Anti-poverty

Ontario: Basic Income or Basement Income?

As in other parts of Canada, the working class in Ontario is experiencing a deep wage and employment crisis, which threatens the living standards of millions of people in the province. But it also sees the ruling class filling its bank accounts. The provincial government’s Universal Basic Income plan – dressed up as a progressive social reform – is actually a vehicle to legislatively entrench this situation. For the past two decades, the official poverty rate in Ontario has remained in the 10-13% range. This means that, at a minimum, over 1 million people live below the poverty line each year in the province. Furthermore, welfare rates continue to drop further beneath the poverty line. Currently, this “poverty gap” for 160,000 single adults on social assistance is 60% – they receive only $8500 per year, $12,300 below the poverty line in Ontario. Tens of thousands cannot afford to properly feed themselves or retain their housing, leading to more hunger and homelessness. The Ontario Association of Food Banks reported that 360,000 people used a food bank each day in 2015, with a 35% increase in the number of seniors and a total of 10,000 more food bank visits over the previous year. Conditions in northern and rural areas are worse, as people are spread over large areas, many in isolated communities. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Solidarity with locked out workers at Rideau-Carleton Raceway Slots

The Communist Party of Canada-Ontario extends its full support to the members of Local 71201 of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, who have been locked out by the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation (OLG) at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway Slots (RCRS) in Ottawa. OLG locked out its 124 union workers on December 14, 2015 after the union rejected the corporation’s demands for a 2-year wage freeze – extending a previous 7-year wage freeze – and language requiring the members' pension plan be stricken from any future collective agreement. Even though OLG claimed it was bound by the Liberal government's "net zero increase" for public sector workers, it gave its management employees a 2% increase. On April 14, 2016 the workers overwhelmingly rejected OLG’s latest offer of a five-year deal with a wage freeze for three of those years. OLG falsely claims their offer provides a 20% wage increase over 5 years. In reality, the offer adds up to only 6.75% over 5 years. The locked out workers have not received a wage increase since 2009, during which time the local cost of living has risen by over 10%, leaving them with significant real wage losses. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Mass action can halt Hydro privatization!

The privatization of Hydro One has begun. In the first week of November, the first public offering of Hydro stocks resulted in the sale of about 10% of the public utility, generating great excitement on the TSX where the RBC Capital Markets and ScotiaBank led the pack in scooping up the largest parts of this and future offerings. The Hydro One firesale is an out and out gift to the banks and corporations, in exchange for some quick money to fund the government’s unfunded $30 billion infrastructure program – one of two key promises that won them the June 2014 Ontario election. The government says the main objective of the sale is funding for the infrastructure program. But only $4.6 billion will be realized by the sale – less than one-sixth of what’s needed – and at a huge cost to the public. Instead, this $30 billion could be generated by reversing an estimated $15 billion in corporate tax cuts and by increasing the corporate tax rate to 22% for an additional $10.5 billion annually. That would raise the funds for the infrastructure program, and maintain Hydro One as a public utility. It would also generate a much larger, and stable revenue stream for other public projects, like public hospitals, the long promised (but never delivered) needs-based funding formula for education, or a provincial system of affordable public childcare, urban and inter-urban public transit. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Ontario Communists announce campaign against Hydro privatization

In response to the Ontario Government's plan to sell 60% of Hydro One, the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has announced a campaign to inform and energize the public against the privatization scheme. The Liberals intend to sell Hydro One, the distribution network of Ontario’s public electric power system, to private companies, despite growing opposition within the Ontario legislature and in the population at large. The proposal was part of the omnibus budget bill that passed the legislature on the last day before the summer recess. Part of the budget removed most of the regulatory measures which governed Hydro One as a public utility. The Government’s excuse for selling off one of the most important public assets owned by the people of Ontario was to provide capital to finance its $30 billion public infrastructure project, the key proposal in its election campaign. It did not campaign on privatizing Ontario Hydro, however. This privatization plan, the continuation of the corporate austerity campaign, has many aspects that attack the living standard and the democratic rights of the people of Ontario: (more…)

By admin, ago