4 weeks until the December deadline, 4 ways you can make a difference

  1. Sign up and Speak Up for Poverty Reduction at Pre-Budget Consultations
  2. Talk to Your MPP about why Poverty Reduction is What Our Economy Needs
  3. Join the movement for poverty reduction in your community
  4. Add Your Voice to 25 in 5 by Endorsing the Declaration

Plus poverty reduction in the news and the quote of the week!

Sign up and Speak Up for Poverty Reduction at Pre-Budget Consultations

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has launched a round of cross-provincial consultations to inform the 2009 spring budget.

We want to remind Minister Duncan that Ontarians welcome the government’s leadership on poverty reduction – more than 75 public consultations over the summer and a new national poll show overwhelming support in Ontario for action on poverty reduction, especially in tough economic times.

Our message to the Finance Minister is simple:  Ontario needs a downpayment on poverty reduction in the 2009 budget.  That means new dollars for programs that will make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

And we cannot afford to wait.  An economic crisis is no excuse to abandon the fight against poverty.

In fact, the exact opposite is true. Action to reduce poverty is the stimulus we need to weather the economic storm. We must act now to boost consumer spending in local economies by raising the minimum wage and investing in income security programs. And we must also act now to stimulate jobs though investments in infrastructure like affordable housing, transportation and early learning and child care.

Get on the list and speak up for Poverty Reduction!

Minister Duncan will be in the following cities in the next few weeks:
Windsor – Nov 10
Ottawa – Nov 20
Toronto – Nov 21
Thunder Bay – Dec 1

This is your opportunity to speak your mind –  contact Mariya Genkova at mariya.genkova@ontario.ca or 416-325-0388 or call 1-866-989-9002 to get added to the speaker’s list.

The 25 in 5 Network will be pleased to send you a package with some helpful background materials to help you prepare for your appearance.  Contact Christopher Wulff at cwulff@socialplanningtoronto.org or 416-351-0095 x214 for more information.

And remember, this is just the first round.  Come December, we expect that the Parliamentary pre-budget committee will hold its own consultations.  We’ll be there too.

Talk to Your MPP About Why Poverty Reduction is What Our Economy Needs

As Ontario edges closer to the announcement of a Poverty Reduction Plan, it is more important than ever that our provincial elected officials hear from their constituents about widespread support for action.  Every voicemail, phone call, letter and email counts!

We have to talk to the people who make the decisions…

Contact the Premier (dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org); Finance Minister Dwight Duncan (dduncan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org), and your local Member of provincial Parliament.  Remind them that:

  1. You made a promise on poverty reduction that we expect you to keep – On Oct 22 Premier McGunity said: “I’m proud to lead the 1st government in Canada that is going to put forth a comprehensive and effective plan to address poverty in the province of Ontario.”
  2. The economic downturn means that NOW, more than ever, is the time to invest in a poverty reduction plan. Read what economists are saying about this.
  3. Ontario needs a downpayment on poverty reduction in the 2009 budget.  That means new dollars for programs that will make a tangible difference in people’s lives.  Check out 25 in 5’s Five Tests for Success of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Join the Movement for Poverty Reduction in Your Community

Anti-poverty networks in more than 20 communities will be meeting in November and December to get ready for the next stage of the Poverty Reduction campaign.  Now is the time to talk about our expectations of the government’s plan in December and to begin to organize our collective voice leading up to the 2009 spring budget in Ontario.

Events will take place in the following communities in the next six weeks:

Nov. 12 – Sudbury

Nov. 13 – North Bay

Nov. 14 – Parry Sound and Bracebridge

Nov. 19 – Cornwall

Nov. 20 – Hastings County and Belleville

Nov. 21 – Hamilton

Nov. 24 – Thunder Bay

Nov. 26 – Niagara

Nov. 27 – Kitchener-Waterloo and Oakville

Nov. 28 – Cambridge

Dec. 1 – Kingston

Dec. 2 – North Durham and South Durham

Dec. 4 – London [to be confirmed]

Dec. 5 – Windsor [to be confirmed]

Dec. 9 – Ottawa [to be confirmed]

Dec. 10 – Peterborough

Details on the time and location of the above events are being posted as they become available on the Poverty Watch Ontario calendar at www.povertywatchontario.ca. Come out to the event in your community and become part of the movement for poverty reduction in Ontario – also check out up-to-the minute updates on each event and local media coverage.

