Low-income Ontarians entered the pandemic in distress and have disproportionately borne the brunt of the pandemic’s impacts. This would be the perfect time for Ontario to ensure a successful and complete recovery by making permanent changes to alleviate poverty.
Instead, in the middle of the second wave, the province delivered two strategies that will fail low-income Ontarians.
The first is the government’s five-year poverty reduction strategy Building a Strong Foundation for Success: Reducing Poverty in Ontario (2020-2025). The second is Recovery and Renewal: Ontario’s Vision for Social Assistance.
Both base the right to a dignified life on an individual’s ability to work. They emphasize employment-related indicators and “life stabilization” as major measures of poverty reduction, without meaningful attempts to remove barriers to employment or to fund and improve the wraparound services that are crucial to moving people out of deep poverty.