Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy
McGuinty Government Releases Second Progress Report On Poverty Reduction
Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy aims to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over five years.
In the past two years, the province has taken important steps to break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers and creating opportunities to help Ontarians achieve their full potential.
- 35,000 kids began Full-Day Kindergarten in 600 schools in September 2010
- Over one million children and their families received the Ontario Child Benefit, which now provides up to $1,100 per child per year
- New funding maintained 8,500 licensed child care spaces and 1,000 child care jobs
- 93 per cent of Ontarians received personal income tax cuts and 90,000 lower-income taxpayers no longer pay personal income tax
- Announced the largest review of social assistance programs in over 20 years - with the goal of improving employment outcomes, reducing complexity, improving fairness and removing barriers
- Released a Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy
- Up to 130,000 low-income children and youth became eligible for free preventive dental care through the new Healthy Smiles Ontario program
- Over 50,000 low-income children and youth received free emergency dental care through the Children in Need of Treatment program
- Over 520,000 kids received healthy snacks and meals through the Student Nutrition Program
- 4,700 youth gained valuable summer work experience through the Youth Opportunities Strategy
- $81 million in financial support for college and university students, including increased flexibility for repayment of Ontario student loans
- Training programs helped 6,000 skilled newcomers find jobs
- 400 Employment Ontario Service Network centres helped Ontarians access employment and training programs.
These initiatives and investments are already making a difference. Increased financial support - through tax credits and the Ontario Child Benefit - and increases to the minimum wage, combined with investments in Full Day Kindergarten, child care and dental care, are helping low-income families during challenging economic times.
Because of steps taken, a single mom with a young child, working full time at minimum wage, now lives above the poverty line.
Measuring progress is a key part of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy. In the first year, the government established indicators to measure progress. These indicators include:
- School Readiness
- High School Graduation Rates
- Educational Progress
- Birth Weights
- Low Income Measure
- Depth of Poverty
- Standard of Living
- Ontario Housing Measure
Progress measured on poverty reduction indicators uses 2008 as a baseline year. Statistics Canada data for income indicators lags by 18 months. As a result, progress on initiatives underway since the release of the Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2008 is not reflected in this year's income indicators.
CHANGES TO THE LOW INCOME MEASURE
The Low Income Measure (LIM), developed and reported on by Statistics Canada, is the basis for the main income indicators for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. The LIM is a relative measure of poverty and tends to change with the economy, falling in growth periods and rising in recessions. The LIM measures the number and per cent of children under the age of 18 living in households earning less than 50 per cent of the median adjusted household income. In 2008, Statistics Canada's LIM was 15.2 per cent.
- In 2010, Statistics Canada revised the method used to calculate the Low Income Measure. Changes relate to how a household is defined and the ranking used to calculate average income. As a result, indicators using the LIM in the 2010 report should not be compared to figures reported previously. To reflect this increase in children living below the LIM, the province's target of reducing child poverty by 25 per cent over five years has been updated to 103,000 children.
As Ontario moves forward, progress will be measured against the LIM fixed to the baseline of 2008.
Learn more about the Low Income Measure.
THE ROAD AHEAD
As the economy begins to recover, Ontario will continue to invest in children and their families to build stronger communities and a more prosperous province:
- Full-Day Kindergarten will continue to be expanded to schools across the province
- Building on the progress made on dental care for children and youth from low-income families, steps will be taken to integrate provincial low-income dental programs, providing more streamlined and better care for low-income Ontarians
- The reports from the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions and the Minister's Advisory Group will be used to inform the development of a Mental Health and Addictions Strategy
- The Social Assistance Review will take place over 18 months beginning in January 2011