ISARC calls for steps to counter poverty in 2019 budget
Given a deepening crisis of poverty, Ontario’s next provincial budget, expected in March or April, must contain strong anti-poverty measures, such as a minimum $100 per month increase in social assistance rates for single people, reinstatement of the Basic Income Pilot Project, increased funding for affordable housing, and a minimum wage increase to $15/per hour.
That was the key message of ISARC’s brief, “Ontario Needs to Act for All Its People,” presented to the Ontario Legislature’s Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in Peterborough on Jan.28.
ISARC underscored the urgent need for action, noting that half a million people in Ontario used a food bank in 2018. “We are talking about hunger and hardship on a vast scale,” as ISARC noted. Meanwhile a single person on Ontario Works (social assistance) only receives $733 per month, while in Barrie a one-bedroom apartment rents for $1035 per month. Across Ontario 165,000 households are on waiting lists for affordable housing, with wait times stretching as long as 20 years.
Ontario can afford to both address poverty and the deficit through fair tax increases. These include reinstating the cap and trade tax, whose cancellation means forgoing $3-billion in revenue over the next four years; reinstating a planned surtax on some of the richest people in Ontario; and raising corporate tax rates, which are lower than all other provinces.
To read the full brief, CLICK HERE.