Add your voice to the 25 in 5 Declaration

By endorsing the 25 in 5 Declaration we can send a clear message to the Provincial Government that action on poverty reduction cannot be delayed:

Last week we got 165 new endorsements! Thanks for spreading the word!

Just some of the new organizations to endorse this week:

  • Jewish Immigrant Aid Services Toronto
  • Kensington Bellwoods Community Legal Services
  • ALIV(e)
  • YWCA Sudbury
  • Craigwood
  • Merrymount Children’s Centre
  • Volunteer Halton
  • Childreach
  • Street Connection
  • University of Toronto Campus Chaplains Association
  • Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
  • North Bay Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Add your voice. Visit www.25in5.ca and sign on for poverty reduction by endorsing the 25 in 5 Founding Declaration.

Quote of the week

“The assumption that the Liberals can’t afford to do much now lets McGuinty off the hook a little too easily. When he took office in 2003, Ontario’s deficit stood at $5.6 billion – 10 times the size of today’s shortfall – yet he increased health-care and education spending by $4.3 billion. He said he could not renege on his commitment to voters to shore up medicare and cut class sizes. Why is his election pledge to take the lead in reducing poverty less binding?”

Who said it? Toronto Star Columnist Carol Goar, writing about the 25 in 5 General Meeeting in Toronto on October 27th.
Read the article here.

Poverty in the Media

Miserly reward for those who wait
Toronto Star, October 31

Don’t let poverty fall off agenda
Guelph Mercury, October 29

Community comes together for poverty
NorthernLife.ca, October 31

Taking aim at poverty
Georgian, October 30

BC priorities: Is Campbell getting it right?
Rabble.ca, October 29

Province told to reduce child poverty by one-quarter in five years
Community Press, October 29

Welfare payouts hit target . . . for 1988
Toronto Star, November 1

Poverty Remains Priority says Cabinet Minister
Ancaster News, October 31

Time McGuinty Plugged the Wage Gap
Walkerton Herald Times, October 31

Working Together to Reduce and Prevent Poverty
Letter to the Editor from Mary Schryer, Minister for Social Development, New Brunswick
Times and Transcript (Moncton)

The Meltdown, Seen From Below: What union leaders, labour experts and anti-poverty activists say needs to be done.
The Tyee (British Columbia), November 3

About the Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Plan eBulletins

The 25 in 5 Network is steered by a coalition of Ontario organizations including Campaign 2000, the Income Security Advocacy Centre, the Social Planning Network of Ontario the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, The Colour of Poverty Project, the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice, Voices From the Street, among others.

This is a weekly bulletin from 25 in 5 to its contact list of supporters and interested parties across the province. The Countdown Bulletin is intended to keep you up to date on the development of a poverty reduction plan for Ontario and to let you know how you, your organizations and networks can help make it happen.

For more information visit www.25in5.ca

2 thoughts on “Countdown to a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) 4 weeks until the December deadline

  1. when they bought the draconian computer program from Anderson Consulting now Accenture. The cost of that program was $400,000.00 and rising.


    ?My apologies this should have been $400 million.


  2. Media Release

    Poverty’s Smoke and Mirrors, Part 2

    To see part 1 scroll down to the comment section of Poverty Reduction Highlighted in Question Period, Sept. 24 http://povertywatchontario.ca/page/4/

    The article above went out to the main media and approximately 65 other print news media starting September 21 2008. It was also put on the World Wide Web.

    To my knowledge it was only printed in 3 Ontario news papers in the Letters to the Editor section.
    1) Hamilton’s, Mountain News
    2) Hamilton’s, Stoney Creek News
    3) London’s, The London Free Press

    Thank you to these three papers for caring enough about people that live in poverty to print this article.

