• One-handed applause for youth pharmacare plan

    … once a popular pharmacare scheme is in place, it will be politically difficult for any government to kill it. Fiscally, the Liberal drug plan has the advantage of being cheap — largely because younger people tend to be in good health. Officials say it will cost roughly $465 million a year, a relatively small amount for a government that spends more than $140 billion annually.

  • Drug plan shows Ontario Liberals still have a few tricks left

    The so-called “OHIP+” plan will make prescriptions free for children and young people – anyone who’s 24 or younger – beginning next Jan. 1… It’s a push towards universal pharmacare, the most glaring gap in Canada’s medicare system… a national plan would be cheaper and more efficient than province-by-province solutions. But if Ottawa won’t take the lead, it’s good to see Ontario stepping up.

  • Wynne government promises much-needed investment in child care

    This funding promises to help 24,000 kids access daycare, addressing an urgent funding shortfall. Right now some 15,400 kids are on the waitlist for subsidized care, while at the same time more than 4,000 spaces sit vacant because parents can’t afford fees that run as high as $20,000 a year… Funding subsidized spaces… will help some women back into the work force, improving the family’s bottom line while boosting the economy and the tax base.

  • … Top 23 takeaways from the Ontario budget

    Ontario will become the first province to offer pharmacare to all young people, regardless of income, who are 24 and under. Some 4,400 prescription drugs will be covered… the abortion pill will provide an alternative to women seeing to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks… The province will spend $20 million to increase respite care for dementia patients and increase the number of seniors’ centres… From elementary schools to jails to seniors centres, the province is improving mental health services in many of its service areas…

  • Ontario’s ‘basic income’ pilot helps defuse political anger that stems from economic exclusion

    Canada’s existing welfare programs are far too limited. In Ontario, for example, a single adult receives payouts equal to about 45 percent of the poverty line, or approximately $9,000. Existing programs also include dehumanizing micro-eligibility requirements that dilute self-respect, discourage work, and frustrate hardworking caseworkers. They trap people in poverty rather than providing them with a bridge to the economic mainstream.

  • A Stronger Safety Net

    … filing a tax return would automatically trigger a “no-­strings-attached” cash grant for anyone whose income falls below the poverty line. Less of the money earned above the $1,320 would be clawed back, providing a greater incentive for claimants to work, says Segal. The proposed program is far easier to administer, less paternalistic and allows people to spend their money as they choose…

  • Why free money is a hard sell in tough times

    The go-go growth of four decades ago was not an ideal incubator for an idealistic income support program. Critics might have said, back then (if not now): Get a job… Today it’s possible to get a job, but harder to keep a job, because jobs for life turned out to be short-lived… Pick your poison: globalization, automation, artificial intelligence or information technology… Against that backdrop, the guaranteed minimum payout has been rebranded a basic income.

  • Urgent action needed to halt shut-down of social-housing units

    TCHC recently announced that it will be closing about 400 units next year because it doesn’t have enough money to repair them. That’s on top of 600 units already slated to be shut down this year…. the TCHC has a decade-long, $2.6-billion repair plan. But… TCHC says it can only access about $82 million [next year]. So once again the city is looking to the province and to Ottawa to do their part.

  • Kathleen Wynne’s basic income plan is bread without circuses

    … it is not clear that it will do much more for the poor. The maximum basic income subsidies — $16,989 for singles and $24,027 for couples — represent just 38 per cent of median income in Ontario adjusted for family size… there is a sense of inevitability to all of this — a feeling that the world of work has changed to such an extent that nothing can be done to keep wages at a viable level and that the only way to avoid social chaos is to subsidize them.

  • Ontario launches basic income pilot for 4,000 in Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Lindsay

    … single adults between the ages of 18 and 64 will receive up to $16,989 annually and couples will receive up to $24,027. People with disabilities will receive an additional $6,000. Single people would have to earn less than about $34,000 to qualify and the income cut-off for couples would be about $48,000… Those on social assistance will be able to keep their drug cards and other benefits. But Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan payments will be deducted from the basic income dollar for dollar.