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Today, on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, hundreds of members of CUPE Ontario and anti-poverty groups rallied outside the Ministry of Finance in Toronto.

The rally was part of a week of action organized by Raise the Rates, a campaign supported by CUPE Ontario. The campaign calls on the Ontario government to raise social assistance rates by 55 percent, an amount that would restore them to where they were before the Mike Harris government’s cuts. The campaign also calls for restoration of the Community Start-Up and Housing Benefit, which was eliminated by the Liberal government last year, and to increase the minimum wage to $14 an hour.

“Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It is inexcusable that poverty is growing in Ontario, and government policy is making a bad situation worse,” Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, chair of CUPE Ontario’s Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee, said at the rally.

Also speaking at the rally were representatives of the Workers’ Action Centre, who pointed out that the current minimum wage leaves people 19 percent below the poverty line.

The Week of Action will culminate with a mass rally in Sudbury on Saturday. Buses to the rally will depart from Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo, Kingston and Belleville. For more information about buses and the week of action, follow this link.