June 1, 2022 Our Provincial government continues to keep individuals in the perpetual cycle of poverty. In the absence of sufficient institutional support, we as community organizations, mutual aid groups, charities, nonprofits, and grassroots initiatives shoulder the responsibility of meeting the basic needs of our communities; a need our government creates and sustains. Ontario’s social assistance rates are staggeringly low and have failed to keep up with the cost of living. Our community members have identified increased social assistance rates as one of their top public policy priorities for this and future elections. At current rates, living a dignified and independent life is untenable for those in receipt of ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) or OW (Ontario Works). We can no longer afford to subsidize the government’s lack of investment in social support. We are calling on provincial party leaders to commit to fighting systemic poverty by investing in social assistance programs that guarantee a livable income for all people in Ontario. At The Stop Community Food Centre, out of the 67% of our surveyed service users who rely on social assistance, 52% of them are on ODSP. A single recipient of ODSP will receive $1,169 to cover their basic needs this month, with only $497 allocated to housing costs. A single adult on Ontario Works will only receive $733 this month to cover all their expenses. Both ODSP and OW fall below the threshold for what Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy deems to be deep poverty – what significant measures will provincial party leaders take to address this? See our letter to Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath here. See our letter to Premier Doug Ford here. See our letter to Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner here. See our letter to Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca here.