The Social Assistance Review now underway is part of Ontario’s strategy to reduce poverty.
That’s why social assistance programs should have Poverty Reduction as their goal.
Government has taken four very important steps that acknowledge that poverty is not inevitable and that government can and should create policy to reduce poverty.
1) They committed to a Poverty Reduction Strategy
On December 4, 2008, the government released its Poverty Reduction Strategy with a commitment to reduce child and family poverty by 25% by the year 2013.
This sets an important context for the commitment to “undertake a review of social assistance with the goal of removing barriers and increasing opportunity” (p30).
2) They enshrined poverty reduction in legislation.
All parties supported the legislation, which requires governments to enact a new poverty reduction strategy every five years and sets key principles for guiding these strategies.
3) They took advice from an advisory council.
The Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC) gave recommendations to the Minister of Community and Social Services for how the review should proceed.
On June 14, 2010, the Council released its report, in which it called for a “bold vision” for a review of income security in Ontario, including but not limited to social assistance programs.
4) They appointed the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.
On November 30, 2010, the government announced the Social Assistance Review.
Look here for ISAC%u2019s response to the announcement about the Review.
Information about the review can be found at this government website and on the Commission’s own website. [links disabled]