• 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.

  • ‘Reserve army’ of precariously employed keeps lid on wages

    The best explanation for very soft inflation in Canada is probably continued slack in the job market. The Bank of Canada does note… the continuing very low participation rate for young people, suggesting we are still short of a tight job market… wage pressures and inflation might remain persistently low even with a low unemployment rate due to the seemingly inexorable rise of precarious work.

  • Ontario must make bail reform meaningful

    If you own a house, have a job, and have family or friends who can pledge a sizable sum of money and act as supervisors, you are likely to soon be on your way home… immigrants, the mentally ill, racialized groups, and the poor stand the least chance of being released on bail. Despite remaining wholly innocent under the law, they lose their freedom for months or years as the criminal process plays out.

  • Ontario should move quickly on welfare benefits

    For a group so fond of proclaiming its commitment to social justice, the Wynne government has done remarkably little to help some of the very poorest people in Ontario… The report given to Jaczek last week recommends increasing that basic amount by 24 per cent over the next three years, to $893 by the year 2020. This is the minimum the government should do. It would still leave tens of thousands of people living in state-sanctioned poverty…

  • Respite centres are welcome, but just stop-gap measure for homeless

    Ottawa provides no funding for the city’s emergency shelter system, and the province’s contribution is fixed, no matter the increase in those in need of a bed. And neither senior government is kicking in enough money to repair the subsidized housing that currently exists, never mind building more… the cost of having 5,253 people on Toronto streets added up to $420,000 a night… putting the homeless into social housing would be just $34,000 a night.

  • Ontario takes an important step toward a fairer bail system

    The key point in the new policy is that accused persons should not have to provide a surety, except in exceptional circumstances, in order to be released… Ontario has opened “bail beds” in halfway houses. People can be sent there, instead of to jail, if they are homeless… Jails were created for those convicted of crimes. The new bail policy will go a long way to ensure that Ontario’s prisons stop being used as expensive warehouses for the disadvantaged, the racialized, Indigenous peoples, and the mentally ill.

  • Welfare in Canada, 2016

    Welfare incomes for the four illustrative households typically range between 20 and 40 percent of after-tax average incomes… When compared to after-tax median incomes, the adequacy picture comes out slightly better… Regardless of which measure is used, the figures tell a powerful story about the adequacy of welfare incomes of Canadians.

  • Bernie Sanders lauds Canadian health-care system in Toronto speech

    “if you want to expand and protect health care or education, there are people out there in every country in the world who think it is more important to give tax breaks to the richest people … what we need to do is take those oligarchs on.” … What went mostly unsaid during Mr. Sanders’s speech is that while Canada’s health-care system can look great compared with that of the United States, it can still fare poorly next to comparable countries.