Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

Ontario Campaign 2000 released the 2021 Report on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario Poverty in the Midst of Plenty. The report was produced in cooperation with Campaign 2000, a national coalition of 120 organizations devoted to ending child and family poverty, and it calls on governments to treat poverty reduction as an urgent priority.

While Ontario is a wealthy province in a wealthy country, the child poverty remains a pressing social concern in every community. The report shows that in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, one in six children across the province lived with the day-to-day reality of never having enough. Half a million children still lived in poverty in 2019 despite recent progress which brought the child poverty rate from 23.4% in 2013 to 17.6% in 2019.

View the interactive map of Canada showing child poverty rates by federal riding.
Read: Poverty in the Midst of Plenty: 2021 English Ontario Report Card and Press Release;
French versions: La pauvreté au cœr de l’abondance and Press Release

Children and Families Deserve Better: Budget 2021 Response

While the COVID-19 pandemic rages into a third wave in Ontario, Budget 2021 – “Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy” – reads as a response to only some of the challenges of the 2020 pandemic, and not the 2021 pandemic which Ontario is currently experiencing. It does not address deepening challenges faced by low income families, who have endured increased stress, illness, and instability in their homes and workplaces for over a year.

Budget 2021 includes a reliance on federal funding, multiple funding re-announcements, and one-time investments which will still be needed into and beyond 2022. While some notable short-term investments to alleviate poverty for some children and families are included, overall, the budget does not address the core factors contributing to family poverty, economic and wealth inequality.

Budget 2021 states: The government’s continuing efforts to meet the needs of vulnerable populations including Indigenous, racially diverse, newcomer and low‐income communities is a measure that benefits all of Ontario. It is only when every community has effective measures of prevention, protection and control of COVID‐19 that Ontario can beat this virus.

In a budget that favours tax credits, tax cuts, and investments in business over investments in the medium and long-term needs of women, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, urban and rural Indigenous Peoples, single parent families, racialized people, low wage workers, people with disabilities, and families who face marginalization due to poverty and discrimination, this statement rings hollow.

Children and families living in poverty deserve better.

Click here to read the whole response, including analysis of Budget 2021’s investments in and policy directions for Equity-Related Policies, Childcare, Housing, Income Security, Service modernization and digital access, and Work & Employment Standards.

Ontario Pre-Budget Submission, February 2021

Ontarians are still grappling with the effects of the pandemic in real time. After a strong start to pandemic response in April 2020, the Fall budget focused heavily on supports for businesses. For many people living on low incomes in Ontario, the tapering off of individual federal supports and continued fluctuation in employment has created a worse situation today than earlier on in the pandemic. While job creation is important, investments in responsive provincial services and programs that support labour market participation will also be key for an inclusive recovery. Making the right interventions now can help accelerate the rate of family and child poverty reduction in Ontario and positively impact generations to come.

Ontario Campaign 2000 provides the following recommendations for Budget 2021:

1. Make Decisions Based on Meeting the Needs of the Most Vulnerable

2. Address the Financial Needs of Parents & Fortify the Childcare and Education Systems

3. Help Ontarians Stay Home

4. Solidify Safety Nets & Remove Barriers

5. Focus on Improving Employment Standards Alongside Job Creation

Read the full Ontario February 2021 Budget submission

Ontario Child Poverty Snapshot Released

Today, Ontario Campaign 2000 releases its December 2020 on child poverty, an update to the Campaign’s full April 2020 report on child poverty “April 2020 report on child poverty”:, and a companion piece to Campaign 2000’s newly released Report on Child Poverty “Beyond the Pandemic: Rising Up for a Canada Free of Poverty”.

The December 2020 Update on child poverty rates is based on the latest comprehensive data (2018) and includes:

  • New data on child poverty rates for children in Ontario, both under 18 and under 6 rates
  • New numbers on the depth of poverty and the poverty gap for different family types
  • Rate of impact that government transfers such as the Canada Child Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit have on reducing poverty rates in Ontario

The December 2020 Update also highlights the slowing of the downward trend in child poverty rates and notes higher rates of poverty for children belonging to marginalized groups, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children, and children in female-led lone parent households. The Update raises the alarm on how many children living in poverty are being left out of the count, based on the Canadian and Ontario governments’ poverty measurement choices.

Even before the pandemic hit, the data has shown that the rate of reduction in Ontario has slowed. As families struggle through the pandemic to make ends meet, child poverty rates will likely be impacted. Pandemic or not, fragile, incremental gains in the reduction of poverty are not sufficient to achieve the goal of ending poverty for all children and families in Ontario.

Child and family poverty is not inevitable – it is created, enforced, and entrenched through systemic discrimination, poor policy design, funding choices, and political inaction. In order to put an end to child and family poverty for this generation and generations to come, Ontario Campaign 2000 recommends actively working towards ending systemic discrimination; improving labour standards, income security, childcare, and housing policy; and ensuring equitable access to pandemic-related supports. There is no time to lose.

