Raise the Rates Week of Action vs the Liberal Government’s “Invisible Austerity” War on the Poor
The Raise the Rates Campaign is calling on local communities to challenge MPPs during the week of May 18. MPPs will be in their constituency offices that week, making it an ideal time to challenge the austerity and growing poverty being imposed in the province. The Liberals have long presented themselves as a kinder alternative to the Tories, but in reality are imposing a range of cuts on poor people and communities. In a recent announcement, the province cynically spun a reduced commitment to anti-homelessness initiatives as an infusion of new cash. This highlights the stealthy and misleading Liberal approach we describe as “invisible austerity.” It’s time to stop the invisible austerity. The week of May 18, we are calling on MPPs to:
* Suspend ODSP medical reviews that are now underway until a properly functioning computer system is in place and the backlog of people waiting to be moved from OW to ODSP has been cleared. Make the reviews simpler and less intrusive, and ensure all who face them have been properly notified and provided with the medical and advocacy services they need to complete the process.
*Stop the elimination of the $100-a-month work-related benefit for people on ODSP.
* Scrap the SAMS computer system. It is a failure that continues to impose misery and hardship on people on social assistance and creates intolerable conditions for ODSP and OW workers.
* Fully restore the Special Diet and Community Start Up (CSUMB) so people in poverty have a chance of eating a healthy diet and remaining housed.
* Raise OW and ODSP rates by 55% to return them to the real levels they were at before cuts by the Harris Tories.
* Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour and respect the right of all to living wages.
We encourage organizations to deliver these demands to their local MPPs prior to the upcoming budget, and then hold community meetings and actions at MPP offices during the week of May 18 to challenge Liberal austerity and the poverty they are imposing on people throughout Ontario. If you are able to organize a local action or want to find out more about how to participate, you can call the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) at (416) 925-6939 or e mail [email protected].
Stay tuned for more updates on the campaign.