In this blog post from last year on the 2012 annual report on Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, I sounded the alarm that we were falling behind. Early gains were not being followed through in terms of increases to child benefits, social assistance, minimum wage, and losses occurred with the transition from CSUMB to CHPI. In this year’s report, we can see some of the impact of the setbacks, as evidenced by this graph:
You will note that on housing and depth of poverty, our best year was 2010-11, with some ground lost last year. However, overall the Poverty Reduction Strategy has had some positive impacts. The greatest impacts came from:
- All day kindergarten, and enhanced child care
- Increases to child benefit payments
- Increases to the minimum wage, when they happened
- Increases to social assistance rates, when they happened
- And smaller programs like: employment, mental health, dental, education grants, etc.
All together, this has decreased the child poverty rate in Ontario from 15.2% to 13.6%. A modest increase, but an increase none-the-less. However, still a ways away from the 25% decrease that was targeted.
In moving forward, the equation continues to be a simple one. We can move children out of poverty by providing their families a good income, and affordable housing. Three key recommendations for achieving this would be:
- Continued increases to inadequate social assistance rates
- Significant development of new affordable housing units to work on the 2100 family wait list in London
- Continued increases to child tax benefits.