November 2nd, 2017

Horwath to the Liberals: Will you implement your own recommendations to help low-income families?

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath demanded to know if the Wynne Liberals will implement the recommendations coming out of a report on the state of Ontario’s troubled social assistance programs – including an urgent call for a 22 per cent increase to monthly supports for low-income families.

“In the last 22 years under both the Conservatives and the Liberals, monthly social assistance in Ontario has gone up by just eight per cent – and that’s before you factor in inflation. Eight per cent is just not enough for a family to pay rent, buy food, clothes, school supplies for the kids and try to scrape by on,” said Horwath. “It’s not enough – and the Wynne Liberals have done next to nothing to fix this during their 14 years in government.”

Sadly, in question period Thursday, Kathleen Wynne's minister said they would hold off on taking action and instead consult further on the year-long committee group's report -- letting struggling families down, yet again.

The committee was struck last year by the Minister of Social Services and released its report today. The recommendations include a 15 per cent increase to the Ontario Disability Support Program, a housing benefit to be implemented by 2019, and the expansion of all health benefits to low-income families.

Horwath noted the Liberal government’s dismal track record when it comes to helping low-income families. They cut homelessness prevention programs in 2012, they reduced monthly social assistance payments by $100 per month in 2014 and announced a severe cut to the local poverty reduction fund in 2015.

But it doesn't have to be this way, she said.

“With an election around the corner, will the premier reverse course, implement the recommendations of this report immediately and finally begin to properly support Ontario families who are really struggling?” asked Horwath.