Ontario Looks to Listen to People on Poverty Reduction

Poverty

TORONTO — The Ontario government wants to hear from people across the province about what they want to see in the next poverty reduction strategy.

“Empowering people and supporting them during challenging times is a priority for our government. We also know we cannot do this work alone,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “It’s important we listen to people who have experienced poverty, community organizations, Indigenous communities and organizations, and our partners about how we can break the cycle of poverty to ensure everyone has a chance to succeed and contribute to their community.”

Rima Berns-McGown, Ontario NDP critic for Poverty and Homelessness, released the following statement in response to news the government claims it will consult on its next anti-poverty strategy:

“It is the height of hypocrisy for the Ford government to suggest that it’s seeking ‘innovative ideas’ on how to help reduce poverty. Doug Ford cancelled the promising basic income pilot program, and Doug Ford cut $1 billion from social services in this budget.

“The Ford government has only taken things from bad to worse for Ontarians struggling with homelessness and poverty, piling on more cuts where the Liberals left off. It was cruel for the Liberals to cap and cut funding for homelessness prevention and shelter programs delivered by municipalities, and it was wrong for the Conservatives to cut or freeze funding for provincial homelessness prevention programs.

“It was wrong for the Conservatives to eviscerate the Anti-Racism Directorate when Black families are twice as likely as white ones to go hungry, and it is wrong for the Conservatives to refuse to take reconciliation seriously when 90 per cent of Indigenous people in Toronto live in poverty and when poverty is a major contributing factor to Indigenous youth suicide.

“Ontarians struggling with extreme poverty deserve better than a government that literally ignores them by not bothering to enumerate homeless populations anymore. From people unable to get a foothold and build a stable life, to those at risk of preventable deaths because the shelter system is overstretched, Ford’s cuts have been devastating.”

One in Seven Live in Poverty

“One in seven people in Ontario lives in poverty, and that is too many,” said Minister Smith. “By creating an environment where everyone is able to reach their full potential, we’re helping people across Ontario put food on the table and provide for their families. Our government remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable people of Ontario by continuing to make investments to make life more affordable, while proposing new strategies to meet their needs.”

Background:

Every five years, Ontario consults on and develops a new Poverty Reduction Strategy to identify opportunities for action and collaboration with partners and to measure and report on progress more effectively. The goal of this consultation is to help drive actions to reduce poverty by setting a specific and realistic target, as well as prioritizing actions and initiatives across sectors and at all government levels to help lift Ontarians out of poverty.

To inform the new Strategy, the government will be asking Ontario residents how we can encourage job creation and connect people to employment; provide people with the right supports and services; and lower the cost of living and make life more affordable.

Organizations and individuals can provide written submissions to prso@ontario.ca beginning today. An online survey will be posted on Ontario.ca in January 2020 for approximately 60 days where organizations and individuals are encouraged to submit feedback.