Food banks welcome commitment to poverty reduction, call on government for comprehensive plan and funding commitment



    OAFB recommends government begin full poverty reduction plan
    implementation by spring 2009

    TORONTO, Nov. 29 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
welcomes the provincial government's commitment to poverty reduction in
today's Throne Speech. However, the organization calls on the provincial
government to quickly follow through with the necessary changes and new
investments required to reduce hunger and poverty for all low-income
Ontarians.
    "Given the alarming number of Ontarians who are forced to turn to food
banks every month, we welcome the provincial government's official commitment
to poverty reduction," said Sandy Singers, Chair of the OAFB and Executive
Director of the Partners in Mission Food Bank in Kingston. "But the provincial
government must ensure their strategy is truly comprehensive in order to
achieve real results."
    In today's Throne Speech, the provincial government made the following
commitments which are in line with recommendations made by the OAFB:

    
    -   a poverty reduction plan developed by a new anti-poverty committee of
        Cabinet;
    -   the establishment of poverty reduction measures and targets by the
        end of 2008; and
    -   a dental care plan for low-income working Ontarians.
    

    Although these commitments are welcomed, the OAFB calls on the provincial
government to ensure that the comprehensive poverty reduction plan is
developed for all those who struggle with hunger and poverty in Ontario,
including, but not limited to: Ontario's children, Ontarians living with
disabilities, working Ontarians, new Canadians, and Ontarians on social
assistance. The OAFB also calls on the provincial government to include food
banks, community organizations, and low-income Ontarians in the development of
the plan and to commit to a timeline for new investments.
    "We believe that the province should commit significant up-front and
ongoing funding for the poverty reduction plan in its 2008 budget with full
implementation beginning by spring 2009," said Adam Spence, Executive Director
of the OAFB.
    The OAFB will release its recommendations for poverty reduction measures
and targets, as well as the necessary policies and investments for the poverty
reduction plan by summer 2008. In addition, the OAFB has also made a
commitment to help reduce hunger and poverty in Ontario by finding partners,
driving the discussion, and fostering local action through local poverty
reduction projects.

    The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over
100 food banks working to end hunger across the province from Ottawa to
Windsor, and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay. 320,000 Ontarians are forced to
turn to food banks every month. For more information about the OAFB, as well
as hunger and poverty in Ontario, please visit www.endhunger.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Sandy Singers, Chair, OAFB, w: (613) 544-4534,
c: (613) 539-0389; Adam Spence, Executive Director, OAFB, w: (416) 656-4100,
c: (416) 543.0897

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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