TORONTO – Measures announced today in the 2013 Ontario budget are important steps to help move Ontario forward in transforming social assistance, Daily Bread Food Bank said today.
“People cannot reach their full potential on an empty stomach. Key initiatives in this budget will help more people afford to pay the rent AND put food on the table, whether they are families with children or single people who are making the move from social assistance to employment,” said Gail Nyberg, Executive Director of Daily Bread Food Bank.
Important changes in today’s budget included implementing some of the recommendations in the “Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario” report that was the result of a comprehensive review of social assistance in Ontario. In addition to looking for longer-term transformation of the system, Daily Bread also supported recommendations by the Commission that would immediately provide more income for people living in poverty. These steps included rate increases, increases in asset limits, and allowing people receiving social assistance to keep more income earned from employment.
Changes announced in the budget related to the Commission’s recommendations include:
- A $200 monthly earnings exemption for people who receive support from Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program
- Improved benefit levels of single people without children receiving Ontario Works with a total increase of $20 per month, an increase of over 3 per cent
- Increased cash and other liquid asset limits for people receiving Ontario Works, including $2,500 for single adults and $5,000 for couples
- Simplifying social assistance, by harmonizing rules between Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program in regards to:
- amount and type of assets allowed
- allowing financial gifts of up to $6,000 per year
- treating earnings from self-employment equally in both programs
In addition the Province will continue its plan from the 2012 budget to raise the Ontario Child Benefit to $1,210 per child annually by July 2013, followed by an increase to $1,310 in July 2014.
“The changes in the budget make good strides that address not only the punitive rules within social assistance that keep people in poverty, but through the increase of the Ontario Child Benefit also continues the transformation of the system,” said Michael Oliphant, Director of Public Affairs at Daily Bread. “Moving forward, we’ll work closely with Ontarians who are committed to working with the province to continue this work.”
“We encourage all parties to support the budget and the positive changes that will help low-income Ontarians facing poverty and hunger,” Nyberg said.
About Daily Bread Food Bank
A leader in the fight against hunger, Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit, charitable organization that serves people through neighbourhood food banks and meal programs in 170 community agencies across Toronto. Last year, Daily Bread provided food for almost 800,000 client visits to food banks and prepared and distributed over 170,000 nutritious meals through its kitchen programs. More than just a food bank, Daily Bread also works to support people struggling with hunger by providing job training; researching and educating people on issues around poverty and moving forward with innovative and realistic solutions that will help people break away from poverty. Find out more about Daily Bread Food Bank at www.dailybread.ca.
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