2013 Ontario Budget: Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition’s Response

isarc's image: The Ontario Government's 2013 Budget
isarc’s image: The Ontario Government’s 2013 Budget

On May 2, 2013 the Ontario government of Canada released the proposed 2013 budget to be debated at Queen’s Park over the next couple of weeks.

The provincial government has reported that the Ontario Child Benefit provides financial support that has helped lift 40,000 children out of poverty.

According to the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC):

  • The majority of Ontario children receiving social assistance benefits (67%) are in lone-mother led families
  • The provincial child poverty rate is 12.6%, or 345,000 children (using 2005 Statistics Canada data on tax income)
    • That is, one of every eight children in Ontario is living in poverty

    • The rate declined slightly from 2004 to 2005, but has been on an upward trend since 2001

    • Ontario’s child poverty rate is the fourth highest in Canada – 44% of all low-income children in Canada live in Ontario

  • Poverty rates for children in Aboriginal, racialized, new immigrant and lone mother-led families are at least double the provincial rate
  • In 2007, a single mother with one young child on social assistance had a family income that was at least $5,357 below the poverty line
  • Full-time, full-year work at Ontario’s new minimum wage of $10.25 an hour generates earnings that are approximately $3,000 below the poverty line
  • 70% of all low-income children in Ontario live in families where at least one parent is working part-time or full-time, yet the families are unable to earn enough to lift family income above the poverty line
  • Parents who are unable to be in the workforce and rely on social assistance struggle on welfare benefits that are as low now as they were in 1967
  • Average CEO salary has grown from 25 times the average Canadian income in 1980 to 250 times the average income in 2011
  • In 2009, Ontario spent $64 per person on affordable housing compared to the average among all provinces of $115 per person

Premier Kathleen Wynne highlighted the 2013 Budget’s proposed increases to the Ontario Child Benefit, which helps about one million low- to moderate-income children across the province in the following manner:

  • The Ontario government is proposing to increase the Ontario Child Benefit’s annual maximum payment by up to $210 over the next two years
    • This would raise the maximum payment from $1,100 to $1,310 per year for each child, helping parents with their family expenses

    • The Ontario Child Benefit helps low-income parents provide for their children, whether they are working or not

  • In order for parents to receive this year’s proposed increase of $110 this July, the Budget 2013 bill would have to be passed and proclaimed before July 1, 2013
    • The benefit would also increase by another $100 per year as of July 1, 2014

  • Parents don’t need to apply for the Ontario Child Benefit
    • To be eligible they must file their income taxes, register for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, have a child under age 18, and live in Ontario

The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC)‘s response to Ontario government’s 2013 budget is given in the following press release:

Continue reading “2013 Ontario Budget: Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition’s Response”

Canadian Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage in Ontario: Province-Wide Rallies on March 21, 2013

This video presents “Trish Hennessy – raising Ontario’s minimum wage”:

Ontario-Wide Rallies on March 21, 2013
Ontario-Wide Rallies on March 21, 2013

According to the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC), full-time, full-year work at Ontario’s new minimum wage of $10.25 an hour generates earnings that are approximately $3,000 below the poverty line.

ISARC urges us to join or support the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, which is a province-wide day of action as follows:

Melt the freeze! Raise the minimum wage!

Rallies at:

  • Other coordinated actions in cities across Ontario: Melt the freeze actions are happening in at least 10 cities across Ontario this week, including Ottawa, Hamilton, York Region, Kingston, Belleville, Welland, Kitchener-Waterloo and Suddbury!

on

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ontario’s minimum wage has been frozen for three years, while the cost of living continues to rise:

Continue reading “Canadian Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage in Ontario: Province-Wide Rallies on March 21, 2013”

Ontario Communities’ Strategy Session: Stop the Cuts to Community Start-Up Benefits Dec.14, 2012

This video presents “John Clarke of OCAP Speech in Sudbury.mov”:

  • The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in Canada is calling for a week of action from December 7 – December 14, 2012 to put pressure on Liberal MPPs throughout the Province to reverse the decision to eliminate the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB)
  • Published on Nov 22, 2012
    • A discussion on the implications of the cut to the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit along with further plans by the coalition against poverty to fight the cut

According to the November 2012 report “The Real Cost of Cutting the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit: A Health Equity Impact Assessment,”

  • “In its 2012 budget, the Ontario government announced that it was eliminating the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB)  as of January 1, 2013
    • As of January 1, 2013, the CSUMB will end and 50 percent of its funding ($67 million in 2013-20142) will be passed to municipalities as part of the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), the first phase of a multi-year consolidation of housing programs

    • Municipalities will determine how their provincial funds will be spent, but will not be required to produce housing and homelessness plans until 2014, ­ a full year after taking responsibility for CHPI that was created in July 2012 by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing under the province’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy

      • The Ministry will eventually consolidate twenty housing and homelessness programs currently administered in different ministries

      • Supports provided with CHPI funding will be available to all low income Ontarians, including but not limited to those on social assistance3

      • It is not yet known how municipalities will decide to run their local housing and homelessness programs

      • As part of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, municipalities must produce local housing and homelessness plans in order to address housing needs in their communities, but these plans are not required until 2014

      • The province has not set any requirement for municipalities to deliver programs that cover the expenses that were eligible for the CSUMB, nor have they made public the terms under which municipalities will deliver consolidated homelessness prevention programs

You’re Invited: Interfaith Prayer Vigils for Eradication of Poverty in Ontario Oct.2 & 4, 2012

You’re Invited: Interfaith Prayer Vigils for Eradication of Poverty in Ontario
You’re Invited: Interfaith Prayer Vigils for Eradication of Poverty in Ontario

Continue reading “You’re Invited: Interfaith Prayer Vigils for Eradication of Poverty in Ontario Oct.2 & 4, 2012”

You’re Invited: Interfaith Dinner Sept.13 & International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Oct.17

Throughout the year,  Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) supports a range of educational and advocacy initiatives focused on the elimination of poverty in Ontario, Canada.

One such initiative is the following Interfaith Dinner Invitation:

Perspectives on Social Justice
(Interfaith Dinner)

FREE

September 13, 2012

6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Church of the Holy Trinity
10 Trinity Square
Toronto, Ontario

Moderator
Deacon Pedro Guevara Mann, Salt & Light TV

Opening Remarks
Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator, Campaign 2000

Please register for this FREE educational dinner event to hear faith perspectives on the theme of social justice. 

  • Space is limited
  • Register before September 9, 2012

Please click here for more information.

To register, please click here.

United Nations Designated October 17 as the International Day for The Eradication of Poverty
United Nations Designated October 17 as the International Day for The Eradication of Poverty

Continue reading “You’re Invited: Interfaith Dinner Sept.13 & International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Oct.17”

ISARC: Canadian Social Assistance Review in Ontario & Religious Leaders’ Forum – March 29, 2012

ISARC: Canadian Social Assistance Review in Ontario & Religious Leaders' Forum - March 29, 2012
ISARC: Canadian Social Assistance Review in Ontario & Religious Leaders' Forum - March 29, 2012

This is an update to my previous blogs

The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) gives us the following update regarding their response to the Commission on the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario:

Continue reading “ISARC: Canadian Social Assistance Review in Ontario & Religious Leaders’ Forum – March 29, 2012”

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

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

“LET’S VOTE FOR A POVERTY FREE ONTARIO”

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.

Continue reading “Calling Canadians: Make Poverty Eradication a Priority in the Ontario Election 2011”