The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) is a provincial network of faith groups working together for greater social justice. ISARC was born out of the hope that together a coalition of faith groups could contribute to new public policies based upon greater justice and dignity for Ontarians marginalised by poverty.
In 1986 the Ontario government appointed an independent Social Assistance Review Committee (SARC) to study, consult, and make recommendations on the future of welfare. ISARC’s original mandate was to provide advice to that Committee.
In the past decades, in concert with many other concerned groups, Our coalition has advocated in support of SARC’s recommendations for an adequate, accessible, fair, and accountable social assistance system. ISARC has moved beyond reform of the system to name the causes of impoverishment and injustice.
Our coalition brings together representatives and members of faith groups to address public policies on issues of poverty, hunger, and homelessness in Ontario. ISARC meets and works with leaders from all political parties to support and develop legislation that will provide help to those most in need.
Our coalition has hosted province-wide hearings, held consultations and briefings, made presentations to legislative committees, and developed publications and resources that give a voice to low income people.
This central message, shared by religious communities throughout the world, inspires people of faith to respond to our neighbours in need.
“When anyone is hungry while others have too much to eat, when anyone has no shelter while others live in luxury, or when anyone lives in poverty while others enjoy affluence, justice is not present. Where justice is not present, the quality of all our lives and communities disappears.”
Justice is never complete nor done in the abstract, apart from individuals and communities. ISARC believes that people who care about the future can work together, so that a greater sense of justice is realized.