Economic road bumps no excuse to slow down on poverty reduction

    TORONTO, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - A coalition of over 100 organizations across
Ontario are urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to follow through on his promise to
actively and comprehensively address poverty in this province.
    "The threat of an economic downturn makes leadership on poverty reduction
more important than ever," said 25 in 5 spokesperson Jacquie Maund, of Ontario
Campaign 2000. "And it's a signal that we can't afford to delay implementation
of a plan."
    Responding to Premier McGuinty's comments today in which he suggested
economic conditions may delay the implementation of a provincial Poverty
Reduction Strategy, the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction said investing
in poverty reduction now is smart economic policy, and decisive action is
especially necessary in an ailing economy.
    "We know public investments can provide a critical booster shot to
stimulate economic activity in hard times," said Maund. "That's why we're
calling for a significant down-payment on poverty reduction in the 2009
budget, with larger investments phased-in over the five year life of the
    25 in 5 says Ontario families are looking for political leadership on
poverty, as a report released by Poverty Watch Ontario last week clearly
    "As the Premier himself has said, we need all hands on deck. If we are
going to ride out this slowdown and remain competitive we need everyone at
their best - we must support Ontario families through job losses, reductions
in hours of work, and other financial stresses," said Janet Gasparini, Chair
of the Social Planning Network of Ontario. "We can pay now or we can pay later
with increased health care, criminal justice, and social services costs."
    The 25 in 5 Network advocates a bold, multi-year plan focused on three
areas of action: ensuring sustaining employment, so that people who work don't
live in poverty; reforming social assistance, so that people who can't work
get the support they need; and providing for strong community supports, to
give opportunity and inclusion to all.
    "The time to act is now, and we expect the Premier to introduce the
government's plan, including clear targets and timelines to deliver measurable
results, by December of this year," said Gasparini. "That's political
leadership, and we hope Premier McGuinty lives up to his promise."
    For more information see

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Jacquie Maund at (416) 595-9230
x 241; Janet Gasparini at (705) 675-3894 or cell (705) 929-0288

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