3 weeks until the December deadline, 3 imperatives on why we must act

  1. Quote of the week: everyone has a role to play, but government must lead on poverty reduction, says Niagara Bishop
  2. Why we must act now: the social, political and economic imperatives for poverty reduction
  3. 3 ways to make a difference between now and the December deadline

Quote of the week

“As a church, we bear daily witness to all those who suffer due to poverty.   In the short term, we realize that charity and compassion are essential when people are suffering and we will continue to respond to the needs of our neighbours.  However, only government can accomplish the structural change to law, programs and policies that are essential for a successful poverty reduction strategy.  Only government can re-allocate the resources of society more equitably through its regulatory and taxing powers and increase its funding of social programs.”

Who said it? Bishop Michael Bird of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara appealing to Minister Matthews to support the 25 in 5 Declaration.

See related press coverage or read Bishop Bird’s letter

Three imperatives on why we must act on poverty reduction: social, political, economic

One: A Social Imperative – Chronic Poverty is Corrosive to an Inclusive Ontario.

Ontario remains the child poverty centre of Canada with nearly 43% of all poor children in the country. Nearly 1,300,000 residents of Ontario continue to live in poverty.

More than 41% of Ontario children in poverty have one parent working full-year, full-time.

Living in poverty is becoming increasingly racialized in the GTA and other urban centres across Ontario.

The growing income gap is leading to neighbourhood concentrations of privilege and disadvantage in cities such as Toronto.

Related Links

Two:  A Political Imperative – Governments Across North America Recognize the Urgency of Poverty Reduction

The majority of Ontarians would be proud if their Premier took leadership to reduce the number of poor people in Ontario and the majority want Canada to distinguish itself as a nation by becoming a leader in poverty reduction. [CCPA – Ontarians Waiting For Leadership On Poverty Reduction]

Provincial poverty reduction strategies are being pursued in Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Ontario, and are being explored in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

15 American states have adopted broad anti-poverty initiatives, including Connecticut and Minnesota, which have set specific poverty reduction targets.

President-elect Obama has committed his administration to the “Half-in-Ten” goal for the US, taking the lead in North America on a national poverty reduction agenda.

In Canada, four of the five federal parties had strong commitments to poverty reduction in the recent election.

Related Links

  • U.S.: Half in Ten: From Poverty to Prosperity campaign
  • Official sites for Poverty Reduction Strategies in Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

Three: An Economic Imperative – Poverty Reduction is smart economics and fiscally responsible, especially in hard times

Strengthening the incomes of vulnerable families and adults and investing in infrastructure such as affordable housing and early learning and child care will reduce poverty, and stimulate demand in local economies across Ontario.

Reducing poverty Contributes to the Economic Health of Ontario: “Our poverty reduction strategy is not only the right thing to do,  it is critical for our future economic success.  Ontario needs all of its citizens to be strong if we want to compete in the global economy.  We cannot afford to let anyone fall behind.” —  Premier McGuinty, Letter to 25 in 5, Oct. 1, 2008.

We can pay now or we can pay later: we can invest in people now to ensure everyone is at their best or we can look forward to increased costs in health care, criminal justice, and social services.

Related Links

December Deadline is Approaching: Make a Difference Today

“I ask that you think of the hunger that we do not see.  There are thousands out there waiting for change; they hope that citizens like you will help to end the suffering that takes such a heavy toll on their lives. We must move away from the idea that people are poor because of a personal deficit, that poverty is their own fault.  This change can take place, but we need your help.”

– Mike Creek, Voices from the Street, speaking to the Board of Directors of Food Banks Canada

1. 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.   Dates are being scheduled for November and December in communities across Ontario.  We need partners to commit to sign up and speak up for poverty reduction before the Finance Minister.  Click here to see more details and to find out how you can get involved.

2. 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! Learn more here.

3. 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. Details on the time and location 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.

Just some of the new organizations to endorse this week:

  • Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke
  • FirstSteps to Freedom
  • Sudbury & Manitoulin Workforce Partnerships Board
  • Independence Centre and Network
  • Huron District Labour Council
  • Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, Justice & Peace Office
  • Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre
  • London Region Children’s Museum
  • Bay Credit Union Limited
  • The Lighthouse Community Centre
  • Kairos Toronto Centre
  • Child and Youth Network, London

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

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