Ontario's food banks seek significant downpayment for poverty reduction

    OAFB awaits commitments for Ontario's children, working Ontarians, and
    Ontarians with disabilities

    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)
seeks a commitment from the provincial government in today's budget to reduce
poverty for Ontario's children, working Ontarians, and Ontarians with
disabilities through renewed investment in social supports. Over 330,000
Ontarians are served by food banks every month, and of those, 40 per cent are
children, 17 per cent are working, and 20 per cent are persons with
    OAFB will be looking for announcements consistent with the organization's
proposals to government including:
    -  creating a new Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) for all low-income
    -  developing child poverty measures and reduction targets;
    -  hiring more Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) caseworkers;
    -  increasing the maximum Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP allowance;
    -  expanding access to and coverage for the Ontario Trillium Drug Program
       for low-income working Ontarians;
    -  implementing a low-wage strategy including a low-wage board, a new
       three year schedule of minimum wage increases, a focus on the
       development of quality jobs, and more employment standards officers;
    -  creating an individual development account (IDA) program to allow low-
       income Ontarians to save for education, home ownership, or business

    "We have been waiting for over a generation for significant reform. Need
has skyrocketed, and the faces of our volunteers and those we serve have grown
weary. We are hungry for change," said Joanne Santucci, Executive Director of
Hamilton Food Share and Vice-Chair of the OAFB. "We must recognize the impact
that hunger and poverty has on the lives of hundreds of thousands of our
neighbours, and our collective well being."
    "The provincial government has publicly acknowledged the need to make
poverty reduction a priority," added Adam Spence, Executive Director of the
OAFB. "They must now take action with a significant downpayment to reduce
poverty in our prosperous province."
    Adam Spence and Joanne Santucci will be participating in the budget
lock-up and will be available for comment immediately following the budget
announcement at 4 pm.

    The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 100
food banks including communities across the province from Ottawa to Windsor,
and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay. For more information about the OAFB, as well
as hunger and poverty in Ontario, please visit www.OAFB.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Adam Spence, Executive Director, Ontario
Association of Food Banks (OAFB), T: (416) 656-4100, C: (416) 543-0897, E:
adam@OAFB.ca - Joanne Santucci, Vice-Chair, Ontario Association of Food Banks
(OAFB), T: (905) 664-9065, C: (905) 902-5533

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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