On December 4, 2008, the Ontario government released Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
In this Strategy, the province has committed to reducing child and family poverty in Ontario by 25% in the next five years. The Strategy also outlines a number of steps that the government will take to meet that commitment.
The release of the Strategy came one year after government committed to creating a poverty reduction strategy. Many in the anti-poverty movement worked very hard to make sure that the commitment became a reality, and ISAC was instrumental in this work.
Now that the strategy has been released, ISAC will continue to be involved – primarily through work on the anticipated Social Assistance Review. But we will also continue to advocate for improvements to the strategy, and continue to ensure that government meets its commitments.
The strategy is based on ten core principles.
The principles are listed below – this language is taken directly from the Poverty Reduction Strategy (pages 5-6):
“1. Kids First: Kids are our highest priority. By helping kids living in poverty get what they need to succeed, especially at school, the cycle of poverty can be broken.
2. Kids Live in Families: Families play the most important role in the child’s success. Reducing child poverty and breaking the cycle of poverty can be achieved only with the support and engagement of families.
3. Community: We recognize that there is tremendous potential in each community, and that a successful strategy must capitalize on that strength. Strong, healthy communities are an integral component of a poverty reduction strategy.
4. Unleasing Potential: There is incredible untapped potential in Ontario’s population. We need to put that potential to work by building supports and eliminating barriers to full participation in our economy and society.
5. Diversity: We need to respect and respond to the diversity of poverty. We know that certain people are at higher risk of poverty. They include new Ontarians, single moms, people with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, and racialized groups.
6. Respect: All people in Ontario deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
7. Engagement: All Ontarians, especially people living in poverty, must be engaged in poverty reduction.
8. Determination: It will take determination, time and hard work to do what needs to be done.
9. Cooperation: We all have a role to play in reducing poverty. We need to work together to build strong, healthy kids, families and communities.
10. Effectiveness: Scarce tax dollars must be spent in the most effective way possible. We need to support the research that will guide our investment decisions, and respond to their findings.”