.
ISARC maintains that these monies should be used to eliminate poverty locally by building affordable and supportive housing, increasing employment initiatives, assisting people of low incomes with transportation, helping high school youth with course fees, investing in child care spaces, providing subsidies for recreation programs, and adding community centre programs in neighborhoods where many families live in poverty.