Ontario Making Progress On Poverty Reduction
McGuinty Government Releases First Annual Report
Ontario is delivering on its poverty reduction strategy by making historic investments in low-income families during challenging economic times.
The first annual report on the Breaking the Cycle strategy released today highlights three pillars that the government has delivered on:
- Accelerating the Ontario Child Benefit: low-income families started receiving up to $1,100 per child annually on July 1, 2009 - that's almost double the previous maximum benefit.
- Moving forward with full-day learning for four and five year olds: up to 35,000 kindergarten students will be enrolled by 2010. A portion of the phase-one schools will serve low-income neighbourhoods. Full implementation is targeted for 2015-16.
- Tax fairness for low-income families: as part of the package that includes a move to the Harmonized Sales Tax, approximately 2.9 million low- to- middle- income individuals and families will get a new sales tax credit of up to $260 per adult and child per year.
The Breaking the Cycle strategy aims to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over 5 years - lifting 90,000 kids out of poverty. Ontario is using Statistics Canada's Low Income Measure to monitor its progress in meeting the 25 in 5 target. Baseline data - set on 2008 levels - is expected to be released in 2010.
- The Poverty Reduction Act 2009 was passed by unanimous consent by all parties on May 6, 2009. The act requires that current and future governments develop poverty reduction strategies at least every five years and that they consult with those living in poverty.
“"Poverty reduction demands immediate action and a long-term plan - we have both. Our Annual Report helps us reflect on what we have achieved and how we are moving forward to build opportunities for Ontario families. Despite the economic slowdown, we are making progress. There is hard work ahead of us and we will continue to make poverty reduction a priority for our government."”
“"In these tough economic times, the government has made crucial investments and progress in the first year of the Strategy. We are looking forward to continuing to work together in the years to come to implement the rest of the strategy."”