Date Added: March 5, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, News, Policy, Research — Tags: Daily Bread Food Bank, Olivier De Schutter, Toronto food banks, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food — Sarah @ 9:55 am
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter delivered his report on Canada to the UN Council on Human Rights in Geneva on March 4. This report is commissioned by the United Nations to report on the right to food, and recommends measures that need to be taken at national and international levels that enable greater access to food.
The report makes a clear connection between the cost of housing and being able to access food, and acknowledges that “the cost of housing is a key reason people suffer from hunger and are compelled to food bank use”. The report also makes reference to Daily Bread’s Who’s Hungry report on page 11.
Key recommendations included revising social assistance levels to “correspond to the costs of basic necessities”, and “revise the system of housing benefits to ensure that the poorest families are not obliged to sacrifice food in order to pay for the non-compressible and non-divisible costs of housing” (p.20). The report also reiterated the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, “including the need for a comprehensive and coordinated national housing policy.” (p.12).
Daily Bread understands the connection between the cost of adequate housing and hunger, which is why we are pushing for the implementation of a housing benefit.
Click here to learn more and endorse a housing benefit!
Date Added: February 25, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, eNews, Policy, Research — Tags: Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto food banks, United Way of Greater Toronto — Sarah @ 4:28 pm
Today the United Way of Greater Toronto released “It’s More than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Well-being”. The report revealed that only 60 per cent of all workers in our region have stable, secure jobs. Those who are precariously employed span a range of income and social categories. Those who are living on low income and precariously employed are more likely to run out of money to buy food.
Click here to download the full report.
Date Added: January 16, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Government, News, Policy, Research, Social Assistance — Anita @ 12:08 pm
On December 13 the Ontario government released its fourth annual progress report on its Poverty Reduction Strategy. The report measures the progress made toward reducing child poverty in Ontario by 25 percent in 5 years.
The 2012 report shows that while progress was made for child poverty based solely on income-based measures, for 2009 and 2010 there was actually a slight increase in child poverty over the same period according to the Ontario Deprivation Index. That means that more children were in families that were experiencing a decrease in standard of living – not being able to afford things like fresh fruits and vegetables, or having to make difficult choices such as paying the rent or putting food on the table.
This may be because the costs of basic items, such as food and fuel, are increasing beyond the rate of inflation and income levels simply can’t keep up. An income-based measure would not take in to account that living costs are going up and that a dollar in 2012 buys less than it would have even a few years ago.
A combination of measures is being used to try and get a more accurate pulse of how many people are affected by poverty. These include the Low Income Measure which defines low income based on half of the median household income and the Ontario Deprivation Index. The Ontario Deprivation Index takes a closer look at the standard of living people in poverty experience, rather than how much income they earn. The Ontario Deprivation Index is a list of 10 items that the majority of Ontarians consider basic necessities and that most can afford. It was developed by Daily Bread Food Bank and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, in partnership with Statistics Canada and the Ontario government. Households are deprived or considered poor if they do not have and cannot afford two or more items on the 10 item list.
This report shows the importance of having measures such as the Deprivation Index that work with a low income measure of poverty to give a more accurate picture about the standard of living people may be experiencing. The increase in child poverty according to the Deprivation Index shows that the Province has to continue to make this issue a priority in the upcoming Provincial budget and throughout the year.
Date Added: October 24, 2012 | Filed under: Blog, News, Policy, Research, Social Assistance — Anita @ 10:00 am
On Wednesday, the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario released its final report called Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario. Chaired by former United Way CEO Frances Lankin and former Statistics Canada head Munir Sheik, the Commission made 104 recommendations intended to improve the system. The Commission’s work is the most significant review of the social assistance system in more than two decades.
Daily Bread’s executive director Gail Nyberg chaired the 11 member committee that was set up in December 2009 to make recommendations on the structure and mandate of the review. As such, Daily Bread has been following the Commission’s work very closely.
We applaud the Commission for recognizing the growing consensus in the community regarding urgent issues for reform. These include: reorienting social assistance from a focus on surveillance to offering real supports; improving the availability and quality of employment services; fairer treatment of child support; and concrete steps that lead to increases in incomes, such as rate increases, a new housing benefit and changes in assets limits. The vision of a new system in which no one is left behind, especially people with disabilities, is one in which we share.
Daily Bread will continue to play a leading role in providing analysis and fact based policy research to support the report’s recommendations. We’ll work closely with Ontarians who are committed to rolling up their sleeves and to working with the province to develop and implement a plan for action; and none more important than low income people themselves. We look forward to seeing them integrally involved in the reform process.
We need to transform the income security system, not despite Ontario’s fiscal situation, but because of it. The province needs a plan for income security as part of its agenda for social and economic prosperity. Ontario also needs to articulate its interests and perspective to the federal government as well as other provinces and territories.
Let’s get to work!
To view the full report, go to the Commission’s website.
Date Added: March 28, 2012 | Filed under: Blog, Government, News, Policy, Social Assistance — Tags: budget 2012, Daily Bread, Daily Bread Food Bank, finance, McGuinty government, Ontario budget, Ontario government, poverty, social assistance — Jessica @ 3:20 pm
We are pleased the McGuinty government continues to increase the Ontario Child Benefit rates, but are cautious since they have delayed on the original implementation time lines promised. We hope one year, that is now stretched to two, does not continue to stretch further into the future as Ontario families stretch deeper into poverty.
We realize difficult decisions have to be made in order to create a balanced budget and create a base for a stable financial future. However, part of creating a stable financial future does not mean creating a deeper hole for those already struggling to make ends meet and provide food for their families. Investing in a poverty reduction strategy means investing in the future employment opportunities, health, and financial stability of Ontarians. If hunger is a direct result of poverty, then so are the health care implications, and the increase in health care costs that come with it for the province. No action on the social assistance system will likely create more health care spending as food prices, cost-of-living inflation and rents continue to increase this year and beyond and people compromise their health while trying to maintain a roof over their heads. No action will also limit the ability of being able to transform to a system that will help more people into jobs and to become financially independent.
What we are looking forward to seeing are the recommendations for improving the income security system from the Social Assistance Review. We expect the Ontario government to take those recommendations seriously and present short- and long-term plans and commitments to implementing those recommendations that will make a serious impact on eradicating poverty and helping those who are struggling in the system. A commitment to a vision for transformative change is more important now than ever. What we don’t want to see is yet another review wasted without positive action being taken. We want change, and we will fight for it.