Thursday, May 1, 2008

Monday May 5th - Liberal Minister in Ptbo - Rally to Demand a Raise in the Rates

Join PCAP in demonstration as we 'welcome' Liberal Minister Deb Matthews to Peterborough, the first stop on her 'poverty tour' ...

On Monday May 5th at 12:30 p.m.,

PCAP will gather at the Bus Terminal on Simcoe St. - join us as we ride to the Evinrude Arena together to demand accountability from Liberal MPPs who gave themselves a 25% raise while their government continues to deny poor people the means to get by. We can assist with bus fare. Bus leaves at 12:40 - don't be late!

Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews, who chairs the cabinet committee on provincial poverty reduction, is hosting a roundtable on reducing poverty in Ontario on Monday, May 5th 2008 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. The event is being held at the Evinrude Arena (911 Monaghan Road, Peterborough) in the Multi-purpose Room.

This roundtable is one of 13 Provincial Public Meetings on strategies to reduce poverty.The problem is that the meeting is NOT PUBLIC. It is a closed door meeting and open to those who have been invited by the Liberals only!

Let the Ontario Liberal’s know that we won’t sit by while they ‘dialogue’ behind closed doors about Ontario's poverty reduction strategy! Enough talk! Time for action! Join the fight for a decent income and demand that the Liberals RAISE THE RATES!

The NDP and CUPE are also calling for people to join them at the Evinrude Centre at 1:45 p.m. on Monday May 5, 2008. Matthews "private" invite only session begins at 2:00p.m.

The Ontario Liberal Government, which was elected on a platform of change, has done little to reverse the Tory’s anti-poor agenda and has done almost nothing to improve the living conditions of poor people. The Liberals have made miserable token gestures when serious action was called for. This Government will continue the war on the poor until it is challenged by way of a serious social mobilization. More and more communities are refusing to go back to the old choices between dignity and rent. The government is facing people who are demanding what they deserve from their welfare workers, their City Councillors and their MPPs.

PCAP and our allies across Ontario are organizing in a major way to get the rates raised. We know the liberals have the money – but we will have to fight to get it. We know that we won’t get a raise unless we come out in record numbers and put continued pressure on the Liberals to give us what we deserve. Fight to Win!


Did you know that the Ontario Liberals …

… are responsible for imposing poverty and hunger on the 760,000 women, children and men who are forced to live on miserable welfare and disability payments in Ontario. The Liberals raised assistance rates and minimum wage by an insulting fraction of what it would take for rates to be livable. Two and three percent raises to OW/ODSP rates is an insultingly pathetic gesture when 40% is needed to restore the 21.7% Harris cuts and fully compensate for ten years of cost of living increases. The lowest paid workers in the province won’t receive a liveable minimum wage until 2010.

… cut the Special Diet Policy under which huge numbers were obtaining relief from poverty and hunger. The Liberals introduced a new policy, determined to shut down the OCAP initiated community clinics where thousands of poor people were obtaining the $250 a month the policy entitled them to. The special diet cuts ensured that these people would be returned to hunger and ill health. PCAP demands the reversal of this vicious measure and a 40% increase in social assistance rates.

… introduced an Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) that will benefit families on OW and ODSP significantly less than it appears. People who rely on social assistance will only receive a portion of the OCB beginning in July 2008 because of a simultaneous restructuring of social assistance rates. As of July, 2008, monthly ODSP and OW benefits for families will be reduced and families will no longer receive a separate winter clothing allowance or back-to-school clothing allowance. Some of the National Child Benefit will continue to be clawed back under this new system. The value of the clawback is $122 for one child. The government has said that when the OCB is fully implemented in 2011, families will be better off by at least $50 a month per child. This means that for a family with one child, the there will still be about $72 being clawed back by the provincial government. Deb Matthews was recognized in the 2007 Ontario Budget speech as having been a driving force behind the new OCB; come out and let her know that the OCB is not enough!

… implemented a so-called “new and improved” Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) that has failed to “balance” the power between landlords and tenants. For the second straight year, and the first year under the new RTA, almost 65,000 Ontario households faced eviction applications in 2007. In contrast only 1,228 tenant applications were made to take landlords to the Board for maintenance issues. We need measures to reduce and control rent, and to improve tenant incomes. We demand safe, decent affordable housing now!

