Improving Outcomes for Ontarians Living in Poverty
Ontario has released its Poverty Reduction Strategy 2015 Annual Report, which highlights the progress being made to lift more people and families out of poverty and improve the lives of the province's most vulnerable people.
In September 2014, Ontario launched its renewed five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential, 2014-19. Building on progress since the launch of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2008, Ontario is continuing to measure its results, to ensure investments are made in evidence-based initiatives that achieve the best possible outcomes for Ontarians.
Progress in 2015 includes:
- Launching the Local Poverty Reduction Fund, a $50 million, six-year initiative, designed to support and evaluate local efforts to prevent and reduce poverty and to build a made-in-Ontario body of evidence about what works. Ontario is investing in 41 projects in over 20 communities through the first round of grants.
- Increasing the maximum annual benefit for the Ontario Child Benefit to $1,336 per child under 18, more than doubling the benefit since it was introduced in 2008. In 2015, Ontario also indexed future increases to inflation, to ensure the benefit keeps pace with the cost of living now and in the future.
- Providing more than 847,000 students with healthy meals at school through the Student Nutrition Programs. These programs served an additional 91,000 students in 190 more schools during the 2014-15 school year, and were also expanded or enhanced in 120 schools and other educational settings in First Nations communities.
- Combining six existing publicly funded oral health programs under the new Healthy Smiles Ontario program, providing access to free preventative, routine and emergency dental services to nearly 45,000 low-income children and youth by the end of 2015.
- Helping more than 1 million Ontarians to train for and/or find jobs both online and in person at more than 300 Employment Ontario sites across the province.
- Offering programs, employment, training and education opportunities specific to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous people through initiatives such as the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund.
- Renewing Ontario's commitment to helping young people create their own opportunities and access education and training to gain a foothold in the labour market, through the renewed Youth Jobs Strategy.
- Responding to the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness, and committed to the ambitious goal of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years.
- Updating the 2010 Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy and investing $178 million over three years to create more affordable housing, to reduce homelessness, to give people more choice in where they live and to make it easier to navigate the housing system.
- Providing $587 million over two years to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), to assist those who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness attain and retain housing. In 2014-15, CHPI helped more than 30,500 families and individuals find a home, and helped more than 104,400 stay in their homes.
Ontario remains committed to measuring the outcomes of its Poverty Reduction Strategy by tracking progress against a series of 11 indicators. The annual report outlines the progress made on these indicators using the most recent data available.
By investing in what works, Ontario can continue to work to achieve its goals of breaking the cycle of poverty for children and youth, helping people achieve employment and income security, and ending chronic homelessness in Ontario.