During the provincial election in 2007, Make Poverty History in collaboration with other groups in the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction mounted a very successful campaign to get all provincial party leaders to support a poverty reduction plan.
In December 2008, the Government of Ontario introduced the plan Breaking the Cycle: Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. On May 6, 2009 the Ontario legislature unanimously passed The Poverty Reduction Act, which commits successive provincial governments to act on poverty and provides measures to track progress over time. The strategy was created with significant input and collaboration from community groups and those living in poverty. In August 2014, the Ontario Government published its second poverty strategy entitled Realizing Our Potential. In the 2014 strategy, the government recommitted to its prior goal of reducing child poverty by 25%. Halfway through its second poverty strategy, the Government of Ontario took steps in 2017 to eliminate poverty in the province. However, it remains uncertain whether Ontario will reach its target of reducing child poverty by 25% in the next two years.
As of January 1, 2018, children and youth 24 years of age or younger will be entitled to free prescription medications, with no upfront costs. Additionally, $1.6-billion was earmarked to create 45,000 licensed child care spaces as part of a pledge aimed at giving 100,000 more children aged four and under access to licensed child care over five years.
In 2017-2018, there will be $15 million in additional funding for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 will increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2019 and change working conditions for low wage and precariously employed individuals.
Despite calls from advocacy groups to restore social assistance rates to 1993 levels (indexed to inflation for present day), there was only a 2% increase to social assistance rates this year.
For more detailed analysis, visit Canada Without Poverty’s Poverty Progress Profiles.