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Policy Agenda Overview

Overview of a Policy Agenda to Eradicate Poverty in Ontario

The Federal Government in Canada has the primary role for income support systems for adults (e.g. OAS and GIS, EI), children and persons with disabilities across the life cycle.

It also has responsibility for transferring public funding to the provinces for the provision of early learning and childcare, affordable housing and extended health benefits (e.g. drug, dental, vision).

Finally, the Federal Government has the responsibility to honour historic commitments to support Aboriginal Peoples in their strategies to eradicate poverty on and off reserves.

As a provincial government, however, Ontario has sole responsibility for the eradication of poverty in two critical areas:

  • Basic income support through social assistance which ensures a life out of poverty for parents and adults with limited access to employment; and
  • Labour markets with decent wages and working conditions that enable full-time, full-year earners to live above the poverty line.

A policy agenda in Ontario to eradicate poverty must ensure that all Ontarians both in and out of the workforce have livable incomes.

  • End Deep Poverty

Upgrading social assistance including increasing benefit levels of Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program will enable people not in the labour market for whatever short- or long-term reasons to live with health and dignity at least at the poverty line. More on Ending Deep Poverty

  • End Working Poverty

Paying a basic minimum wage for all Ontarians in the workforce ($12.50/hr. phased in by 2014 with three annual 75 cent increments) would assure that everyone working full-year, full-time would live above the poverty line. More on Ending Working Poverty

  • Protect Food Money

Introducing a full housing benefit (rent subsidies so that the costs of housing do not exceed 30% of gross household income) as a complement to adequate social assistance payments or basic minimum wage earnings so that housing costs do not force low income occupants to use money budgeted for food and other basic necessities to keep a roof over their heads. More on Protecting Food Money

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