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… Destitution Day

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Jun 06 2012
The D is for destitution, and it is the date a single person on welfare would run out of money if he or she were living at the poverty line, according to Social Planning Toronto… Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off, after taxes, for a single person living in a large city like Toronto is about $19,800. “We have dubbed June 7 Destitution Day to highlight the severity of poverty in Toronto and the inadequacy of government benefits in light of the upcoming provincial social assistance review”… “What is striking is that even in the most affluent wards of the city there are still substantial numbers of people living in poverty,” he said. “In every ward there is a good-sized small town living in poverty.”

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Ontario’s Youth Leaving Care hearings call for fundamental change to child welfare system

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

May 14 2012
The goal is to make Ontario a better parent to roughly 8,300 children and youth in its care and make their transition to adulthood more secure. The report being released Monday at Queen’s Park, says the government should act immediately to raise the age of financial and emotional support from 21 to 25; allow youth to stay in foster care beyond age 18; and declare a “Youth in Care Day” to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

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Welfare rate freeze really a cut, activists say

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Mar 27 2012
“What was the point of all of those meetings and consultations on a poverty reduction strategy anyway?” she said Tuesday, referring to the province’s 2008 plan to cut child poverty by 25 per cent in five years… With the latest Consumer Price Index pegged at 2.9 per cent over last year, the freeze is, in fact, a cut, anti-poverty activists say… (especially given) the budget’s plan next January to eliminate two benefits that help people on welfare with urgent housing-related expenses once every 24 months… In addition, the budget is also capping health-related discretionary benefits for adults on Ontario Works, which pays for things like funerals, glasses and emergency dental care.

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Ottawa axes National Council on Welfare

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Mar 30 2012
The council’s annual report on welfare incomes in Canada is the only comprehensive analysis of social assistance across the country and how it interacts with federal benefits… The council has also produced authoritative reports on child care, child benefits and low incomes in Canada. Its latest report, “The Dollars and Sense of Solving Poverty,” released in August, showed that it would cost $12.6 billion to give some 3.5 million poor Canadians enough money to live above the poverty line. However, the economic and social consequences of poverty cost Canadians twice as much, the report found… “Without the information, no one will be able to report on how many people this Conservative government is leaving behind,”

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Ontario food bank use… on the rise again

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Mar 19 2012
Among the reasons for the current increase are recent plant closures in southern Ontario and native people leaving troubled reserves in the north… While the national unemployment rate in 2011 was the lowest since 2008, food bank use persists because many laid-off workers are taking lower-paying jobs and having trouble making ends meet… Ten per cent of food bank users in 2011 had never sought emergency assistance before… Single adults remain the largest percentage of users, at 39 per cent, followed closely by children younger than 18. They are among almost one in 33 Ontarians who go hungry each month

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Sweet spot for low-wage earners: after-tax salaries of $30,000 or more a year

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Feb 10 2012
… low-wage workers experience the biggest jump in financial well-being, personal skills and connections to family and community when their after-tax incomes rise to between $30,000 and $40,000. “This is when a single wage earner moves from merely existing to living,” says Peter Frampton, executive director of the Learning Enrichment Foundation, which is conducting the research in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)… “We think this shows in very real terms what a person needs to earn to feel a sense of financial and personal well-being,”

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Small fixes to Ontario’s welfare system not enough, says progress report

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Feb. 2, 2012
Small fixes will not be enough to bring about the transformational change Ontario’s social assistance needs, says a progress report by the province’s social assistance review commission. More employment support for those on welfare, including those with disabilities; streamlined delivery and new benefits available to all low-income people outside the welfare system are some of the ideas the commission is exploring… the update discusses different approaches and highlights areas for more discussion.

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Closing the gap between EI and welfare

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Jan 01 2012
Last year, more than 700,000 unemployed Canadians were either not covered by EI or ineligible… Under Mendelson’s proposal, income-tested forgivable loans would be available in bi-weekly payments of almost $700 for six months. The loans would be repaid based on total earnings for the year the money was received — they would be completely forgivable for those with incomes below about $10,000 and fully repayable for those earning about $71,000… All adults looking for work would be eligible for the full loan of almost $9,000 every five years and it would could cost the federal government about $1 billion annually.

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Minimum wage hike key to cutting poverty

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Dec 17 2011
“The government says the best route out of poverty is a job… But people working full time earning minimum wage are still having trouble paying the bills… And enforcement is key to ensuring workers get what they are owed. “Any initiative the government takes to alleviate poverty for low wage workers has to be backed up by enforcement”… The report urged Ontario’s labour ministry to proactively target employers in high-violation industries such as hospitality, cleaning, retail and construction, which attract newcomers, young workers, visible minorities and other vulnerable workers.

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Price of moving from welfare to work? $400

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Dec 14 2011
… his college dreams of training to become a firefighter were dashed when Seneca insisted he make a $400 tuition down payment by Friday or forfeit his place in class. St Clair’s monthly welfare cheque is just $565 and he had already spent more than $300 of that on December rent for the subsidized apartment he shares with his mother… The welfare office wouldn’t help because tuition is covered by OSAP. But his OSAP loan won’t be available until he starts classes on Jan. 9… “I really want to get off welfare, but I don’t think I can do that unless I go back to school,” he said.

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