Poverty report shows little progress: Paul Miller

QUEEN’S PARK – Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP and NDP Poverty Reduction critic Paul Miller responded Tuesday to the annual report card released by Ontario Campaign 2000, saying the lack of progress on poverty reduction means Ontario children are still suffering.

“It seems that every year when this report card gets released, the same problems are still happening. Too many children in Ontario are still suffering from poverty and homelessness,” said Miller. “This is simply unacceptable. Even one child experiencing the effects of poverty – hunger, food insecurity, homelessness – is too many. Ontario needs a premier with a complete plan to begin to address this problem in its entirety.”

Miller said the extensive report paints a broad picture of poverty – and discuss solutions.

“This report has done a good job painting a picture of what this province needs to have in place to address the problems faced by the more than 475,000 Ontario children living in poverty,” said Miller. “Affordable childcare, a $15 an hour minimum wage, increases to social assistance rates, and more health benefits are among many of the important recommendations that were talked about during the report’s official release earlier today, and it’s critical that the province acts on those recommendations – and more.”

Miller also talked about the need for the passing of Bill 6 which falls in line with the report’s recommendation to improve social assistance rates. Bill 6, also known as the Ministry of Community and Social Services Amendment Act would create an evidence-based Social Assistance Research Commission which would make recommendations on what social assistance rates should be in each region of the province on an annual basis.

“We need the Wynne Liberals to start taking the issue of poverty reduction seriously,” said Miller. “They’ve stalled this poverty-reduction bill at the committee stage – and getting it back into debate is an important step towards embracing the recommendations of Ontario Campaign 2000’s report card.”