faith to end poverty campaign

Posted on August 26, 2011 in Inclusion Debates

Source: — Authors: – Faith communities in action against poverty
August 17, 2011.    Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC)
On June 9, 2011, ISARC launched the Faith to End Poverty Campaign to ensure poverty issues such as food, housing, and employment remain relevant throughout the provincial election. It is time for governments to make the elimination of poverty a priority through jobs and training strategies, financing for affordable housing, child care and income security, especially when more and more of our labour force is part time, temporary, and contract jobs.
Asks of the Provincial Government

Social Assistance
  • Ontario should increase incomes for adults on social assistance by $100 a month as a down payment on meeting basic food needs.
  • Ontario’s Social Assistance Review should focus on fixing Ontario’s income security programs to help people recover from poverty and stay out of poverty.


  • The government needs to poverty proof the minimum wage. That means that if you work full-time, full- year at the provincial minimum wage you will earn enough to rise above the poverty line. In 2011, that would take a minimum wage of $11 an hour – which would need to be indexed it to inflation in future years. However, the Government recently announced that it would not raise the minimum wage in 2011 – not even to keep up with the rising cost of living.
  • Strengthen labour standards and enforcement by hiring more employment standards officers and adopting a more proactive approach to ensure that employers are following the rules of the Employment Standards Act.
  • The Government needs an employment and pay equity strategy to close the gap in employment, earnings and life chances for recent immigrants, for people of colour, women, and people with disabilities and aboriginal people.


  • Ontario’s needs a multi-year investment plan to build and maintain affordable housing.
  • Ontario also needs a Housing Benefit to close the gap between the cost of housing and what is affordable for households with low incomes.

Strong & Supportive Communities

  • Many parents need wrap-around care (i.e. before the start of the school day and after the end of the school day) as well as care during school holidays.
  • Ontario must ensure that high quality, early learning and child care for children younger than four is adequately funded so that it is not destabilized by the transition of four- and five-year olds to full-day junior and senior kindergarten.

What can you do?

ISARC needs your help to make this happen. Please consider having your local faith community participate in the full range of ISARC projects and advocacy initiatives.

Election Sign Blitz Campaign

ISARC is requesting the support of local faith communities to participate in a sign blitz campaign by displaying a “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario” election sign on the lawns of their respective places of worship.  At present, we have over faith communities in over 20 municipalities participating in the campaign.  Signs are being printed in Toronto and will be ready for delivery next week.  Please contact us [provide email address] if you require additional signs for your community or more details on how to print them locally.  This initiative is a partnership with the Social Planning Network of Ontario.

Sign Blitz – Media Event

On September 15, 2011, all the faith communities participating in the sign blitz across Ontario will be holding local media conferences to advocate for poverty issues to be taken seriously by the politicians running for provincial offices.

All Party Debate on Poverty

ISARC is calling on the four major political parties to participate in a debate on poverty issues.Contact your local representatives and ask them to take part in a debate in your community and urge the party leaders to do so, as well.


A informational pamphlet has been developed in partnership with Social Planning Network of Ontario on poverty-related issues to ensure income support systems help people to get out of poverty and find sustainable, meaningful employment.  Hard copies of the pamphlet are available for distribution.  Please contact us if your community requires pamphlets.

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