Summary Report – Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations

Summary Report – Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations

by NationTalk on September 9, 20081361 Views

(March-August 2008)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

TThis Poverty Watch report consolidates feedback from thousands of Ontarians who participated in over 75 community meetings and consultations on poverty reduction from March to August 2008. The meetings included government-led consultations, convened by Minister Deb Matthews and / or MPPs from around the province. Meetings also included community-led sessions, with MPPs invited as participants, and public forums and town hall meetings on poverty reduction. Altogether 44 MPPs participated in these consultations, some of them in several community meetings.The main messages that emerged from these consultations included:

�� It’s time for serious action: A successful strategy should be anchored by a bold, multi-year plan with targets and timetables that invests significant resources to cut poverty – quick fixes will not cut it.
�� Let’s help everyone become their best: Ontario’s strategy should focus on preventing and ending poverty for all people, not just children.
�� Listen to those who live it: Those who live in poverty should continue to be consulted as the strategy is implemented and progress tracked.

The consultations also identified a number of policy areas that should be priorities for action:

�� Make work pay: A Good Jobs Strategy should be an integral component of an anti-poverty plan – hike minimum wages, improve access to unionization, expand health benefits, update and enforce labour laws so that temporary and contract workers are protected.
�� Ensure dignity for all: The Ontario Child Benefit should be increased and social assistance reformed to ensure a livable income for all.
�� Help build strong and supportive communities with affordable housing, early learning and child care, public education, and community programs that help people connect.
�� Count everyone in: The plan should include targeted measures to address the higher than average levels of poverty faced by Aboriginal people, racialized communities, newcomers, single mothers, and people with disabilities. Anti-racism policies should be developed including employment equity.
�� Keep the dialogue alive: The success of a multi-year Poverty Reduction Strategy will require ongoing monitoring, coordination, and accountability across various Ministries to keep the strategy on track – a role for public advisory bodies is key, as is continued engagement and consultation with all sectors of society.

Poverty Watch Ontario is sponsored by the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO), Ontario Campaign 2000 (C2000) and the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC), three provincial partners in the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. The Poverty Watch Ontario website, found at www.povertywatchontario.ca, was set up in March 2008 to track community input to the Ontario government on the development of a poverty reduction strategy and plan for the province.

Download Summary Report – Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations

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