April 15, 2021

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.

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