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:

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.

Read more of Advocate for Poverty Reduction as Provincial Purse Picking Up $1.5 Billion Per Year of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program Payments

Tomorrow,  Toronto will start off the holiday season with a spectacular celebration at the Calvacade of Lights.

Here is the itinerary for this free fantastic event, Calvacade of  Lights, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

Saturday, November 27

Admission: FREE

5:30 to 7 p.m. – Meet and greet with Debbie Travis on-site at the Canadian Tire display and enter for a chance to win a Debbie Travis holiday look

7 p.m. – Welcoming remarks by Kevin Frankish and Ingrid Schumacher; illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas tree;  Nathan Phillips Square lighting; and a holiday concert featuring Sarah Slean, Shawn Desman and Divine Brown

8 p.m. – Spectacular fireworks display; followed by a skating party on the theme “Celebrating 40 Years of the Juno Awards” with DJ Tony Sutherland

Cavalcade of Lights is produced by the City of Toronto and sponsored by Scotiabank. Canadian Tire is this year’s Lighting Display Partner.

For more information contact:
Phone: 311

Nathan Phillips Square
100 Queen Street West
Bay Street & Queen Street West
Map to this event

Public transit directions:
Queen or Osgoode subway station.
TTC Trip Planner

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In the following letter,  Dennis Howlett, National Coordinator of Make Poverty History, is alerting us as concerned Canadians  that it’s time to take action on poverty and climate change:

Dear Canadians,

“A billion dollar Canadian bill? Take a closer look and you will notice that although it bears a slight resemblance to our $5 bill, this $1 Billion Climate Cash bill illustrates what could happen to our iconic Canadian winter scenes if we don’t take action on climate change. It also draws attention to the $1 Billion that is now being wasted on subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as well as the $1 Billion that is needed to help poor countries cope with climate change.

Check out the $1 billion bill and send a message to Harper.

Read more of Please Check Out the $1 Billion Bill and Send a Message Now to Prime Minister Harper

Living in York Region: A Community Indicators Project

Here is the November news from the York Region Community Foundation (Ontario, Canada) as follows:

“York Region Community Foundation, in partnership with York University’s Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit, were jointly awarded a three-year grant (2010-2012) by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to create Living in York Region: A Community Indicators Project.

As York Region continues to grow in size and diversity, this project represents our joint interest in and commitment to working with others to develop a made-in -York Region, reliable baseline understanding of residents and communities’ well-being across a series of civic, economic, environmental and social indicators.

What is a Community Indicator?

In this project we are defining a community indicator as a measure of community wellbeing and sustainability, from residents’ perspectives. Living in York Region: A Community Indicators Project is similar in many ways, but also an enhancement, to other community assessments and planning processes conducted in many communities across Canada. It will use the Community Foundation of Canada’s Vital Signs framework and, in that way, become part of a network of communities across Canada that annually check-up on measures of community vitality. York Region’s first report will be released in October, 2011.

This project will build on and align with existing local efforts to capture quality of life from residents and service provider’s perspectives. Residents, businesses, governments and community organizations in York Region will be able to interactively contribute to and rely on the information gathered to learn about and identify community needs and assets.

Read more of Measuring York Region’s WellBeing and Sustainability From Residents’ Perspectives

In the following letter, Dennis Howlett, from Make Poverty History, is appealing to you for your help to make a breakthrough on poverty in Canada:

“Dear Canadians,

An all party committee of parliament has just put forward a report that could change the face of poverty in Canada.

The report calls for the federal government to immediately commit to a federal action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. Make Poverty History has contributed and pushed for this report, now we must make its recommendations a reality.

Send a message now to Diane Finley, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development urging her to respond positively to the recommendations in the report. Ask her to commit to developing a poverty reduction plan.

The report, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada, is the result of an extensive three-year study on the federal role in addressing poverty by the Parliamentary Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development (HUMA). They support the key goals of the Dignity for All campaign by recommending that the federal government immediately commit to a federal action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. Key components of a poverty reduction plan the committee recommends the federal government take action on include:

  • Raising the Canada Child Tax Benefit and supplement to $5000 within 5 years;
  • A long-term national housing and homelessness strategy;
  • Measures to help the most vulnerable – a refundable Disability Tax Credit, easing EI qualifications, increasing adult literacy, increasing and indexing GIS for seniors, implementing an early learning and child care strategy; and
  • Major help for Aboriginal People for housing, education and social services, including elimination of the two per cent cap on federal funding.

Recently, the government has ignored recommendations from similar reports on Poverty from the Senate. Don’t let this happen again.

We can’t let this excellent parliamentary report just be ignored and sit on a shelf to gather dust. It was the result of extensive public hearings in a number of communities across Canada – something that action by Make Poverty History supporters helped to make happen. Members of Parliament listened to people living in poverty and have responded to what they heard with very positive and thoughtful recommendations, which if adopted would help to make poverty history in Canada.

Send a message now to the government that we need immediate action to end poverty in Canada. And send a copy of your message to your Member of Parliament asking her/him to support the recommendations in the HUMA Report.

And if you haven’t done so yet, visit www.dignityforall.ca and sign up your support to the Make Poverty History sponsored movement to end poverty in Canada.

Thank you,

Dennis Howlett
Make Poverty History


Help Make Poverty History Educate Canadians About Poverty:

Vote for our project in the Aviva Community Fund Project. Make Poverty History is taking part in the Aviva Community Fund Project. We are raising money for Stand Up 2011. We need your votes to win money towards this project. Vote from Nov 15 to Nov 25 (Remember you can vote more then once).”

News Release

November 22, 2010

Toronto lights up the sky for one night only at Cavalcade of Lights

Toronto’s annual holiday celebration, Cavalcade of Lights presented by Scotiabank, will kick off the holiday season on Saturday, November 27 at 7 p.m. Featuring some of Canada’s top musical talent, a spectacular fireworks show, and a skating party on the iconic Nathan Phillips Square skating rink, this annual festival of illumination offers the opportunity to capture the magic of the city this holiday season.

Read more of Toronto Celebrates the Holiday Season at Calvacade of Lights: Free Entertainment