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Archive for September 15th, 2011

Multi-faith support to end poverty in Ontario

Religious leaders from a number of traditions expressed their strong concern this morning about the lack of attention to the issue of poverty in the current provincial election campaign.

A media conference on the grounds of the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. James brought together leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities to voice support for a Poverty Free Ontario.

Moderated by United Church Minister Rev. Susan Eagle, Chair of the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC), the event highlighted statements from Imam Dr. Hamid Slimi from the Canadian Council of Imams, Anglican Bishop the Right Reverend M. Philip Poole, and Myer Siemiatycki, President of the Jewish Congregation of Darchei Noam.  Rene Adams, a social activist with the Toronto Christian resource Centre and with personal experience living on social assistance also addressed the assembled community members.

Following their statements each member of the panel placed a “Let’s Vote for a Poverty free Ontario” election-style lawn sign on the grounds of St. James Cathedral to symbolize the importance of this message in the election campaign and to join in solidarity with similar events occurring in 16 communities across Ontario, many at the very same time of day on September 15.

The Sign Blitz campaign is a joint initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario and ISARC’s Faith to End Poverty initiative.

“Let’s Vote For A Poverty Free Ontario”




For Immediate Release:
8:00 AM, Thursday, September 15, 2011

From Cornwall to Windsor, from Sudbury to Fort Erie


Election-style signs are going up in communities across Ontario this morning, as a coalition of faith groups and community-based organizations call for making poverty eradication a priority concern in the provincial election campaign.

The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) and the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) are co-sponsoring Poverty Free Ontario (PFO) as a non-partisan initiative to urge all political parties and electoral candidates to make a commitment for ending poverty in Ontario in this decade. The press conference in Toronto with various religious leaders will ask the provincial political party leaders to commit to a debate on poverty.

Media conferences being held simultaneously in up to 16 communities on Thursday morning, September 15 will be followed by a “sign blitz” as teams of local supporters place “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario” signs on the grounds of participating organizations and individuals throughout their communities.  A list of participating communities and contacts is attached to this release.

“Ontario’s poverty rate stands at 13.1%, the highest level in the last thirty years,” says Peter Clutterbuck, PFO Coordinator for the SPNO, “Community members and civic organizations in touch daily with the intolerable living conditions of low income Ontarians recognize that ending poverty is a major political issue.   For example, in Cornwall, City Council has proclaimed September 15 as Poverty Free Ontario Day.”

“Leaders and communities from all faith traditions across the province are joining in this public and political awareness campaign,” states Michael Skaljin, Executive Director of ISARC, “Poverty amidst the wealth of our province even in harder economic times is morally indefensible and we expect that political parties and candidates running for office would not only publicly acknowledge the issue but make clear proposals about how to reduce and eliminate it within this decade.”

Poverty Free Ontario urges members of the public to ask candidates during the election campaign what they and their party will do to make a serious effort to end poverty in the province if they are elected.

The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition is a provincial network of faith groups dedicated to faith-based approaches to public policy reform in the areas of social justice and poverty elimination. www.faithtoendpoverty.ca

Poverty Free Ontario is an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) working with local community groups across the province www.povertyfreeontario.ca


Media Contacts:

Peter Clutterbuck, SPNO, 416-738-3228 and 416-653-7947,  pclutterbuck@spno.ca

Bruce Sudds, ISARC, 416-931-3643, media@isarc.ca

See list of participating communities attached

Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario – Sign and Brochure


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