• 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.

  • 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 It is based on outdated thinking and outmoded ideas about what the programs are supposed to achieve.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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • What’s good and what can be improved in the national poverty strategy

    … there is still a lot that can be improved in the new strategy. First, there is no new money for any existing or new policies included… Clearly more money around issues such as housing is desperately needed… we also need strategies for important sections of the population, including Indigenous peoples, that are made together with them as partners… We have to keep updating the LIM so we can compare ourselves to other countries…

  • Canada’s poverty strategy stitched together existing policies and called it a new plan

    The strategy basically pulls together all the government’s previously announced programs to reduce poverty. There are no new policies and no new funding commitments to improve or speed up current programs… There is a new $12 million investment over five years but that’s earmarked for gaps in poverty measurements.

  • What good is a poverty reduction strategy?

    … a poverty reduction strategy certainly is budgets, programs and monies spent… But whether you are poor, rich or middle-class, this is not good enough. A poverty reduction strategy must also be a set of priorities that reflect our concerns; priorities that are paired with measurable targets allowing Canadians to plot a path to somewhere better… It is a way of holding our governments to account, because it puts the focus on the connection between actions and results.

  • If Ontario won’t see sense, Ottawa should save the basic income pilot

    It’s possible that this project, costing $50 million a year, will actually save money by reducing health-care costs, enabling people to improve their education and ultimately get decent jobs, so they won’t need ongoing government support. But the fledgling Ford government has cancelled the program before we can find out. Promise broken… The Ford government itself barely seems to know why it decided to kill the pilot. In fact, the reasons given for the broken promise grow more absurd with every sitting of the legislature.

  • Ford government vows basic-income pilot will receive ‘lengthy runway’ before cancellation

    “I have been very clear since last week that the basic-income research project will wind down and details will be forthcoming, but I have been clear that there will be a lengthy and compassionate runway,” Ms. MacLeod told reporters at Queen’s Park. She said she would “provide those details in the next week or two.”