• Biting cold exposes deeper rot in Toronto’s attitudes to poverty

    … fixing short-term inadequacies will have to be paired with a more sweeping strategy involving all three levels of government to improve income security, strengthen mental health, addiction, and overdose prevention services, and make affordable housing the national priority it used to be. None of these things can or will happen until we acknowledge that the austerity consensus in public policy has been a failure; that real efficiency means actually meeting human needs rather than perpetually looking for and inventing new ways to cut public spending

  • Quebec’s bold new basic income offer: Does it benefit the right people?

    … while bolstering support for those unable to work, Quebec continues to embrace punitive measures for those deemed fit to work, particularly single men… beyond severe physical and mental disabilities, there are many barriers to employment, such as illiteracy, poor education, a criminal record and lack of decent work opportunities… There are many perverse disincentives that keep people trapped on welfare.

  • How expanding tax credits would help to lower our country’s welfare wall

    … while the new funding is welcome, the WITB is relatively ineffective in raising the incomes of the working poor, and does not greatly help social-assistance recipients transition to employment. It should be reformed so as to provide a supplement to wages in real time, should provide a higher maximum benefit and should be phased out much more slowly as employment income rises so as to reduce high marginal tax rates for the working poor.

  • There is a prescription for poverty’s punishing impact on health in Ontario

    One of the reasons poverty is expensive is because people living in poverty have higher rates of chronic disease, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Children in low-income families are at higher risk of diagnosed mental health problems, nutritional deficiencies, asthma and injury… Aside from being inadequate, our social assistance programs are dysfunctional… With the cost of poverty at more than $32 billion per year in Ontario, we can’t afford to continue with the same flawed system…

  • Why the history of poverty keeps repeating itself

    Allocating too much money for welfare risks antagonizing other voters who fret about waste or dependency. And who want their own needs and entitlements taken care of first — like hydro rate reductions, child-care subsidies, or middle class tax cuts… Logic (and humanity) demands a single, simple, basic income program that consolidates the tangle of existing rules into a more coherent and cost-effective form of social support, now being tested in a pilot program in parts of the province.

  • Time to act on poverty [ODSP]

    Currently, for every dollar earned over $200 a month while on Ontario Disability Supports (ODSP) there is a reduction in benefits by 50 per cent. Instead, why not allow ODSP recipients to earn up to the agreed-on poverty income level before the reduction begins? This will cost the government nothing, provides a huge incentive to work and will raise the standard of living for those currently receiving the government pittance.

  • People With Disabilities in Poverty Trap, Says Report

    The median income for people with disabilities in Canada is nearly half that of those without disabilities, and 23 per cent of people with disabilities between 25 and 64 are living in poverty, according to the report. About 13.9 per cent of all Canadians live in poverty… Earlier this year Ottawa consulted the public as part of an initiative to develop legislation to improve accessibility for people with disabilities… anti-poverty organizations in the Chew on This! campaign to call for a national, rights-based anti-poverty plan.

  • Ontario’s basic income pilot project enrols 400 people, so far

    About 30 per cent of the initial group are on social assistance and the rest the working poor… efforts are being made to sign up participants because the pilot is “such a paradigm shift from what people are used to … it really is taking a lot of outreach in the community, a lot of one-on-one answering of questions so people understand what it is they could sign up for.”

  • CPP, subsidizing survivor pensions, not fair — to a point

    The fundamental problem with CPP is that it serves two masters: it’s designed to serve as a self-funding aid to financial security in retirement and to alleviate the plight of impoverished single seniors, most of whom are women… Is CPP fair? No. But it’s also not fair that far too many older single women live in poverty. Subsidizing child-rearing years and paying survivors’ pensions may not be fair, but it’s the right thing to do.

  • Handing out money for free harder than it looks [Basic Income Project]

    The pilot is expected to cost $50 million a year and help the government determine whether a less intrusive and more trusting approach to delivering income support improves health, education and housing outcomes for low-income workers and people on welfare… But so far, the randomized weekly mail-outs have resulted in relatively few applications and even fewer cheques in the hands of low-income Ontarians.