AAP Submission to Ontario Pre-Budget Hearings

January 23, 2014

ALLIANCE AGAINST POVERTY
Written submission to
ONTARIO PRE-BUDGET HEARINGS
January 2014

Alliance Against Poverty is a grassroots group based in Kitchener-Waterloo. We work for the eradication of poverty through political action and advocacy. We do not seek or accept any form of government funding.

The eradication of poverty in Ontario is possible. Doing so would enhance Ontario's fiscal health not jeopardize it.

 

To that end we have four overall recommendations: 

  1. Support Municipalities

  2. Raise adequate revenue

  3. Value Workers

  4. Raise social assistance rates.

1. SUPPORT MUNICIPALITIES.

Give municipalities improved and stable funding for

  •  housing

  •  transit

  •  discretionary benefits

  •  child care

  •  child welfare

  •  infrastructure.

(A big infrastructure concern for us in Waterloo Region in inter-city rail.
- Provide GO train service to Cambridge.
- Greatly improve GO train service to Kitchener.
To do this, Ontario needs to invest in expanded rail capacity in the GTA. This would open up job creation.)

- Give municipalities the policy tools they need to bring about more affordable housing (such as inclusionary zoning, and changes to development charges).

- Shift taxation from the property tax to the income tax.

 

2. RAISE ADEQUATE REVENUE.

- Reverse corporate tax cuts. Corporate taxes have fallen steeply and are now absurdly low.

- Make the personal income tax schedule more progressive.

- Remove the HST from home utility bills and from deli and restaurant meals under $10.

 

3. VALUE WORKERS.

- Raise the minimum wage above the Low Income Measure. (At present $14/hr.)
- See that it is kept above the LIM in future.

- Enforce labour standards (e.g. safety, overtime pay, misclassification as "contractors" to evade wages).
- Clamp down on the misuse of temp agencies.

- Maintain public sector pensions. 
- Introduce an Ontario Pension Plan.

- Pledge to protect collective bargaining and the right to organize. 
- Pledge to protect union dues collection (the Rand formula).

 

4. RAISE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE RATES.

- The Shelter Allowance must cover the actual cost of housing. It needs to be double what it is now.

- To this end we support Ontario Coalition Against Poverty's demand that OW and ODSP rates be restored to their pre-Harris levels in equivalent present-day dollars, and pegged to inflation thereafter,
- and that the Special Diet Allowance and the Community Start-up fund be restored.

- Protect ODSP. Do not lump it in with OW; the needs are totally different.
- Do not require the disabled to work.

- Extend drug and dental coverage to all low-income people.

 

ALL OF THE ABOVE would help thousands more Ontarians to get stably housed and employed. Ontario would realize big savings on health care, justice, and more.

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