Ontario Building a Better Future for People Living in Poverty
Province Releases 2016 Poverty Reduction Strategy Annual Report
March 20, 2017 1:00 P.M.
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Ontario has released its Poverty Reduction Strategy Annual Report for 2016, which highlights progress made by the province in lifting people out of poverty in 2016.
The 2014-2019 Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential, aims to create a province where every person has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential and contribute to a prosperous and healthy Ontario.
Highlights of the progress made in achieving that goal in 2016 include:
- Reducing the number of children living in poverty by over 20 per cent, which is a major step forward in the province’s goal of reducing child poverty by 25 per cent in five years.
- Investing in 30 new community projects — including Indigenous-led initiatives — to help find new solutions to poverty and end homelessness.
- Increasing the monthly income of almost 19,000 families, most of which are single-parent households, by fully exempting child support payments from social assistance benefit calculations.
- Delivering publicly funded, child-centred and developmentally appropriate learning to 260,000 four- and five-year-olds through Full-Day Kindergarten, saving Ontario families up to $6,500 per child, per year in child care costs.
- Providing healthy meals and snacks every year to more than 896,000 children and youth during the course of the school year, including in 63 First Nations communities, through the Student Nutrition Program.
- Helping approximately 39,600 individuals and families obtain housing and approximately 115,600 households at-risk of homelessness remain in their homes through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
- Breaking the cycle of chronic homelessness for up to 6,000 individuals and families by providing new supportive housing spaces as well as funding for housing assistance and support services.
The province will continue to build on this progress in 2017 while exploring new ways to lift people out of poverty, so that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to and participate in a prosperous and inclusive Ontario.
- In spring 2017, the province will introduce a Basic Income Pilot to test a new way to help people meet their basic needs while supporting long-term social and economic prosperity and security for everyone, such as improving health, employment and housing outcomes for people in Ontario.
- The Local Poverty Reduction Fund provides $50 million over six years to support innovative, local, community-driven solutions that measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty.
- In 2016, almost $6 million was invested in projects that prevent and respond to homelessness while more than $4.5 million was invested in seven innovative, community-driven programs from Indigenous communities and Indigenous-led organizations.
- Since 2012, Ontario has reduced child poverty by over 20 per cent, improving the futures of approximately 104,000 children and their families across the province.
- Announced in March 2017, Ontario is increasing its operating funding for housing assistance and support services to $100 million annually, beginning in 2019-20. This will bring the total investment since 2017 to $200 million by 2019-20, assisting up to 6,000 families and individuals.
- $20 million in operating funding will be invested over the next two years to give Indigenous people better access to supportive housing, with the funding ramping up to $20 million annually by 2019. Since 2008, Ontario has committed over $168 million to off-reserve Indigenous households.
“This report highlights what we can achieve as a province when we work together to ensure that everyone in Ontario gets a fair shot at a better future. It’s also an important reminder that despite our gains, there is still much more work to be done. We’re committed to tackling these and new challenges with the same determination as we work towards improving everyday life for Ontarians.”