TORONTO, ON – It is no secret that the Ontario Liberals are not in robust shape as an election looms and that their Budget was designed to shore up their credentials as the progressive alternative to Doug Ford’s Tories. This being so, a wretched 3% increase for those living in deep poverty on social assistance is quite appalling. Had they increased the rates by ten times as much, they would not have come close to putting people on social assistance, back to the levels of poverty they lived in, prior to the Tory cuts of the 1990s.

In what may be a final gesture from the Liberals, they have raised social assistance rates above inflation. This is the only year since they were elected in 2003 that there has not been a decline in real income for the poorest people in Ontario. If we consider the rate of inflation of 2.1% in this Province, those on social assistance have just had their incomes restored to the tune of 0.9%. This is hardly the road to social justice and poverty reduction we have long been promised, but never experienced.

The small numbers of people being recruited onto the basic income pilot project are receiving incomes set at about 75% of the Low Income Measure. This is little enough but our demand remains that everyone on social assistance in Ontario have their incomes raised to at least that level.

Members and supporters of the Raise the Rates Coalition include CUPE Ontario, Jane-Finch Action Against Poverty, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, ODSP Action Coalition, Parkdale Community Legal Services and Put Food In the Budget.

For more information, contact:

John Clarke, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, 416-712-2301

Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, CUPE Ontario, 613-864-1061