Administrator

From Welfare to Work in Ontario: Still the Road Less Travelled

A few years ago, TD Bank Financial Group laid out a goal for Canadians: to raise the country’s standard of living above U.S. levels within 15 years. In 2002, the bank hosted the TD Forum on Canada’s Standard of Living, which brought together Canadians from all walks of life to develop practical suggestions for how to translate the standard of living challenge into reality. And, in support of that goal, TD Economics has produced a series of reports on the…

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A Roundtable on Poverty

When Start Me Up Niagara (SMUN) and the Niagara North Community Legal Clinic (NNCLC) decided to host a roundtable discussion on social assistance reform, they were hoping to get about 35 people to show up; instead they got almost twice that. The discussion was held to give those living on social assistance a chance to have their voices heard through a report being tabled with the Commission on the Review of Social Assistance. The Commission, which the provincial government announced…

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Submission to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario

The Income Security Advocacy Centre is pleased to make this submission to Ontario’s Commission for the Review of Social Assistance. Our submission sets out a vision for social assistance and an analysis of how the current programs support or undermine that vision. And while this submission references the Commission’s Discussion Paper, it does not follow the questions asked in the Commission’s Workbook. As we expect a robust consultation on program design options in the second consultation, we are instead focusing…

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An Activation Agenda for People with Disabilities on ODSP

The ODSP Action Coalition submitted its recommendations for changes to ODSP to Ontario’s Social Assistance Review on June 29, 2011. The Coalition’s submission, Dignity, Adequacy, Inclusion: Rethinking the Ontario Disability Support Program, argues for policy changes that recognize and assert the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities. On July 6, 2011, a delegation from the Coalition met with Commissioners Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh to present our vision of and specific recommendations for an income and employment supports program which truly…

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How the mayor could save $100 million

If Mayor Rob Ford really wants to “find efficiencies, not cut services,” he’ll welcome a proposal put forward by the City Service Review Group. It would save the city $100 million and make it a more humane place. If he is bent on slashing spending and getting rid of civic employees, he’ll dismiss it out of hand. The scheme was drafted by a coalition of mental health activists. It was costed by Sarah Shartal, a lawyer at Roach Schwartz and…

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Fiorito: Disabling effect of Ontario Disability Benefits

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has been transformed by the construction of many new buildings. I am interested in the architecture of another transformation. It has been 20 years since anyone took a look at social assistance rates in this province, to which end a provincial commission has been on tour. The commission held a community consultation at CAMH the other day. I bumped into a friend there. Her name is H. She’s on disability. She knows better…

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Increasing minimum wage among social justice committee’s ideas

CORNWALL — A coalition of local residents have renewed their call for government to address social justice issues in the Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. In its fifth year, the SD&G Coalition for Social Justice held elections for a new executive recently, and set out a mission statement to push the group forward. The coalition’s mission statement claims it ‘aims to enhance and advance the full spectrum of human rights for everyone in the community,’ including on issues like…

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The case for a new housing benefit

While Ontario continues to dig out from the severe recession of 2008, too many Ontarians are at risk of being left behind. In an uncertain recovery, the time has come to address the hard reality that many households are grappling with one of life’s basic of needs: the ability to keep a roof over their heads. One in five renters in Ontario spends more than half their income on housing. Among food bank clients, the share of rent is even…

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The Social Assistance Review: It Doesn’t End with Drummond

As one among many groups working to contribute to the Social Assistance Review process ongoing since early last year, we were dismayed to see the Drummond Commission weigh in so significantly on recommendations around social assistance. One of the most troubling of Drummond’s recommendations is to limit annual spending growth in Ontario Works and the ODSP to 0.5% for the next six years. If adopted by government, this low rate of growth will not only cause further despair for people…

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