    As of today November 05 2008 the Ontario government has only posted old outdated directives dated Sept 2001.

    Obviously these directives are of no use to anyone simply because of the fact they are outdated and the ministry is now using the July 2008 up to date directives but has not shared them with the public.

    You may remember Welfare Legal was so offended by this abuse we offered $100.00 to anyone that could produce a copy of the latest Ontario Works directive 7.4.

    As of this date no one has collected the $100.00. Welfare Legal now has a copy of the new directives that the government has not shared.

    We take the position that this is the most serious kind of abuse by our government to implement new policies but not allow those most in need to have access to them. The only reason the government has given for this abuse is that the Ontario Government has not prepared a French version of these directives.

    This is a Human Rights violation, among others, to implement a secrete version of the directives and not share them with the public and not to have a French version available.

    As we have stated before the Ontario government has in fact been cutting the benefits of Ontario Works, (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program, (ODSP) recipients without letting the general public aware of these cuts.

    The latest cuts that have become public are the cuts to benefits to grandparents that are caring for their own grandchildren, who many had, have been apprehended by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The grand parent’s complaints were heard loud and clear the government seems to have withdrawn these policy changes.

    The new directive 7.4 and others shows more cuts that the public is not aware of yet.

    One of these cuts shows that the Ontario government no longer supports volunteering here in Ontario. In the old outdated directives dated September 2001, the government used to give a small benefit to those recipients that had to do volunteer work as a condition of eligibility for OW. These cuts also affect those who wish to do volunteer work and are disabled on ODSP as well.

    Are volunteers no longer needed here in Ontario?

    These cuts which are ongoing, have been made to help pay for the meager increases to OW and ODSP of 2%. They are also part of the government’s bigger plan, to upload the cost of OW and ODSP from the municipality to the province and to pay for its poverty reduction strategy.

    At the end of the day the government will save millions of dollars in benefits that the former Mike Harris Tories said people on OW and ODSP were entitled to. Does this make sense to anyone?

    This story gets much, much worse. It turns out that the aboriginal community in Ontario had the foresight not to allow its members to be subjected to the policies and procedures put in place by the Mike Harris government, when they bought the draconian computer program from Anderson Consulting now Accenture. The cost of that program was $400,000.00 and rising. This program was designed to cut people off of benefits automatically, with no human contact. There seems to be 2 classes of people being governed differently here, and what are the costs?

    It would seem they were allowed to have their own computer program made up by a private company called AD Morrison.

    A private professional researcher contacted Welfare Legal in an attempt to collect the $100.00 offered for the latest Ontario Works directive 7.4 and alerted us to a Pandora’s Box. You will see on the home page of AD Morrison’s site there is a link to “Latest Directives”. This link contained a third set of OW directives that was not available to the general public.

    After Welfare Legal contacted the ministry to see if this in fact was the latest and new directive 7.4, the ministry contacted us with a reply that had nothing to do with our request. Then out of the blue this link was taken of the site.

    After gathering all the evidence we soon learned that the Ontario government had not been keeping these new directive from the public since July 2008, they had in fact been hiding them starting in December 2005 and no one new about it. At least no one that has come forward so far.

    There has been no response from any legal clinic or private paralegal in Ontario showing that they new about this breach of the Human Rights Code by our provincial government. If anyone was aware of this why didn’t they take it to the media? Does nobody care about this abuse? Does nobody care about eliminating poverty?

    It is interesting to note that the government has even changed the directive numbers to confuse us even more once we were allowed to become aware of them.

    September 2001 shows directive 31.0, the out dated benefits that we all are aware of.

    December 2005 shows

    July 2008 shows

    For a copy of these directives

    How can the Ontario government say it is attempting to alleviate poverty when it is secretly cutting the benefits of those most in need? (Reverse Robin Hood)

    Ron Payne
    Welfare Legal
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Phone 905-253-0205
    E-mail welfarelegal2004@hotmail.com
    Blog http://welfarelegal.blogspot.com/

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