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Put Food in the Budget: Please Urge Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to Raise Social Assistance Rates Now!

This video (May 27, 2013) presents “Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, announces social assistance plans at City Hall in Windsor.”

  • Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the City of Windsor’s Employment and Training Services today to highlight the government’s commitment to transforming social assistance, helping people keep more of their hard-earned money while entering the workforce.

  • In the 2013 Budget, the government laid out its plan to move forward on implementing key recommendations from the Lankin-Sheikh report by creating a $200 monthly earnings exemption for people who receive benefits from Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

  • The government would also increase social assistance rates, create more inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities and work to reduce poverty rates in Ontario.

  • The 2013 Budget is designed to create jobs and help people in their everyday lives. By taking steps to remove barriers to employment, the government wants to make it easier for more social assistance recipients to enter the workforce and ensure that everyone in Ontario is treated fairly.

Hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents in Canada do not have enough to eat each month and, thus, are forced to go to food banks every month because of inadequate incomes.

Since 1970 the middle class is shrinking as poverty is growing in Toronto.

Here are some statistics on food banks in Canada.

  • 900,000 Canadians used food banks in 2010.
  • 50 percent of people who need food banks stay away out of shame.
  • $6.6 billion is the annual estimated cost of unhealthy eating in Canada.
  • 38 percent increase in the number of working poor in Canada between 1998 to 2008.
  • More than 10,000 people have completed the Do the Math campaign highlighting inadequate welfare rates.

The Toronto Star gives the following statistics regarding who’s on social assistance as of June 2012.

  • Ontario Works (OW)
    • 477,339 individuals, or about 3.6 per cent of the population;
    • 171,867 are children;
    • average age: 36;
    • 60 per cent of cases are singles;
    • 30 per cent are single parents;
    • 3 per cent are couples without children;
    • 8 per cent are couples with children; and
    • about 75 per cent of children are in families led by single parents.
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

    • 415,338 individuals or about 3.1 per cent of the population;
    • 43 percent of applicants have a physical disability;
    • 39 percent have a mental disability;
    • 18 percent have a developmental disability;
    • about 60 percent of new applicants in 2009-10 were suffering from mental illness;
    • 59,403 are children;
    • average age: 46;
    • 77 per cent are singles;
    • 9 per cent are single parents;
    • 8 per cent are couples without children;
    • 6 per cent are couples with children; and
    • just over half of children are in families led by single parents.

In the following letter, Put Food in the Budget is asking for our help to urge Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to immediately raise social assistance rates to levels that ensure lives of health and dignity.