… promised better health care but instead whacked low- and moderate-income Ontarians with an unfair, regressive health tax. Then, they cut vital health services like physiotherapy, chiropractic and eye care services.


Minister to start poverty tour here Monday
Peterborough Examiner (ON)
Thu May 1, 2008 - City/Region - B1

A provincial cabinet minister will discuss ways to reduce poverty in Ontario at a roundtable discussion with a local committee Monday.

Peterborough will be the first stop on a multi-community tour by Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews, who chairs the cabinet committee on provincial poverty reduction, Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal said.

"There are certainly some innovative ideas that have been put forward by the local poverty reduction initiative in Peterborough," he said. "She wants to hear those ideas."

The roundtable discussion with the mayor's action committee on poverty reduction will be held at the Evinrude Centre, on Monaghan Road just north of Lansdowne Street, from 2 to 5 p.m.

The local committee will emphasize the importance of community partnerships, said Coun. Doug Peacock, who is the chairman of the mayor's task force on poverty reduction. "We have a community oriented process.... We're trying hard to establish community relationships," he said. "Within the community, with a number of efforts that are primarily volunteer-based and charitable organizations that are offering support, we have a plan."

The local committee will look for more than moral support in its struggle against poverty in the community. There will also be a pitch for money to support specific initiatives. As much as $30,000 would suffice, Peacock said. The committee will tell Matthews about a recently launched homelessness outreach program, a plan to open a community garden and an initiative that would help troubled young people learn skills while volunteering at a food bank, Peacock said. The committee will ask for small-scale funding, Peacock said."What we're looking for is to just plug some of the gaps with those initiatives," he said.

Matthews may tour local facilities such as the Youth Emergency Shelter during her
visit, if she has enough time, Leal said.


25 in 5 Press Release: Open process needed for provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy


Poverty consultations must lead to real change

TORONTO, May 2 –

Advocates are calling on the Ontario government to move beyond closed sessions and ensure an open, inclusive and solutions-oriented process as the province begins consultations for its Poverty Reduction Strategy.

“Too many Ontarians who have been shut out need this opportunity to be heard, and we expect the Province to make low-income voices a priority in their consultations. But we will know that government really means business when we see the voices of those living in poverty front and center in these discussions,” said Pat Capponi of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction and a low-income advocate with Voices from the Street.

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is calling on the Ontario government to commit to reducing poverty by 25 per cent in the next five years. It issued an open letter to all MPPs earlier this week calling for a bold public consultation process that leads to real, tangible change in tackling poverty. 25 in 5 expects that the process will include:

A focus on solutions that address the realities of all Ontarians living in poverty, not only children

Meetings that are open and accessible to the public, and include those groups, communities and individuals who are most marginalized

Consultation that is properly funded and resourced

Consultations are recorded and those reports are made public in a timely manner

“We need this government to articulate a plan that sees every Minister and every MPP working harder than ever to bring Ontarians together for a real plan for poverty reduction,” said Peter Clutterbuck of the Social Planning Network of Ontario and a partner of the 25 in 5 Network.

“This government has been given the benefit of the doubt so far. Now communities across this province are mobilized, ready, and eager to have their say. Now it’s
government’s turn to make an open process a reality” said Andaleen Adamali of 25 in 5 and the Council of Agencies Serving South Agencies. “We will be watching and tracking the consultation process closely.”

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction will bring to the consultations a three-pronged action plan to combat poverty. That requires significant new action. The plan focuses on ensuring that jobs pay living wages, achieving liveable incomes for every Ontarian, and strategies to expand access to affordable housing, early learning and child care, public education and other community programs that help people connect.

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is a province-wide Ontario coalition of over 100 organizations and individuals calling for a 25 per cent reduction in poverty in five years. For more information, and to view 25 in 5’s Principles for Consultation:

Media contact: Alissa Von Bargen,
Community Social Planning Council of Toronto, 416-351-0095 x214, cell:
647-230-9164 e-mail: