A New Era In The Fight Against Poverty
Proposed Legislation Commits Ontario To Long-Term Action
For the first time ever, Ontario has introduced poverty reduction legislation that, if passed, would ensure that successive governments remain focused on the fight against poverty.
As part of Breaking the Cycle: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, the proposed Poverty Reduction Act would:
- Require successive governments to report annually on key indicators of opportunity - these will typically include income levels, school success, health care and housing.
- Mandate future governments to consult widely before developing future strategies, including consultation with those living in poverty.
- Require Ontario to develop a new strategy at least every five years.
- Require future governments to set a specific poverty reduction target every five years.
- The McGuinty government’s $1.4 billion poverty reduction strategy sets a hard target of reducing the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over 5 years – that’s 90,000 kids.
- Meeting the 25 in 5 target will require provincial investments, federal investments and a growing economy.
- The poverty reduction strategy calls on the federal government to double the amount of the Working Income Tax Benefit to $2,000 a year per family. The 2009 Federal Budget showed progress in this direction by increasing the maximum benefit to $1,680.
- The full implementation of the poverty reduction strategy will mean that even without any new federal investments, a single parent with two children under age 13 working full time at minimum wage will have a 54 per cent higher total income than it was in 2003.
“We are determined to take bold steps in our fight against poverty because we know that it will help us emerge through this uncertain economic time with a stronger, a more just, and a more prosperous Ontario. This legislation is all about making sure that we remain focused on the task at hand so that we meet our goal of breaking the cycle of poverty.”
“With the implementation of these rule changes to social assistance, our government is breaking down some of the barriers so that more Ontarians can develop their skills as well as pursue rewarding employment opportunities.”