2009 Report Card on Child Poverty in Ontario

TORONTO, Nov. 24 /CNW/ - Twenty years after the House of Commons resolved to end child poverty in Canada one in every nine children in Ontario still lives in poverty and the recession will deepen the problem, says the 2009 Ontario Report Card on Child Poverty by Ontario Campaign 2000.

Even before the recession became full-blown in Ontario, the province's poverty rate was 11.7 per cent. One-third of all low-income children lived in working poor families where at least one parent had the equivalent of full-time, full-year work - a problem that is about to get worse.

"Since then, Ontario has been plunged into a year-long recession with no clear end in sight, so we can be sure the rate of child and family poverty today is even higher than 11.7%," says Jacquie Maund, Coordinator of Ontario Campaign 2000. "Now, more than ever, Ontario children and their families need government supports to climb out of poverty."

From Promise to Reality - Recession Proofing Ontario Families, credits the Ontario government for bringing in a Poverty Reduction Strategy last December which commits to lift 90,000 children out of poverty between 2008 and 2013. But more needs to be done to prevent poverty from worsening due to the recession.

"The Government of Ontario was brave enough to signal its intent to combat poverty in the midst of a full-blown recession as bad as anything the province has seen since the Great Depression," says Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. "But intentions are not enough. Without strong and swift action, poverty in Ontario will grow deeper and slow down the province's economic recovery."

    The report calls on the Ontario government to take action in five core
areas to prevent and alleviate poverty:
    -   Begin to fix social assistance by raising adult rates by $100/month
        and increasing allowable asset limits;
    -   Introduce a new monthly Housing Benefit for low-income tenants;
    -   Invest in children by maintaining funding to child care spaces on the
        brink of closure;
    -   Increase the minimum wage to $11 by 2011 and index it to inflation;
    -   Raise the Ontario Child Benefit to a maximum of $125/month.

SOURCE Campaign 2000

For further information: For further information: Jacquie Maund, (416) 595-9230 x 241; Armine Yalnizyan, (416) 884-2776; To view the report see www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/index.html

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