Poverty plan needs real backbone, Ontarians say



    TORONTO, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - If Ontario is going to seriously tackle poverty
it must invest in a comprehensive multi-year plan, not just a set of quick
fixes. That's the message that government MPPs heard in more than 50 community
consultations on poverty reduction over the summer, according to a new report
by the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction.
    In an open letter to Dalton McGuinty, the 25 in 5 Network is urging the
Premier and his caucus to make poverty reduction a priority in the fall
session and deliver a substantive anti-poverty plan by the end of the year.
The open letter also calls on the Premier to put pressure at the federal level
to ensure that the next federal government invests in provincial poverty
reduction strategies.
    "Ontarians have spoken loud and clear: minor tweaks to programs won't cut
it when it comes to serious change against poverty. It's time for a bold,
multi-year plan that invests significant dollars to cut poverty by 25% in 5
years and by 50% in the next decade," said Mehroon Kassam, a member of the
Social Planning Network of Ontario, a partner in the 25 in 5 Network for
Poverty Reduction.
    "Our economy has been growing for over 10 years, yet Ontario's poverty
rate remains stubbornly high at 10%. If there's a downturn coming, it's more
important than ever for governments to invest in poverty reduction now when it
can make a real difference for people facing difficult times ahead," said
Jacquie Maund, of Ontario Campaign 2000, a 25 in 5 member organization.
    Partners in the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction have participated
in 50 meetings across the province between May and August to provide community
input to Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy.
    "Thousands of people have come out to community meetings to let our
politicians know what's needed to end poverty in our province. We've been
listening, and we expect government to act on the recommendations, especially
those made by low-income people," said Michael Creek, of Voices from the
Street and 25 in 5.
    Partners tracked all the consultations in a consolidated report,
available at www.povertywatchontario.ca. Recommendations from across the
province include:

    
    -   Develop a strategy that seeks to end poverty for all people, not just
        children and families;
    -   Set targets of 25% reduction in poverty over 5 years, and indicators
        to track progress;
    -   Include a Good Jobs Strategy with increased minimum wage, access to
        unionization, health benefits for all, and stronger labour laws that
        protect contract and temporary workers;
    -   Target measures to address the increased poverty faced by Aboriginal
        people, racialized communities, newcomers, single mothers, and people
        with disabilities;
    -   Reform social assistance so people who can't work full time have
        adequate incomes to meet the cost of living, and the supports they
        need;
    -   Invest in community supports such as affordable housing, early
        learning and child care spaces, education and training, and public
        transit.
    

    The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction will continue to monitor the
government's commitment on poverty reduction. A series of public events are
scheduled around October 17 (the International Day for the Eradication of
Poverty) to continue to build momentum for a strong Ontario Poverty Reduction
Strategy.

    The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a province-wide Ontario
coalition of over 100 organizations and individuals calling for a 25 per cent
reduction in poverty in Ontario in five years. For more information see:
www.25in5.ca





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Jennefer Laidley, Income
Security Advocacy Centre, (416) 597-5820 x5150, Cell (416) 523-5228; Peter
Clutterbuck, Social Planning Network of Ontario, (416) 653-7947, Cell (416)
738-3228; Porte parole francophone: JoAnne Frenschkowski, Le Centre d'action
pour la sécurité du revenue, (416) 597-5820 x5153

Organization Profile

25 IN 5 NETWORK

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