Letter to Minister Piruzza and Minister McMeekin: consultation on Poverty Reduction Strategy

Honorable Teresa Piruzza
Minister of Children and Youth Services
14th Floor, 56 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S3

Honorable Ted McMeekin
Minister of Community and Social Services
6th Floor, Hepburn Block 80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9

Dear Minister Piruzza and Minister McMeekin,

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is pleased to provide input into the consultation process for Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Ontario’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy, Breaking the Cycle, marked a bold and historic move in our province. It opened the door for action and showcased a commitment to begin making progress towards the elimination of poverty.
The 25in5 Network, in partnership with groups and individuals across Ontario, played an active role in the development of that strategy.

Since then we all have learned a number of valuable lessons about meeting our collective commitment to poverty reduction. First and foremost we’ve learned that setting clear targets allows us to measure our progress and keep poverty reduction on the public agenda.

We’ve also learned that public engagement matters. Ongoing and substantive public engagement is key both in building support for the provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy and spurring action in municipalities and across multiple sectors of society.

We’ve learned that there are no easy answers when it comes to poverty. Eliminating poverty in Ontario requires a multi-faceted, multi-year plan for policy action and investment.

We also know that good social policy can make a real difference in the lives of low-income Ontarians. And we’ve learned that when it comes to investments, we only get out as much as we put in – meeting the target requires both good policy and adequate investments.

Looking forward to Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy, 25 in 5 has set out Five Priorities that build on the lessons we have learned so far. Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy must:

  1. Set bold poverty reduction targets, for adults as well as children and for those living in the deepest poverty
  2. Lay out a comprehensive action agenda of strong policy measures
  3. Develop a plan to ensure sufficient public revenues to make the investments required to reduce poverty
  4. Create instruments to ensure a high standard of accountability on progress
  5. Identify and commit to strategic, dedicated investments in every budget

We are enclosing a copy of our complete Five Priorities document for your information.

Now is the time to take bolder steps in our collective quest for a fair and prosperous Ontario. The Five Priorities outlined above can make a real difference towards eradicating poverty in our province. We look forward to talking with you further about these priorities and to hearing from you about the priorities you have heard in the consultations across the province.

Sincerely,
Greg deGroot-Maggetti
People in Poverty Program Coordinator
Mennonite Central Committee Ontario

Jennefer Laidley
Research and Policy Analyst
Income Security Advocacy Centre

Encl.
Cc: Honorable Kathleen Wynne, Premier
Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP
Toby Barrett, MPP, PC Community and Social Services Critic
Jane McKenna, MPP, PC Children and Youth Services Critic
Cheri DiNovo, MPP, NDP Community and Social Services Critic
Monique Taylor, MPP, NDP Children and Youth Services Critic

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