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Provincial Budget - Today

March 29, 2011 Poverty Reduction

The Provincial Budget will be presented at 4:00 this afternoon. I’ll be following it.

Poverty advocates will be watching anxiously after last year’s disappointing budget cancelled the special diet allowance for individuals on social assistance.

Michael Creek and Jennifer Laidley wrote an excellent story in the Toronto Star yesterday which talks about their hopes for this year’s budget.

These advocates are hopeful that Finance Minister Dwight Duncan will listen to the four priorities for action articulated by the 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction. Those priorities are:

*Ensure no one falls through the cracks in times of need

*Invest in people, their skills and their efforts to secure work.

*Ensure jobs are a pathway out of poverty.

*Create infrastructure for opportunity.

I fear that not much is going to happen on these priorities until the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance reports back in June 2012.

However, we can hope. There seems to be an increasing awareness of the dire situations facing many in our community and the need to develop strategies for poverty reduction. Ontario has been slower getting to this than some other provinces. Perhaps we’ll see some action this afternoon.

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