• New federal law creates official definition of poverty line

    The six-page bill sets targets of reducing poverty to 20 per cent below 2015 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent below 2015 levels by 2030. The target is based on a measure that lists 4.2 million Canadians as low income in 2015. Until now, discussions of poverty reduction have focused on three different ways of measuring poverty. Tuesday’s bill selects one of those – the market-basket measure – as Canada’s official poverty line… A third element of the legislation creates a national advisory council on poverty.

  • New report Welfare in Canada, 2017 looks at latest welfare rates and how they compare to poverty measures

    the latest update of a yearly series showing the total income households on social assistance would have received (i.e., their income from social assistance alongside tax credits and child benefits). The report looks at how welfare incomes varied across every province and territory for four example households in 2017… the report describes the components of welfare incomes, how they have changed from previous years, and how they compared to low income thresholds. The amounts vary in every province and territory

  • Job programs for 450,000 Ontarians on social assistance show mixed results

    … the Ontario government needs to better tailor its job programs by emphasizing assignment to programs whose effects suit its goals… if the government’s strategy was to get people off social assistance, it could increase assignment to either job-search workshops or training programs, while if the aim is to reduce the probability of people returning to social assistance, they could focus on direct job placements.

  • What Ontario can learn from the UK on reforming social assistance

    Over the past decade, the UK embarked on a series of welfare reforms with similar aims — to cut red tape while getting more long-term welfare recipients into sustained work. This paper summarizes the assessments of independent reviewers and auditors on the impact of those reforms and their value for money. It aims to identify lessons for Ontario as it pursues the same goals.

  • Open Letter to Minister MacLeod: Five Principles for the 100-day Review

    We agree that Ontario’s social assistance system doesn’t work, and that ensuring stability and providing support are what’s needed in a new system. Despite some small positive recent changes, the system is fundamentally the same as it was twenty years ago. It is based on outdated thinking and outmoded ideas about what the programs are supposed to achieve. Its continuing inadequacy of benefits and focus on punitive and coercive rules is counterproductive and simply traps people in poverty instead of providing the supports they need to stabilize and move forward in their lives.

  • Ottawa unlikely to rescue Ontario’s basic income pilot project

    Ontario’s basic income pilot project — seen as a key test of potential remedies to reduce poverty — appears destined to end prematurely as the federal government suggests it’s not going to rescue a program axed by the province… while… Ottawa is open to sharing data with provinces launching income initiatives, “ultimately the design of provincial social programs, such as a basic income, is up to provincial governments.”

  • Cancellation of Ontario’s basic income project sparks global outrage

    In Canada, all federally-funded social science research involving human subjects must adhere to strict ethical standards outlined in a 218-page policy document… The policy mandates respect for human dignity through three core principles of “respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice”… Provincial lawyers may have inserted “escape clauses” in contracts Ontario’s basic income participants signed, but they can’t override basic ethics

  • Social murder and the Doug Ford government

    In 1845, Friedrich Engels described the phenomena by which working-class residents in Manchester died prematurely because of their living and working conditions. He did not simply label the occurrence as we usually do today: “Premature deaths due to unfortunate circumstances,” but rather coined the term “social murder” to make explicit the source of these premature deaths. This extensive quote from his Condition of the Working Class in England begs careful attention in relation to the austerity agenda of Premier Doug Ford.

  • Ending the scourge of poverty

    The basic income pilot gained the attention of the international community and Canada because its aim was to eliminate poverty — the scourge of humanity for centuries. This hope was dashed, not because the project failed but because it was terminated before it finished. McLeod did not have hard facts to justify the cancellation; it was done on ideological grounds… the government simply dismissed further discussion by saying the project would “take away the incentive to work” and it did not fit with their vision of the future.

  • Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy: Opportunity For All

    The strategy builds on investments made by the Government since 2015 that support children, seniors, lower-wage workers and other vulnerable Canadians, which include: The Canada Child Benefit… The Canada Workers Benefit… Canada’s first National Housing Strategy… The increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement by up to $947 per year… for close to 900,000 low-income seniors; and, Restoration of the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 67 to 65.