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Pauline Apperly, Director, Our Town Food bank, Tottenham, Ontario

Alf Judd, Former Director of Operations, Georgina Community Food Pantry, Sutton, Ontario

Teresa Porter, Volunteer, LAMP Community Lunch Program, Newmarket, Ontario

Brian Morris, 2015 Food Bank Challenge Participant, Constituency Manager & Executive Assistant, York Region
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Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations

September 26, 2013

We Can't Afford to Waste Our Time!

In 2013, the government of Ontario announced that it would be conducting further public consultations in the development of a renewed Poverty Reduction Strategy. This announcement came months after the release of the final recommendations from the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, based on consultations with more than 2,000 people and groups. There is broad agreement that social assistance rates are too low and need to be raised. No further consultations are required for the argument to be made that action must be taken NOW.

The evidence of this agreement is in the report of the Commission and its recommendation to increase rates by $100/month. It is also evident in the public comments made by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Community and Social Services Ted McMeekin, and Health Minister Deb Mathews. They have all told members of the Put Food in the Budget campaign that they would "love" to increase the rates, but that the government "can't afford it."

So we need to create a wide-spread public movement that empowers the government to make the changes that will enable people to live a life of dignity above the poverty line. Put Food in the Budget, Poverty Free Ontario, Raise the Minimum Wage Campaign, 25 in 5 Network, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and many individuals have provided clear direction and expectations about how poverty can be eliminated in Ontario.

We are asking our government to acknowledge that the answers about what needs to be done to eliminate poverty are already in their reports. Let's get working together and implementing the changes now that will make a difference in the daily lives of Ontarians!

For more information and to get involved, see:

Put Food in the Budget Campaign www.putfoodinthebudget.ca
Poverty Free Ontario www.povertyfreeontario.ca
Raise the Minimum Wage Coalition www.raisetheminimumwage.ca
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty www.ocap.ca/node/85
25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network www.25in5.ca