Mar 2, 2023

2023 Government Budget Submissions Roundup

No one should go hungry or face barriers to accessing food. Yet, Toronto saw a record 2.07 million visits to food banks in the last 12 months (Feb 2022-Jan 2023) and that number continues to rise.

Too many people face severe food insecurity in our communities and only governments can solve this problem. As governments develop their 2023 budgets, it is critical to prioritize poverty reduction by expanding affordable housing supply, building key infrastructure, and helping to keep costs down, as well as delivering targeted supports to vulnerable populations during these uncertain times.

This is the moment to invest in our communities, by supporting them today and building for the future together. We urge governments to consider the following recommendations in their creation of the 2023 budgets:

For the Government of Canada

On Income Security

  • Update the Employment Insurance (EI) program to reflect modern realities of work.
  • Transform the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) into the Canada Working-Age Supplement. (CWAS) to support unattached single adults.
  • Expedite the implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit as a permanent program.
  • Ease tax filing for people living in poverty so they can receive the benefits they are eligible for.

On Housing Affordability

  • Tackle the financialization of landlords to protect affordable housing supply.
  • Develop a non-profit acquisition strategy to purchase at-risk rental buildings. 

On Public Transportation

  • Provide permanent public transit funding to the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto to facilitate investments that build prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable communities.

Read the full budget submission here.

For the Government of Ontario:

On Income Security

  • Increase Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates to the Market Basket Measure (MBM), Canada’s official poverty line + 10% to account for unexpected expenses. 
  • Increase Ontario Works (OW) rates to the Market Basket Measure (MBM), Canada’s official poverty line.   
  • Increase the minimum wage to a living wage based on the local cost of living.
  • Revive the Universal Basic Income pilot that was cancelled in 2018. 

On Cost of Living

  • Remove transfer/double fees for TTC riders accessing regional transit systems in the GTA. 
  • Create an automatic $100 digital access benefit for all social assistance recipients ($200 for multiple person households).
  • Ensure that drug and dental benefits be made available to all low-income households that do not have health coverage, and not just those on social assistance.

On Labour & Employment

  • Create a portable benefits program to better support worker mobility, health, and security. 

On Housing Affordability

  • Incentivize the construction of affordable housing in the private market.
  • Preserve existing social housing supply by increasing capital and operating funding allocations to municipalities to support the repair and refurbishment of existing social housing units. 
  • Protect tenants from evictions by expanding eviction prevention programs and rendering Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) monies permanently available to municipal rent banks, as well as emergency housing supports, like the City of Toronto’s Housing Stabilization Fund. 
  • Use income-based metrics, instead of average market rent metrics, to define affordable housing. 

Read the full budget submission here.

For the City of Toronto:

On the Poverty Reduction Strategy

  • Increasing investments in the Eviction Prevention in the Community (EPIC) Program.
  • Fully implementing Phase 3 of the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program.

On Public Transportation

  • Reversing Fare Increases and Service Cuts on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

On Supporting Non-Profits

  • Increase and Index Investments in the Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP) to Inflation.

Read the full budget submission here.

We welcome the opportunity to provide input and recommendations to our governments as part of the 2023 budget consultation processes with these written comments.

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