Real income security in Ontario

May 7, 2018
Article Source
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

From a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives article: Is your income secure? Do you swipe your credit card at the supermarket without really looking at how much you’re spending? Can you pay all your bills every month? Can you afford your medication? Do your kids have the clothes, shoes and school supplies they need? Is your home safe and warm?

Or do you skip meals to make sure you can pay the rent and your kids are fed? Are you a regular at the local food bank? Do you have trouble getting there because you can’t afford the bus fare? Do you have to figure out which bill to pay each month and which one to risk disconnection on? Do you cringe when your doctor hands you a prescription, knowing you can’t afford to fill it? Do you struggle with bedbugs? Mould? A landlord that never does the repairs? Are you living too far from your job and the services you need because rents are too high?

Do you feel like nothing will ever change, no matter what you do or how hard you try?

Nearly two million people in Ontario struggle daily with these questions. Their jobs don't pay enough to cover their bills, or they don't get enough hours, let alone benefits, to make ends meet. Welfare pays $721 a month, not nearly enough to cover rent. Benefits for people with disabilities don't get them much closer to this increasingly out-of-reach feat, especially for those living in cities.

What's more, people getting low social assistance benefits receive few supports to deal with domestic violence or illness, mental health or literacy challenges, or the impacts of racism or colonialism, which are all often connected to their need for income support.

Simply put, Ontarians living in poverty or with low incomes cannot afford basic necessities and services that many of us take for granted and that would make getting through the day so much less of a battle. Their struggle with poverty and income insecurity can be attributed in no small part to benefit systems and regulatory structures that are outmoded and ineffective, and long past due for change.

Read more: Real income security in Ontario