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 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

Campaign 2000 stands in solidarity with Black communities.

Ontario Campaign 2000 is outraged by the continued systemic violence and police brutality against Black bodies and the hostile responses to protests opposing anti-Black racism and supporting civil liberties.  We grieve with our Black and Indigenous colleagues and community members who are suffering.

We denounce all forms of anti-Black racism, colonialism and white supremacy, and any effort to erase or deny the legacies and ongoing impacts of these systems of oppression and repression.    

As an organization focused on poverty eradication, we know that Black and Indigenous communities have much worse health outcomes and exponentially higher rates of poverty than white Canadians and that this is a both a result of and a strategy to maintain systemic oppression. Poverty rates for Black (33%), First Nations (ranging from 32%-48%), Inuit (31%), and Metis (21%) children in Ontario are astronomical, particularly in contrast to the national average (17%). This should serve as a sobering reminder that systemic inequities based on discrimination become intergenerational quickly. This cycle must be ended in our lifetimes.

ONC2000 supports the calls from Black leaders and organizations to:

  • Declare anti-Black racism a public health crisis. 
  • Enhance accountability infrastructure to address police brutality, police violence and harms to Black communities.
  • Strengthen the Toronto Anti-Racism Directorate with a clearly articulated, targeted and systemic anti-Black racism strategy. 
  • Demand the province of Ontario commit to the allocation of protected funds to provide culturally appropriate health and well-being support within Black communities. A critical component of undoing anti-Black racism is working towards making Black life livable. Culturally appropriate organizations must be given the support they need to continue providing these services. 

ONC2000 also support the calls from the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) to:

You can read the full C2000 statement, produced with Family Service Toronto, our host organization

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. 

International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and call for gender parity. It is also a day of unity, reflection, advocacy and action. In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Ontario Campaign 2000 has created an infographic highlighting the gendered nature of poverty and the sorts of polices needed to help lift women up and create a more just society.

Ontario 2019 Pre-budget Submission

Ontario is a wealthy province, yet the latest child and family poverty data illustrate that not all Ontarians start from an equal place. According to the latest tax filer data, 19.5% of children under the age of 18 live in poverty (Census Family Low Income Measure After Tax). The percentage of children in marginalized families who live in poverty increases dramatically due to systemic barriers: one in two children of immigrants, one in four racialized children, and one in three Indigenous children.  Significant levels of child and family poverty are present in each and every riding across Ontario. Families in Ontario need a strong social safety net to escape poverty. The Ontario government has the opportunity to drive down poverty rates through the 2019 budget by investing in key areas to support work becoming a pathway out poverty, access to child care, improved income security and affordable housing.

Read Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs