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Social Development Council wants Poverty on Provincial Election agenda

Media Release
Social Development Council of Cornwall

Social Development Council wants Poverty on Provincial Election agenda
Poverty Free Ontario (PFO) is working in more than 20 communities across the province, including Cornwall and the SD&SG area, to make sure that the issue of poverty is part of the upcoming election debate and the Social Development Council of Cornwall and area’s Poverty Working Group members invite everyone to participate!
PHOTO CREDIT - SDCCornwall.ca

Cornwall - Aug. 25, 2011 - Poverty Free Ontario (PFO) is working in more than 20 communities across the province, including Cornwall and the SD&SG area, to make sure that the issue of poverty is part of the upcoming election debate and the Social Development Council of Cornwall and area’s Poverty Working Group members invite everyone to participate!

The official launch of the campaign, sponsored in part by Seaway Valley Community Health Centre and Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie, will take place on Thursday September 15th from 3pm to 7pm at the Agape Centre, who are one of the partnering organizations on this campaign. The event will include free food and an outdoor concert with local artist such as Graham Greer, Mélanie Brûlée, Sara Murphy, and Joel Sauve. The event will also host an All-candidates debate with all 3 confirmed running candidates starting at 6PM. The debate will be televised with Cogeco TV and everyone is welcomed to attend this FREE event and to bring your lawn chairs!

Currently in Ontario, a single mom with one child on social assistance lives more than $9,500 below the poverty line. A full-time worker earning minimum wage for the whole year still lives more than $5,600 below the poverty line. Ontario’s poverty rate is rising sharply as shown by more than 400,000 using food banks in 2010, up 28% from 2008 (314,250).
Our provincial government has the authority and capacity to act in these areas. Yet, as the provincial election date on October 6 approaches, there is no sign that tackling poverty will be on the agenda for discussion. “The facts, the figures, and true stories are there to confirm that poverty is dangerously manifesting, it’s time that all sectors and community members unite to show that poverty eradication must be a solemn pledge from all candidates running in this next election and every election thereafter”, says campaign member Michelle Gratton.

The local Poverty Free Ontario “reverse-campaigning” will include FREE activities such as displaying “I’m voting for a Poverty Free Ontario” lawn signs and window signs sponsored by and available through Seaway News’ September 8th 2011 edition, t-shirts and buttons available to interested participants, and many other activities ongoing until Election Day.

For more information, to volunteer, or to request a Poverty Free Ontario lawn sign, please contact the Social Development Council of Cornwall and area at 613.930.0211 or visit the Provincial campaign website at http://www.povertyfreeontario.ca.

POVERTY FREE ONTARIO BACKGROUNDER

PFO is an initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) with a mission to eliminate divided communities in which large numbers of adults and children live in chronic states of material hardship, poor health and social exclusion. The SPNO visited Cornwall last May during their cross-community consultations, unveiling a policy agenda to eradicate poverty that ensures all Ontarians both in and out of the workforce have livable incomes.

The policy agenda illustrates:

  • How to end deep poverty, by upgrading social assistance including increasing benefit levels of Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program will enable people not in the labour market for whatever short- or long-term reasons to live with health and dignity at least at the poverty line

  • How to end working poverty, by paying a basic minimum wage for all Ontarians in the workforce ($12.50/hr. phased in by 2014 with three annual 75 cent increments) would assure that everyone working full-year, full-time would live above the poverty line

  • How to protect food money, by introducing a full housing benefit (rent subsidies so that the costs of housing do not exceed 30% of gross household income) as a complement to adequate social assistance payments or basic minimum wage earnings so that housing costs do not force low income occupants to use money budgeted for food and other basic necessities to keep a roof over their heads.

  • Poverty eradication means pursuing the lowest possible levels of poverty in the industrialized world, both in incidence and in depth.


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