Food banks hope Liberal election plan for poverty reduction ignites broader discussion



    Food banks look to make poverty and hunger a priority in upcoming
    election

    TORONTO, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
welcomes the Ontario Liberal Party's commitment to the creation of a
comprehensive poverty reduction plan. This commitment was made this morning in
the release of the Ontario Liberal election platform alongside other proposals
on housing, social innovation, job growth, asset-building, supplementary
benefits, and child care that are in line with recommendations of the OAFB.
However, the OAFB believes that these plans must include a broader commitment
to all low-income Ontarians, a timeline for their completion, and a promise to
commit necessary financial resources towards its implementation.
    "We are pleased that Dalton McGuinty has committed to the creation of a
comprehensive poverty reduction plan," said Adam Spence, Executive Director of
the OAFB. "However, we must see further investment and action for all
low-income Ontarians including children and adults, those on social assistance
and those with employment income."
    The need to reduce hunger and poverty in Ontario is clear. Over 330,000
Ontarians are served by food banks every month. This figure has increased by
almost 20 per cent in the past five years. Ontario is also well behind its
counterparts in responding to poverty. Other provinces and nations including
Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ireland and the United Kingdom have
successfully developed and implemented poverty reduction plans.
    "We need a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for all low-income
Ontarians," said Sandy Singers, Chair of the OAFB and Executive Director of
the Partners in Mission Food Bank in Kingston. "This strategy should be
developed in consultation with stakeholders, and include significant up-front
investments, aggressive targets for poverty reduction, enhanced supports for
low-income workers, and improvements to the adequacy of social assistance."
    The OAFB looks forward to the platform details of the other major
political parties in Ontario as they relate to hunger and poverty, calling on
all parties to commit to the development of a comprehensive poverty reduction
strategy.
    "We need to have an inclusive and informed discussion about hunger and
poverty in the election campaign," added Spence. "We hope that all the major
parties participate in that discussion."
    On Thursday, September 13th, the OAFB will be launching an engagement
campaign to ensure that hunger and poverty are a priority during the election,
and to continue the discussion towards the development and implementation of a
poverty reduction strategy. This campaign will include election awareness
activities and the release of a discussion paper outlining our framework for
reducing hunger and poverty in Ontario.

    The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 100
food banks including communities across the province from Ottawa to Windsor,
and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay. Over 330,000 Ontarians are served by food
banks every month, and 40 per cent of those served are children. For more
information about the OAFB, and hunger and poverty in Ontario, please visit
www.oafb.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Adam Spence, Executive Director, Ontario
Association of Food Banks (OAFB), w: (416) 656-4100, c: (416) 543-0897; Sandy
Singers, Chair, Ontario Association of Food Bank (OAFB), w. (613) 544-4534, c:
(613) 539-0389

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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