Excerpts from the press release:
TORONTO – Ontario Campaign 2000’s 2012 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario “Strengthening Families for Ontario’s Future” offers practical policy solutions that can reduce child and family poverty in the province and address growing income inequality.
“The poverty reduction commitments made in 2008 reduced child poverty levels by 6.6% by 2010,” according to Anita Khanna of Ontario Campaign 2000. “However, the recent downward trend in Ontario’s child and family poverty rates has been jeopardized by 2012’s austerity budget. Action in the 2013 Budget to increase the Ontario Child Benefit, raise minimum wage and enhance social assistance and child care can get this strategy back on track,” said Khanna.
Ontario’s social assistance rates are so low that many families are faced with impossible choices. “Children of families in receipt of social assistance are going hungry in staggering numbers,” said Tom Cooper, Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. “In Hamilton alone, there are enough children utilizing food banks every single month to fill 370 classrooms; the provincial government can and must do better.”
“Too many families are struggling to make ends meet in precarious, low-wage jobs. Increasing the minimum wage and enhancing enforcement of employment standards will lead to progress on the government’s poverty reduction goals,“ said Sheila Block, Director Economic Analysis at the Wellesley Institute.
“Strong leadership to implement effective policies, like the Ontario Child Benefit, can help low income families provide children with healthy food, heat through the winter and other essentials that no child in Ontario should be without,” added Khanna. The Ontario Campaign 2000 report card also highlights the need for high quality, universally accessible child care, the need to expand affordable housing and homelessness supports and to address the crisis facing youth, who face a 16.9% unemployment rate, more than double the overall rate.