Apr 24, 2015
2015 Ontario Budget Fails People Living In Poverty
Toronto–Despite the Ontario government’s commitment towards its renewed Poverty Reduction Strategy, the 2015 Ontario Budget contains little that benefits people living in poverty.
“It’s encouraging that the government is not cutting back on prior investments in affordable housing, but we need much more to help the 1.7 million Ontarians living in poverty and the thousands of Ontarians without adequate housing” said Dr. Samantha Green, a family physician who works in Toronto’s downtown.
“I am happy to see the Government continue to explore the concept of Community Hubs, shared spaces for social services, education, and health services. And I welcome the expanded Youth Action Plan for helping at-risk youth attain employment,” said Andrea Perry, an Occupational Therapist. “I also commend the Government’s plan to index the Ontario Child Benefit to inflation and would like to see all social assistance indexed to inflation in this way.”
But the Budget does not include any target, timelines, or funding for the second Poverty Reduction Strategy. There are no new investments towards ending homelessness, one of the Government’s key Poverty Reduction pillars.
The 2015 Budget also includes a hidden cut—an increase of just 1% in social assistance rates beginning in the fall of 2015, well below the rate of inflation. “We know that poverty makes people sick, and current social assistance rates will only lead to further illness,” said Dr. Gary Bloch.