Calling Canadians: Make Poverty Eradication a Priority in the Ontario Election 2011

Calling Canadians: Make Poverty Eradication a Priority in the Ontario Election 2011

Media Release

Thursday, September 15, 2011

 From Cornwall to Windsor, from Sudbury to Fort Erie


Election-style signs are going up in communities across Ontario this morning, as a coalition of faith groups and community-based organizations call for making poverty eradication a priority concern in the provincial election campaign.

The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) and the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) are co-sponsoring Poverty Free Ontario (PFO) as a non-partisan initiative to urge all political parties and electoral candidates to make a commitment for ending poverty in Ontario in this decade. The press conference in Toronto with various religious leaders will ask the provincial political party leaders to commit to a debate on poverty.

Media conferences being held simultaneously in up to 16 communities on Thursday morning, September 15 will be followed by a “sign blitz” as teams of local supporters place “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario” signs on the grounds of participating organizations and individuals throughout their communities.  A list of participating communities and contacts is attached to this release.

“Ontario’s poverty rate stands at 13.1%, the highest level in the last thirty years,” says Peter Clutterbuck, PFO Coordinator for the SPNO, “Community members and civic organizations in touch daily with the intolerable living conditions of low income Ontarians recognize that ending poverty is a major political issue. For example, in Cornwall, City Council has proclaimed September 15 as Poverty Free Ontario Day.”

“Leaders and communities from all faith traditions across the province are joining in this public and political awareness campaign,” states Michael Skaljin, Executive Director of ISARC, “Poverty amidst the wealth of our province even in harder economic times is morally indefensible and we expect that political parties and candidates running for office would not only publicly acknowledge the issue but make clear proposals about how to reduce and eliminate it within this decade.”

Poverty Free Ontario urges members of the public to ask candidates during the election campaign what they and their party will do to make a serious effort to end poverty in the province if they are elected.

The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition is a provincial network of faith groups dedicated to faith-based approaches to public policy reform in the areas of social justice and poverty elimination.

Poverty Free Ontario is an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) working with local community groups across the province.

Here is a list of participating communities for the “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario” campaign:

September 15, 2011

Cross-Community Contact List for September Election Events/Activities

Community Forum on a Poverty Free Ontario
and sign blitz launch
10:00 AM, Monday, Sept. 12
New Hope Christian Fellowship
151 Cloverleaf Dr. West, Belleville
Ruth Ingersoll
Community Development Council of Quinte

Media conference and sign blitz launch
9:45 AM Thursday, Sept. 15
Cambridge City Hall, Dickson St.
Linda Terry
Laura VanderGriendt

Launch of sign blitz (Sept.8) and week long program of community activities including All-Candidates meeting and community concert.
Michelle Gratton
Social Development Council of Cornwall & Area

Short prayer vigil and media conference to launch a sign blitz
6:15 PM Thursday, Sept. 15
St. George’s Memorial Anglican Church in downtown Oshawa, at the corner of Athol and Centre Streets (just east of Oshawa City Hall)
Rev. Ted Glover

Parry Sound:
Alex Chidley,
Chair, District of Parry Sound Poverty Reduction Network
Tami Boudreau
District of Parry Sound Poverty Reduction Network

Andre Lyn
Social Planning Council of Peel

Port Colborne-Fort Erie:
Media conference to launch Sign Blitz
9:30 AM, Thursday, Sept. 15
Bridges Community Health Centre – Port Colborne Site
177 King Street, Port Colborne
Mary Anne Feagan,
Bridges Community Health Worker
905-871-7621 x2246

Media Conference on Poverty Free Ontario
10:30 AM, Thursday, Sept. 15
All Saints’ Anglican Church (330 City Hall Square W.)
Adam Vasey
Pathway to Potential
519-966-8203 ext. 224

Media conference (11:15 AM) to launch PFO sign blitz campaign followed by a silent vigil (12:15 PM), Friday, Sept. 16 Sir John A. MacDonald Rm., Kingston City Hall
Jamie Swift (613) 544-4525 ext. 144,
Tara Kainer (613) 544-4525 ext. 113,
Justice, Peace and Integrity Creation Office, Sisters of Providence

Media panel launching the Sign Blitz
12 noon Thursday, Sept. 15,
First United Church, 16 William St W, Waterloo. All-Candidates meetings on Sept. 15.
Elisha MacWhirter

Media conference with leaders from the Interfaith Council of Halton, Voices for Change Halton and the Halton Poverty Roundtable 10:00 AM Thursday, Sept. 15
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
304 Spruce Street, Oakville
Pastor Daniel Phannenhour,
Interfaith Council, 905-845-1563

Sault Ste. Marie:
Media conference to launch Sign Blitz dramatic performance of a play on homelessness
10:00 AM, Thursday, Sept. 15
Soup Kitchen Community Centre
172 James St., Sault Ste. Marie
Precious Cedolia

Annette Reszczynski
Social Planning Council of Sudbury

Interfaith media conference to launch Sign Blitz
9:30 AM, Thursday, Sept. 15
The Cathedral Church of St. James
65 Church St., Toronto
Bruce Sudds
Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition

Media conference to launch Sign Blitz and announce evening vigil
Thursday, Sept. 15
St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, 307 Niagara St., Welland
Fr. Jim Mulligan

York Region:
Media launch of Sign Blitz
10:30 AM, Thursday, Sept. 15
at Inn From The Cold Building
510 Penrose Street, Newmarket
Call (905)967-0428 ext 205 and ask for Adam for more details.
Pat Taylor, Co-Chair of the Social Planning Council of York Region
Tom Pearson, Chair, Poverty Action for Change Coalition (PACC)

Provincial Contacts:
Peter Clutterbuck
Social Planning Network of Ontario
416-653-7947 cell 416-738-3228
Web Site:

Michael Skaljin
Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition
Web Site:


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