Anti-poverty

Communist Party demands anti-austerity budget for Ontario

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has produced a comprehensive submission to Ontario's 2018 Pre-Budget Consultations, calling explicitly for an end to austerity and privatization, and demanding a budget for full employment, expanded public services, equality, and progressive tax reform. The CPC(O) notes the devastating impact austerity policies have had on the working class – rapid and widespread growth of precarious employment, plant closures resulting in over 8000 jobs lost, lost wages and benefits, deep cuts to programs, and soaring costs for services including child care and tuition. At the same time, corporate profits have spiked, rising from $156 billion in 2008 to a projected $306 billion for 2017. Profits The Royal Bank of Canada alone announced a profit of $11.5 billion for the third quarter of 2017. The Communist Party submission also positions issues of inequality and oppression as budget priorities. The pre-budget consultations are taking place at a time of resurgent fascism and growing racism, widespread harassment and violence against women, as well as a deep and continuing gender wage gap. To confront and change this situation, the Communist Party identifies key budget priorities such as a shorter work week with no loss in take-home pay, further increases to the minimum wage, expansion of public services and publicly-owned industries, a ban on temporary employment agencies, enforced pay and employment equity, and significant increases to social assistance rates. The Party is also calling for expansions to public transit and public healthcare, increased funding to public services, a needs-based funding formula for public education and an end to funding to Catholic schools, a massive provincial housing program, a provincial system of universally accessible and quality public childcare, funding to anti-oppression and equity-seeking programs, and strong action on climate change and environmental protection. (more…)

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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…)

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