Media Advisory - Budget's Ontario Child Benefit gets thumbs up from Daily Bread Food Bank



    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank commends the
McGuinty government for the anti-poverty measures contained in the 2007
provincial budget. Daily Bread has been an advocate on behalf of low-income
families experiencing hunger, and has lobbied for the past two years for the
Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) announced today.
    "It's been a long time since poverty reduction measures were at the
forefront of a provincial budget in Ontario," says Gail Nyberg, executive
director of Daily Bread Food Bank. "We congratulate the government for having
the courage to take on this significant issue, and we expect to see a
reduction in food bank use in the coming years as a result."
    "The Ontario Child Benefit will reduce barriers faced by families with
children who are trying to leave welfare for work. At the same time, it will
help reduce child poverty and hunger."
    Last June, Daily Bread Food Bank released the Blueprint to Fight Hunger,
a five point plan to reduce the need for food banks by focusing on children,
the working poor, people with disabilities, immigrants and housing. The
Blueprint called for an Ontario Child Benefit of $92 per child per month to
help address the depth of hunger and poverty GTA children are facing. It also
called for the new benefit to rise over a period of 4 years such that the
total of federal and provincial child benefits surpasses $5,000 per year, an
amount most experts agree is the minimum needed to raise a child.
    Approximately 28,000 children each month live in families who use food
banks and will benefit from the OCB. Those families have an average annual
income of $14,910. Forty-six percent of families with children receive their
income from Ontario Works, and 18% from employment. Nearly two thirds of all
children using food banks are aged 7-18, the group that will benefit most from
the Ontario Child Benefit.
    The Ontario Child Benefit once fully implemented will pay $92 per month
per child for low income families with children. The benefit will be
implemented over a period of 5 years and be paid to families regardless of
whether their income comes from welfare or employment. A single parent with
one child on social assistance will see an increase on their bottom line of
$50 a month once the OCB is fully implemented. Other anti-poverty measures in
the budget, including a welfare rate increase of 2%, will also contribute to a
reduction of food bank use.
    "The Ontario Child Benefit is not only a new benefit that will help
low-income families in the short term. It also delivers structural reform to
our system of income security in Ontario that can be built on in the future,"
says Michael Oliphant, director of research and communications at Daily Bread
Food Bank. "We believe the OCB marks a significant turning point in Ontario
and hope it develops into a full anti-poverty, anti-hunger strategy that
combines adequate incomes with other social supports, namely child care and
housing."

    Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated
to fighting hunger. Last year, almost 900,000 people in the GTA relied on food
banks; 38% of those clients were children. Daily Bread and its member agencies
serve the majority of these people through neighbourhood food banks and meal
programs in over 160 member agencies. In an effort to eliminate the need for
food banks, Daily Bread educates the public, conducts research and advocates
realistic government policies.




For further information:

For further information: Gabrielle Chackal, Communications & Marketing
Officer, T: (416) 203-0050 ext. 238, E: gabrielle@dailybread.ca, C: (416)
819-2196


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