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Fed up with rising poverty and government inaction, the Raise the Rates campaign has kicked off a week of action that will culminate in a “convergence” of anti-poverty activists and supporters in Sudbury this Saturday.

Today, members of CUPE Ontario, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and Poverty Makes Us Sick rallied outside the Ontario Works building in Waterloo, Ontario.

“Poverty is getting worse in Ontario, and government policy is making it worse,” said Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, chair of CUPE Ontario’s Social Services Workers’ Coordinating Committee. “Social assistance rates need to go up by 55 percent just to catch up to where they were before the Harris government cuts. The Liberals are not just leaving people in poverty, they’re making it harder to get out by cutting programs like the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB).”

The campaign calls for an immediate 55 percent increse in social assistance rates, restoration of the CSUMB, a commitment to maintain separate Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support programs, and an increase of the minimum wage to $14 an hour.

The week of action continues with a rally in Kingston tomorrow. Follow this link for a list of events around the province and information about Saturday’s convergence in Sudbury.