The 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network of groups and individuals working province wide to eliminate poverty in Ontario.
We are urging the province to invest in fairness by making poverty reduction a priority in the 2013 provincial budget.
The 2009 Poverty Reduction Act marked a turning point in Ontario. The Act passed unanimously through the legislature and all parties agreed to work together to continuously reduce poverty in Ontario. The first 5-year poverty reduction strategy “Breaking the Cycle” focused on children setting a goal of reducing child poverty by 25% before December 2013. That strategy recognized the “heightened risk” of living in poverty “among groups such as immigrants, women, single mothers, people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples and racialized groups.”
The Poverty Reduction Strategy has received broad support because there is a growing recognition that investing in people today is good for all of us in the long-term. It leads to a healthier population and safer communities that reduce healthcare and social services costs down the road. It leads to a resilient, productive workforce where all hands are on deck to move Ontario forward. And it means that we create a fair society that we are all proud of, where everybody belongs and has an opportunity to contribute.
Since 2009, serious action to eradicate poverty has led to results. The 25 in 5 Network’s recent annual progress report on Ontario’s five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy showed that between 2008 and 2010 Ontario made a number of important investments that helped reduce child poverty by more than 6%, lifting 29,000 children and their families out of poverty. However, we also know that the most recent scaling back of investments, such as the slowed implementation of the Ontario Child Benefit, threaten to undermine progress and drive more Ontarians further into poverty.
On this, the last budget before the conclusion of Ontario’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy, we call on the government to work with the Opposition to deliver on the promise to reduce child and family poverty by 25% by 2013.
The 2013 provincial budget should continue to create the conditions to ensure sustaining employment, livable incomes, and strong and supportive communities for us all.
The Budget also presents an opportunity to make a downpayment on a much-anticipated process for reforming social assistance in Ontario. This will be an important starting point for the hard work ahead.
The 2013 Ontario budget should support low-income Ontarians to earn more and keep more – and it should restore the income of Ontarians living in poverty.