Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Raise the Rates

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Raise the Rates

Article excerpt

IN THE ONTARIO COALITION AGAINST POVERTY (OCAP), we have always argued that workers and their unions should support the fight to raise income levels for poor people on assistance. We say this, not as a matter of charity, but as a question of working class solidarity. Now, with CUPE Ontario in the lead, sections of the Labour Movement are beginning to put serious resources and effort into backing this fight in Ontario.

Welfare systems emerged because those in power realized that outright hunger and destitution would come at the cost of enormous social unrest. Rather than face this, they choose to provide a bare minimum of income support, along with highly intrusive delivery systems, so as to ensure those on assistance would be under maximum pressure to take the worst paying and most exploitative jobs on offer. With one worker in Ontario in six now working at or close to the minimum wage, driving down of social assistance rates is a key objective of the Provincial Government. It is now massively curtaining the vital Special Diet Program. From 2005 on, OCAP and others worked to transform this medically based benefit, that provides up to $250 a month in additional income, from at $6 million a year program to one providing $200 million to one recipient in five in the Province. This cutback is taking place in a context where sub poverty welfare rates have lost 55 percent of their spending power, under Tory and Liberal governments, since 1994. It has become impossible for hundreds of thousands of people to eat an adequate diet and retain their housing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.