• 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

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 It is based on outdated thinking and outmoded ideas about what the programs are supposed to achieve.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

  • Minimum wage of $14 per hour bad for public health

    Poverty is one of the best predictors of health. People making minimum wage earn less than $20,000 for a 40-hour week, and hover near the poverty line. They will live up to five fewer years than people who have higher wages, they will use more health and social services and their children will do less well at school and be at increased risk of illness themselves… Poverty and low wages decrease your life expectancy and increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes, accidents, and mental health and addiction problems

  • Ford driving a race to the bottom for Ontario’s lowest-paid workers

    … the perverse thinking behind the economic philosophy that has dominated North American politics in recent decades: that workers must offer themselves up at the lowest possible wage with the fewest possible benefits in order to create an attractive investment climate for businesses that might otherwise move elsewhere… most low-wage countries remain that way, while the high-wage nations of Europe and Scandinavia continue to excel in global competitiveness.

  • Ontario is open for business, but on the back of vulnerable workers

    … the Tories are cancelling a $1 increase in the minimum hourly wage scheduled for Jan. 1, 2019, eliminating two paid sick days for workers, and dropping the requirement that employers pay part-time and casual staff at the same rate as full-time workers doing the same job. The government is also repealing measures that would have given employees the right to request a change to their schedule or work location, and to be paid for three hours of work if a scheduled shift is cancelled without 48 hours’ notice. Workers will also lose the right to refuse to work on days they weren’t scheduled to.

  • 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.”

  • Ontario government to freeze Liberals’ minimum wage hike and roll back labour-friendly rules

    Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government announced officially on Tuesday that it plans to repeal chunks of the previous government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act amid pushback from business owners who argued many of the changes were too costly, forcing them to raise prices and cut staff… The government will also cut the section that forces employers to pay part-time and casual staff at the same rate as full-time workers doing the same work, but said it will maintain the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex.

  • 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