Improving Outcomes for Ontarians Living in Poverty
Ontario has released its Poverty Reduction Strategy 2014 Annual Report, which highlights the progress being made to lift more people and families out of poverty and help them reach their full potential.
In September 2014, Ontario launched its second five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential, with a renewed commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty for children and youth. Between 2008 and 2011, the province lifted 47,000 children and families out of poverty.
The new strategy sets a goal to end homelessness and focuses on investing in evidence-based initiatives to ensure the best possible results for Ontarians. It also aims to support those living in poverty, improving access to jobs and training opportunities, while also supporting financial stability for working, low-income Ontarians.
- Increasing the maximum annual benefit for the Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 per child under 18, supporting about one million children in more than 500,000 low- to moderate-income families.
- Increasing support for families and individuals receiving Ontario Works and individuals receiving Ontario Disability Support Program benefits, helping more than 900,000 adults and children.
- Increasing the minimum wage to $11.25 per hour and indexing it to the Ontario Consumer Price Index, helping more families keep up with changing costs of living.
- Establishing an Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness, to provide advice and expertise on Ontario's long-term goal to end homelessness.
- Investing an additional $42 million in the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), bringing the annual investment up to almost $294 million. CHPI has helped close to 117,000 households find housing or remain in their homes.
- Helping more than 684,000 Ontarians find and keep jobs by providing access to support services at more than 400 Employment Ontario locations.
- Expanding Student Nutrition Programs, providing more than 756,000 students with a nutritious breakfast at school. Student Nutrition Programs have increased from 2,027 programs in 2004-05 to 4,452 programs in the 2013-14 school year.
- Completing the roll-out of Full-Day Kindergarten in provincial schools, saving families an average of $6,500 per year in child care costs.
- Launching the Tele-Mental Health Service to increase access to specialized mental health services for children and youth in rural, remote and underserviced communities.
The new strategy continues to focus on measuring success. In addition to tracking progress on the existing indicators, the strategy introduces three new indicators to better measure progress being made for youth, those experiencing long-term unemployment and certain vulnerable populations. The province is working with the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness to develop a new indicator to track progress on the government's goal to end homelessness.
In the next five years, Ontario will continue to make strategic investments to help people rise out of poverty. Our government will work with community partners to focus on evidence-building, and fund programs and interventions that have been proven to work.