Access the December 2020 Update

Ontario Pre-Budget Submission, Fall 2020

Seven months into the pandemic, it is clear that not everyone in Ontario is experiencing the same challenges and day to day realities. Though far from perfect, federal and provincial emergency interventions intended to flatten the curve earlier in the pandemic have shown that another world is possible. It should not have taken an international health crisis to unlock policy changes and additional financial supports for caregivers, low wage workers, and people receiving social assistance. The Ontario government should build on the temporary, supportive policies introduced during the pandemic to ensure that children and families living in poverty in Ontario do not face worsening hardships. We cannot stop the fight to end child poverty, even in a pandemic.

Ontario Campaign 2000 provides the following recommendations for a provincial budget designed to support vulnerable children and families: Make Policy and Funding Decisions Based on Ensuring the Needs of the Most Vulnerable are Met; Improve Income Security for the Long Term; Ensure Equitable Access to the Public Education System and Safe High Quality, Affordable Childcare; Implement Labour Reforms to Keep Workers and their Families Safe; and Support Tenants and Precariously Housed People. Read the whole Ontario Fall 2020 Budget submission.

Make Child & Family Poverty History

Ontario Campaign 2000 released its most recent report on child poverty today, designed to provide the Ontario government with policy recommendations for the next iteration of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.  The most striking finding in the report shows that Ontario children face higher rates of poverty now than they did 30 years ago, when the federal all-party resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000 was signed.

The report entitled “Make Child and Family Poverty History: A Vision for Ontario’s Next Poverty Reduction Strategy” finds that 1 in 5 (18.7 per cent) of children under 18 live in poverty, and 1 in 5 children (20.2%) of children under 6 live in poverty in the province, with higher rates experienced by children who are Indigenous, racialized, recent immigrants, and in female-led lone parent families. Read our full press release here.

Ontario Campaign 2000 urges the government to focus on much needed policy changes and targeted investments designed to eradicate child and family poverty while developing the next Poverty Reduction Strategy. These include addressing inequities faced by marginalized groups; supporting vulnerable workers through increased worker protections and minimum wage; ensuring provision of public, high quality child care; and increasing the rates for social assistance and the Ontario Child Benefit.

Read the report in English or French.

Stop the Cuts Campaign

Stop the Cuts to Social Assistance Campaign launched last month. Ontario Campaign 2000 joined 2 dozen organizations to figure out what to do about the many cuts coming to social assistance. With the Transition Child Benefit due to be eliminated November 1st, the definition of disability due to change shortly thereafter, and hundreds of millions in cuts due shortly after that, there is a lot to worry about.

In response the groups have formed a coalition called the Campaign Against the Cuts to Social Assistance.

We hope you will join in.

Over the next few weeks, we are working to raise awareness about the TCB cut. Since we are just 37 days from the end of a program that serves approximately 32,000 children, and makes up as much as 30% of the income of vulnerable families, we are zeroing in on that.

The first step of that is to launch our new coalition, which we announced today with the attached release.

The coalition is off and running, with our web site launched as of today at www.stopcuts.ca . Our Ottawa partners will be holding a Town Hall this evening while Windsor, Thunder Bay, Hamilton and Toronto activists are raising the issue in municipal and provincial venues this week.  As we move forward more partners will be tabling motions for their local councils, writing open letters to their MPPs, inviting their networks to sign our online petition, and posting on social media (hashtagging #TransitionChildBenefit and @ mentioning @stopcuts1). These and other action are all ways to make noise in every part of the province about the TCB, and this coalition is here to support that work. 

We hope you will join in the advocacy and we hope you will join the coalition.

Please let us know if you’d like to be a member, and send along a logo if you’d like us to add you to the web site.

Please also let us know about actions your organization is taking , however big or small, and we will add it to updates

And of course take a moment to go to stopcuts.ca, where we have tools like:

               • Links to our online petition

               • Some sharable graphics for social media

               • A draft of an open letter you can send out

               • Backgrounders and information on the TCB
As well, we will soon be adding:

               • A draft of a motion you can take to your local council

               • A guide to how to lobby your MPP

We look forward to working with you to turn around the pending cuts to Ontario’s most vulnerable people.

Thanks for taking a stand on this important issue.

Gender Equity in the City of Toronto

On September 18th, we submitted a letter to Mayor Tory and Executive Committee on behalf of 30 organizations and individuals supporting the development and resourcing of a Gender Equity Lens and a Gender Equality Office for the City of Toronto. 

Read the City’s report and our response.


Reflections on Proposed Changes to Social Assistance

Income from social assistance should play an important role in poverty reduction among families in Ontario.  As we approach the provincial budget, we feel it is an appropriate time to reflect on these proposed changes and to highlight where government can fulfill its promise to provide a caring and compassionate system for those who need it most. Read our full analysis.

Income Security and Workers’ Rights in Ontario: What Next?

On January 16, 2019, Ontario Campaign 2000 brought together individuals and organizations across Ontario to discuss recent changes to social assistance and workers’ protections — and discuss next steps for advocacy. Jennefer Laidley (Income Security Advocacy Centre) and Pam Frache (Workers’ Action Centre) presented. Time was dedicated to participants’ questions and key messages concerning the proposed and legislated changes.

Read teleconference summary.