• Caring for vulnerable children starts with caring for parents

    … the government’s flawed information on homeless births is not only a problem of inadequate data collection. It is also a symptom of a greater issue: the stigma attached to homelessness which impedes pregnant, homeless women from disclosing their status and seeking support… To address the root of this issue the province should make access to housing support more readily available to pregnant women and integrate such services within the health care system to encourage women to reach out rather than conceal their challenges.

  • Dismantling the Welfare Wall for Persons with Disabilities 

    For most Canadians with disabilities, the promise of the social security system far exceeds its performance, especially for persons with severe impairment. Many cannot qualify for public or private insurance because the eligibility criteria require employment or the programs are delivered as a workplace benefit. Thousands of individuals with serious disabilities end up on social assistance or welfare – the leanest of Canada’s social programs.

  • Child benefits cut tax rate for families in Canada, OECD report finds

    At the turn of the century, a single-income family with two children in Canada had an effective tax rate of 14.2 per cent. That rate fell below 10 per cent after the Great Recession and dropped dramatically over the past two years… Over the same period, the net personal average tax rate for a single worker remained above 20 per cent.

  • Ontario ends onerous reviews for disabled people on welfare

    Beginning this month, those whose medical conditions have not improved will no longer be required to fill out the same forms they completed for their initial application for benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)… “The new process is simple, efficient and reduces a lot of the stress for patients and (medical) providers… And it is going to save the health care and social service system a lot of unnecessary costs.”

  • Canada Social Report: A Compendium of Social Information

    Over the past few years, the loss of data in Canada − especially the troubling dismantling of the long-form Census − inspired the Caledon Institute to launch this effort. The Canada Social Report acts as a major hub for social information. It is a resource for the entire social sector – to give all of us a strong voice and a powerful evidence base for informed policy conversations and the formulation of intelligent policy solutions.

  • Ontario families on welfare to keep full federal child benefit

    Ontario families on social assistance will not face provincial clawbacks when the new Canada Child Benefit kicks in on July 1… almost 260,000 children in families who rely on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program will benefit from the full amount of their federal child benefit payment. The new program replaces the current child benefit and supplement as well as the taxable Universal Child Care Benefit with a single non-taxable benefit. The average Canadian family is expected to receive an additional $2,300 a year under the new initiative.

  • Social assistance poverty gap skyrocketed

    In 2014, despite modest adjustments to social assistance rates and other supports such as the Ontario Trillium Benefit implemented by both the McGuinty and Wynne governments, the poverty gap for singles stood at a stark 59 per cent. Though smaller than the gap for single individuals receiving Ontario Works, the poverty gap for all family types has followed a similar pattern, growing dramatically over time. The poverty gap for the additional family types studied is between 30 and 40 per cent.

  • Ontario’s soaring poverty gap ‘starkest’ for single adults as welfare rates stagnate

    … it doesn’t make sense to make large increases to welfare rates without fixing the system’s hundreds of complicated rules that work to trap recipients in poverty. “It could work… as long as it… can look at the interaction with social housing, the minimum wage and other supports low-income people rely on.” Also in the mix are provincial plans… to pilot a Basic Income, a form of guaranteed annual income, and a housing benefit outside social assistance that promise to offer opportunities to help all low-income people, including those on welfare.

  • Guaranteed income the answer

    … administration of Ontario Works and ODSP… costs are just the tip of the iceberg to administer a system that keeps people in abject poverty, is punitive and provides little incentive for people to improve their economic circumstances… a GAI system similar to the federal Old Age Security… would reduce administration costs drastically, would restore dignity to low-income individuals and families and would provide more incentive to improve economic circumstances.

  • Fumbling at the top

    Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek, was warned directly that there were “significant” problems with the system before it was launched back in November, 2014. Nonetheless, the government went ahead anyway – a move that eventually cost $52 million in fixes on top of the system’s $240 million price tag… This is the kind of thing that voters remember.