A New Era In The Fight Against Poverty

    Proposed Legislation Commits Ontario To Long-Term Action

    TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ -


    For the first-time ever, Ontario has introduced poverty reduction
legislation that, if passed, would ensure that successive governments remain
focused on the fight against poverty.
    As part of Breaking the Cycle: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, the
proposed Poverty Reduction Act would:

    -   Require successive governments to report annually on key indicators
        of opportunity - these will typically include income levels, school
        success, health care and housing.
    -   Mandate future governments to consult widely before developing future
        strategies, including consultation with those living in poverty.
    -   Require Ontario to develop a new strategy at least every five years.
    -   Require future governments to set a specific poverty reduction target
        every five years.

    Also, as of March 1, 2009, Ontario will begin to implement the social
assistance rule changes included in the poverty reduction strategy which will
help recipients pursue educational and employment opportunities.


    "We are determined to take bold steps in our fight against poverty
because we know that it will help us emerge through this uncertain economic
time with a stronger, a more just, and a more prosperous Ontario," said
Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews. "This legislation is all
about making sure that we remain focused on the task at hand so that we meet
our goal of breaking the cycle of poverty."
    "With the implementation of these rule changes to social assistance, our
government is breaking down some of the barriers so that more Ontarians can
develop their skills as well as pursue rewarding employment opportunities,"
said Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services.


    -   The McGuinty government's $1.4 billion poverty reduction strategy
        sets a hard target of reducing the number of children living in
        poverty by 25 per cent over 5 years - that's 90,000 kids.
    -   Meeting the 25 in 5 target will require provincial investments,
        federal investments and a growing economy.
    -   The poverty reduction strategy calls on the federal government to
        double the amount of the Working Income Tax Benefit to $2,000 a year
        per family. The 2009 Federal Budget showed progress in this direction
        by increasing the maximum benefit to $1,680.
    -   The full implementation of the poverty reduction strategy will mean
        that even without any new federal investments, a single parent with
        two children under age 13 working full time at minimum wage will have
        a 54 per cent higher total income than it was in 2003.


    -   Read Ontario's Poverty Reduction

    -   Learn more about the social assistance rule

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Laura Dougan, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3394; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416)

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