Ontario Budget Falls Short of Expectations, Hargrove Says

    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - "The Dalton McGuinty government took some steps
today with its budget to help low-income Ontarians, but it hasn't gone nearly
far enough to narrow the growing income gap in this province," said CAW
president Buzz Hargrove.
    Today's budget provides a $2.25 per hour increase to the provincial
minimum wage for working Ontarians earning substandard wages. This help for
the working poor will not arrive immediately, as the minimum wage will be
phased in over the next three years until it reaches $10.25 in 2010. "I
applaud the minimum wage increase," said Hargrove. "This is a very important
step and sets the bar for other provinces and the federal government to boost
their minimum wages accordingly."
    Anti-poverty activists from across the province deserve much of the
credit for the minimum wage increase. "It is a testament to the hard work and
dedication of provincial activists who have worked tirelessly on this
important campaign," said Hargrove. "Clearly, fighting back makes a
    The investment in research and development of green car technology is
forward looking. We're at the threshold of a new generation of automotive
technologies - such as flex fuels, cylinder deactivation, fuel management,
bio-fuels, hybrids - and the resources in the budget will help support the
development and commercialization of many of these technologies. "The
resources flowing to Ontario universities and research centres will make a
contribution to Ontario's most important industry, unlike the recent federal
budget which penalized the industry," said Hargrove.
    The budget also includes a long-overdue provision to address the Federal
Child Benefit Supplement clawback. "It is definitely good news to hear that
low income families will no longer be penalized by this clawback. We pressed
this government and the previous government on this important issue - the
McGuinty government listened and has now dealt with this long standing
inequity," Hargrove said.
    The two per cent increase in welfare rates is minimal - it barely keeps
up with inflation and is a long way below what is needed, he said.
    "While these steps are partial solutions, the province still lacks a
comprehensive program to effectively combat poverty," said Hargrove.
    The budget identifies that more needs to be done in terms of affordable
housing, but the government hasn't done nearly enough. "Working Ontarians and
the poor in this province need more than rent subsidies, which go straight to
landlords. Instead, more affordable housing than this budget promises needs to
be built," Hargrove said.
    "More needs to be done to stem the flow of good manufacturing jobs from
the province. We need more job training and skills development programs for
workers and especially our young people," Hargrove said.

For further information:

For further information: CAW Communications Director, Jim Paré, (416)

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