Daily Bread Food Bank believes that research is critical to creating social change to reduce poverty. Because research is only meaningful if it is acted on and used, Daily Bread works to ensure that our findings are accessible and widely available to those who want to learn about the root causes of hunger and poverty in the GTA. Our research and publications are key tools in our work with government outreach and public education. Our publications represent work done by Daily Bread over the years to educate and engage the public and to push the government toward innovative and realistic policy solutions for hunger.
Filing Income Taxes and Accessing Food Banks: Are Ontarians with low-income getting the benefits they are entitled to?
As the government of Ontario commits to review its social assistance programs, there is an increasing push to look at an income security system that pays more benefits outside of social assistance. Such a system would help improve circumstances for all low income families, and help prevent people from falling into the poverty trap. This system would, at least in part, be delivered through the income tax system.Presently, there are already new provincial tax credits which could provide people with payments even when there is no taxable income. This includes people who are receiving social assistance. These credits are not only available to households with children, but also to single person households.The likelihood of people getting money that they are entitled to is dependent on them filing their tax returns. Using results from the 2006 Who’s Hungry Survey of people accessing food banks, we explore the extent to which people experiencing poverty file their income taxes. We also see who might be missing out on possible benefits, both now and in the future.
The Housing Benefit is a bold idea that would address a number of issues including: modernizing our income security system; improving housing affordability; reducing homelessness; improving accessibility to good food and nutrition for the poor; and, like the Ontario Child Benefit, reducing financial barriers in the transition from social assistance to employment. It would pay an average of about $119/month for low-income families, and about $96/month for singles. Low- income tenants who are working and those receiving social assistance would both be eligible. There would be no clawbacks for social assistance recipients.
The Housing Benefit Working Group is a unique coalition that includes both private sector and front-line agencies that work with low-income communities on the ground, including: Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario; Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association; Greater Toronto Apartment Association; Daily Bread Food Bank; Metcalf Charitable Foundation; and Atkinson Charitable Foundation.
The full report and supporting materials can be downloaded below:
Social Assistance Review Advisory Council Report
The Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC) was appointed by the Government of Ontario and had a two-fold mandate:
The council was chaired by Daily Bread Executive Director Gail Nyberg, and included Research Director Michael Oliphant. The full report was released in June 2010 and has recommendations for conducting a review of Ontario’s income security system, focusing on six “strategies for reform”. The short-term changes were originally submitted in February 2010. Four of the thirteen recommendations were announced by Minister Meilluer alongside the provincial budget in March 2010.
Both reports can be downloaded below.
People’s Blueprint: Real Voices for Real Change
The People’s Blueprint is a unique and empowered group of men and women with lived experience of poverty and all it brings with it; isolation, depression, constant anxiety and pressure, they have known it all. As a group they learned leadership and peer research skills and conducted over 100 video recorded research interviews that demonstrate the hopes, challenges, and abilities of people living on social assistance in an intensely personal way. Problems with the social assistance system as identified by people experiencing it, as well as areas in which reform should take place are presented. The goal of this project is to change social assistance in Ontario for the better.
The People’s Blueprint panel was composed of 18 members from across Ontario who provided input into Ontario’s Social Assistance Review, working with Voices from the Street and Daily Bread Food Bank to record, analyze and summarize the policy barriers which currently impede them.
Visit peoplesblueprint.ca for discussion and more information.
The People’s Review Panel: Getting the Ontario Social Assistance Review issues straight… from people with lived experiences of poverty is a great summary on the work that has been done, written by Anne Makhoul (Caledon Institute of Social Policy) and Richard Matern (Research Coordinator at Daily Bread Food Bank).
Developing a Poverty Measure from the Ground Up
Beginning in fall 2007, Daily Bread Food Bank and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy teamed up to develop a “deprivation index.” A deprivation index is a list of items considered necessary to have an above poverty-level standard of living but which poor people are unlikely to have. Through a series of surveys and focus groups, we pared down an initial list of 29 items to 10 items for the index. Through the sponsorship of the Ontario Government, Statistics Canada conducted a survey of about 12,000 Ontario households to arrive at a baseline measure. The Ontario Deprivation Index was officially announced on December 2, 2009. It found that 12.5% of Ontario children are being raised in a poverty-level standard of living. This section contains relevant research reports and information on Canada’s first deprivation index.
Developing a Deprivation Index: The Research Process
This paper tells the story of the development of the Ontario Deprivation Index by the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. A ‘deprivation index’ is a list of items which are widely seen as necessary for a household to have a standard of living above the poverty level.
Testing the Validity of the Ontario Deprivation Index
This paper is a preliminary test of the validity of the Ontario Deprivation Index using the results of a Statistics Canada survey of 10,000 Ontario households. We look at the performance of the index against 6 variables: income, education, employment status, immigration, family type and housing tenure. A similar method for testing the validity of the new Irish deprivation index was also used, although in this paper we are presenting only the most basic tests. Based on this early analysis, the Ontario Deprivation Index fully meets the tests of validity in relation to these variables.
Ontario Deprivation Index Backgrounder
This short backgrounder contains a broad overview of the Ontario Deprivation Index. The link takes you to the Ontario Government’s web site.
Ontario Deprivation Index Data Tables
Download a series of data tables for the Ontario Deprivation Index provided courtesy of Statistics Canada. The tables look at incidence of deprivation by immigrant status, region, income quintile, LICO and LIM-50.
Public Policy Publications
Ending hunger in our communities requires a strong commitment from governments at all levels to reduce poverty. Daily Bread develops innovative public policy proposals by building on our research fact base, and forming relationships with key stakeholders and policy experts. We believe that policy must be achievable, and therefore we work with an informed scan of the political environment. Most importantly, we incorporate the voice of people directly experiencing poverty in the policy development process. Daily Bread has a strong public policy track record that includes: