On February 9th, Acting Director of Research Richard Matern spoke at the University of Toronto Model United Nations Conference, who included Daily Bread as part of their opening ceremony event to show the importance of making a difference in their community, and raise awareness on the realities of hunger in the GTA. Politician Gerard Kennedy (former Executive Director of Daily Bread Food Bank) was the keynote speaker addressing the 350 high school delegates.
We are thrilled to report that in addition to us having the chance to participate in this event, University of Toronto Model United Nations and their delegates donated $1534.86 to Daily Bread as their charity of choice.
Thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity and donation!
The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario has just released its Discussion Paper 2: Approaches to Reform. This is the second stage of the review process that followed the initial consultations in the summer. In this paper the Commissioners do not present any decisions, but options for change based on what they have heard. They now need further feedback from us on those options. The paper can be downloaded here.
From the Commissioners report:
“Based on our discussions and research, we have come to the view that we need to transform the social assistance system; small fixes will not be enough. Across the province, people asked us to be bold in thinking about how to reform the social assistance system. While many identified specific policies or rules that are not working under the current system, they also called for more fundamental change to the system as a whole.”
On page 29 of the report they specifically refer to the option of a Housing Benefit, with the consideration that “The recently released Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy made reference to a housing benefit, but there has not yet been much public discussion about how to design it. ”
The Commission also looks at options in the areas of:
- Effectiveness and access to employment services and supports, including for people with disabilities
- Balancing adequacy, fairness, and incentives to work in finding an appropriate benefit structure
- Complexity, compliance and risk management
- Integration and delivery of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support program
- How social assistance is affected by and interacts with other income supports programs such as Employment Insurance
- SOcial assistance in First Nations Communities
- The Commissioners are looking to receive feedback by Friday, March 16 2012.
- Tell them which options make sense to you.
Often forgotten by the government and society, the working poor struggle in Toronto to support their family and make a better life for themselves and their children. The paper entitled “The ‘Working Poor’ in the Toronto Region” released by the Metcalf Foundation show that the number of working poor in Toronto increased 42% from 2000 to 2005. The adoption and implementation of a Housing Benefit by the Ontario government would demonstrate the government’s firm commitment to the eradication of poverty and hunger among the working poor.
Almost one in four people coming to a food bank in Toronto has at least one person in their household working, often part time or casual work with no benefits. Work no longer means being able to put a roof over one’s head and food on the table.
“People who are working poor have few supports available to them to help make ends meet. The implementation of an Ontario Housing Benefit would be an excellent way to help the working poor pay their rent AND put food on the table” says Richard Matern, Acting Director of Research.
An Ontario Housing Benefit would be a monthly benefit for low income tenants, based on their rent and income. The benefit would pay a part of the gap between rent and 30% of income. Four provinces in Canada have already successfully implemented a similar program to help support those on low incomes. It would be paid to all people with low income having trouble affording their housing, which means this is a benefit that would help support the working poor. There is currently little housing support available for the working poor in Ontario, who are more likely to be living in private rental housing.
Support the call for an Ontario Housing Benefit. Find out more.
Learn more about Hunger and Poverty in the GTA.
Read the report from the Metcalf Foundation.
Interactive Map: Explore the data behind Toronto’s working poor