Poverty reduction legislation positive; budget action must follow: 25 in 5 Network

    TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Making poverty reduction the law in Ontario is
an important step towards achieving a poverty free Ontario, says the 25 in 5
Network for Poverty Reduction. But government must take concrete next steps
that extend poverty reduction targets to all Ontarians over the next decade,
and to make investments now to meet its initial target.
    "Legislation is critical to ensuring that poverty reduction becomes
central to the Ontario government's agenda. That's why we need to get it right
from the beginning," said Greg deGroot-Maggetti of the Mennonite Central
Committee. "We need a process to make sure the legislation that gets enacted
is as strong as possible to ensure ongoing progress toward a poverty free
Ontario, backed by broad public support and all-party endorsement."
    The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is calling for a commitment
from the Ontario government to hold public hearings on this Bill to make sure
the legislation benefits from the experience and knowledge of Ontarians. The
Network aims to see poverty cut by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years, as
steps toward a poverty free Ontario.
    "The Poverty Reduction Act is very significant because it acknowledges
that poverty is not inevitable and that government can and should create
policy to reduce poverty," said Sarah Blackstock of the Income Security
Advocacy Centre. "But there is no time to waste. Concrete investments in the
March budget are crucial to both stimulate the economy and reduce child and
family poverty by 25% in the next 5 years."
    The Network is also calling for poverty reduction investments in the 2009
provincial budget to fully demonstrate the government's commitment to meeting
its first target. The Network's Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty
Reduction lays out concrete investments that government should make now to
serve the dual purpose of economic stimulus and poverty reduction.
    "The provincial budget could not come at a more critical time. Dire
economic times hit everyone hard, but those struggling to make ends meet and
those who are newly unemployed are even harder hit, as work becomes scarcer
and prices for basic life necessities rise," said Pat Capponi, Facilitator of
Voices From the Street. "Now is the time for Ontario to step up and invest in
infrastructure and programs aimed at those living in poverty."
    The Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction is available on
the 25 in 5 website at http://www.25in5.ca/Blueprint.html.

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Blackstock at (416) 523-5228

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