Our provincial government has the authority and capacity to act in these areas. Yet, as the provincial election date on October 6 approaches, there is no sign that tackling poverty will be on the agenda for discussion. “The facts, the figures, and true stories are there to confirm that poverty is dangerously manifesting, it’s time that all sectors and community members unite to show that poverty eradication must be a solemn pledge from all candidates running in this next election and every election thereafter”, says campaign member Michelle Gratton.
The local Poverty Free Ontario “reverse-campaigning” will include FREE activities such as displaying “I’m voting for a Poverty Free Ontario” lawn signs and window signs sponsored by and available through Seaway News’ September 8th 2011 edition, t-shirts and buttons available to interested participants, and many other activities ongoing until Election Day.
For more information, to volunteer, or to request a Poverty Free Ontario lawn sign, please contact the Social Development Council of Cornwall and area at 613.930.0211 or visit the Provincial campaign website at http://www.povertyfreeontario.ca.
POVERTY FREE ONTARIO BACKGROUNDER
PFO is an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) with a mission to eliminate divided communities in which large numbers of adults and children live in chronic states of material hardship, poor health and social exclusion. The SPNO visited Cornwall last May during their cross-community consultations, unveiling a policy agenda to eradicate poverty that ensures all Ontarians both in and out of the workforce have livable incomes.
The policy agenda illustrates:
- How to end deep poverty, by upgrading social assistance including increasing benefit levels of Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program will enable people not in the labour market for whatever short- or long-term reasons to live with health and dignity at least at the poverty line
- How to end working poverty, by paying a basic minimum wage for all Ontarians in the workforce ($12.50/hr. phased in by 2014 with three annual 75 cent increments) would assure that everyone working full-year, full-time would live above the poverty line
- How to protect food money, by introducing a full housing benefit (rent subsidies so that the costs of housing do not exceed 30% of gross household income) as a complement to adequate social assistance payments or basic minimum wage earnings so that housing costs do not force low income occupants to use money budgeted for food and other basic necessities to keep a roof over their heads.
- Poverty eradication means pursuing the lowest possible levels of poverty in the industrialized world, both in incidence and in depth.