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Changes to social assistance could harm, not help, people living in poverty

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The government is hoping to integrate employment and training services provided to social assistance recipients with Employment Ontario. Currently, municipalities are responsible for delivering these services for social assistance recipients, but the proposed reforms would transfer responsibility to Service System Managers across 15 regions in the province. These organizations can be municipalities or non-profit or for-profit entities, and they will be selected through a competitive process… similar reforms in Australia and the UK have been riddled with problems.

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System transformation in Ontario Works: Considerations for Ontario

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

… until better outcomes are precisely defined, funding mechanisms developed to facilitate a more integrated system, and policy goals and purposes outlined that put people at the centre of reform, a strong case has not yet been made for the government’s proposed reforms.

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Putting economic and social rights at the heart of policy-making

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Too many people are currently being left behind as changing social, economic, and political tides wash past them… we must help people and communities weather these changes by strengthening how we think about, and develop, public policy. We can do this by prioritizing the human rights and dignities of all Canadians. Not only civil and political rights, but economic and social rights, too.

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Welfare in Canada update now available

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

In 2018, total welfare incomes did not keep pace with the cost of living in 33 of the 52 scenarios tracked in this report (four household types across the 13 provinces and territories). In these cases, households receiving welfare were worse off in 2018 than they were in 2017… Even where welfare incomes were highest, they fell short of the poverty threshold.

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Putting economic and social rights at the heart of policy-making

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

Too many people are currently being left behind as changing social, economic, and political tides wash past them… To stymie the rise in polarized and populist rhetoric, we must… strengthen… how we think about, and develop, public policy. We can do this by prioritizing the human rights and dignities of all Canadians. Not only civil and political rights, but economic and social rights, too.

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Lessons from Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Michael Mendelson looks at Ontario’s experience to offer lessons on how to – and how not to – set up future Basic Income trials. The report focuses in particular on three aspects of the pilot in which the experimental design fell short: lack of a “saturation” site, problems of enrollment, and use of the income tax system to test recipients’ income… The author also suggests a five-step process for governments considering another Basic Income experiment…

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The tax cuts you might vote for, but might not notice

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Would someone earning over $60,000 notice that they got another $420 a year by 2023 through the Conservative Party’s Universal Tax Cut? … if someone handed you $420 in 2023, you’d notice. But that’s not how this tax cut is going to be delivered. It’ll be incremental… Surely there must be a better way to spend over $5.5 billion a year. Couldn’t this money be better spent on healthcare, housing, infrastructure, and/or paying down the deficit?

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Why cutting taxes on EI benefits for new parents may not be good policy

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

To the Liberals’ credit, their EI maternity/parental benefit proposal… a 15% boost to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)… a refundable tax credit… to families with children under one, families across the lower end of the income distribution would benefit regardless of tax liability or EI eligibility.

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Cancelling the Transition Child Benefit in Ontario is bad policy

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

… the TCB has provided support for children who are among the most vulnerable in our society at a time when their families are most in need… it goes to about ten per cent of children receiving social assistance, at less than one per cent of total social assistance program costs… elimination of the TCB will undeniably have downstream impacts not only on social assistance, but on other services, like housing, education, and health care.

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How to make community housing work better for Ontarians

Friday, June 28th, 2019

The proposed regulations to simplify the RGI rent amounts aim to reduce barriers to work and decrease administrative complexity. However, as currently outlined they would create a two-tier system that would make it harder for social assistance recipients to enter employment. To avoid this, our submission on the RGI calculation recommends the government consider disregarding social assistance payments from income for the purposes of calculating RGI rent amounts.

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