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Anti-poverty activists mobilize Kingston community with free BBQ and clinic on stopping the cut

Kingston, ON – The McGuinty government’s proposed elimination of the Community Start Up benefit will make poverty worse in Ontario, anti-poverty activists and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario said today at a Kingston community BBQ and special clinic on fighting the cut.

“The loss of the Community Start Up benefit would be devastating for families in Kingston and across Ontario,” said Aimee Van Vlack of the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty (KCAP). “This benefit has helped women and children leave abusive situations. It has helped families move from homes that are unsafe and unhealthy. We want to help people access this vital benefit and to mobilize them to stop the McGuinty government from carrying out this cut.”

“More than 16,000 people use the Community Start Up every month in Ontario. It is one of the only ways that people on Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program can cover the costs of moving, save their housing and obtain the basic items they need to maintain a home. It helps prevent homelessness and increases safety for many women and children, making its elimination a particularly cruel development”, said Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair of the CUPE Ontario Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee.

“The McGuinty government has lost all claim to be in the ‘poverty reduction’ business with this proposed cut,” Poole-Cotnam said. “Only a government that has consciously chosen to forsake those in poverty would increase homelessness and endanger women and children rather than roll back its earlier tax cuts to corporations.”

“The proposed cut to the Community Start-Up comes on the heels of previous cuts to the Special Diet Allowance and on top of years of grossly inadequate social assistance rates, making the McGuinty Liberals responsible for growing levels of poverty in Ontario”, said Liisa Schofield of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).

“McGuinty’s austerity agenda means cuts to Ontario’s poorest, but tax breaks for rich corporations,” Schofield said. “These cuts are not just numbers on paper. More people will become homeless. More lives will be shortened. More low-income women and children will be at risk of violence. These are the consequences of the McGuinty brand of austerity.”

The Liberal government’s 2012 budget brought a number of regressive cuts to social assistance, including the Community Start Up, slated for elimination in 2013. The BBQ and clinic, supported by CUPE Ontario and other labour partners, is part of a provincial campaign to stop the cut.

For more on the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, visit  – Find them on Facebook 


For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Liisa Schofield, Organizer, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, 416 899 6445

Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair, Social Services Workers Coordinating Committee, CUPE Ontario, 613 864 1061

David Robbins, CUPE Ontario Communications, 613 878 1431, [email protected]