Have you ever played the Last Straw board game? Apparently it is a good conversation starter about social conditions that impact our health and chances to lead a decent life. People say it is difficult staying alive in this game. Toronto Public Health published a report "Unequal City" that tracks trends of 34 health indicators in different income groups. A good read before we meet for a game of The Last Straw on August 10th at 3 pm at 74 Frederick Street!
Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo
Join the Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo Action Group on September 18th in applying the local framework for Poverty Elimination to analyse the party platforms this federal election. We will be looking into proposals that ensure adequate income and a range of supports for all Canadians from affordable housing, public transportation, health care, child care to supports for seniors. Everyone in Canada deserves a decent life and you will be prepared to talk to your candidates about important social issues. Come when you can between 2 pm and 6 pm at YWCA KW 1st floor at 151 Frederick St. in Kitchener.
Ontario has launched public consultations on the Labour Laws Reform: The Changing Workplace Review. Input from communities and groups will be collected until September 18th. The list of public input sessions will be updated at the Ministry of Labour website.
The consultation will consider how the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and Employment Standards Act, 2000 could be updated to best protect workers while supporting businesses in the changing economy.
Join the ongoing conversation in your community or start conversations with people around you!
"We applaud the change of language used in the second Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy that acknowledges the potential of all citizens to prosper. However, neither the 2nd Poverty Reduction
Strategy nor the Fall Economic Update Backgrounder, Supporting A Fair Society, go far enough to articulate the holistic vision and approach needed to eliminate poverty and guide successful social assistance reform in Ontario." Read the whole Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo submission to the Ontario pre-budget consultations and make sure to follow updates on our Ontario Budget 2015 page with more submissions to be published.
Past September, Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo Action Group has sent a letter to local Members of Parliament, to oppose the Federal the Bill C-585 that is depriving the most vulnerable of human dignity and right to social security. (You can read the arguments supported by the Poverty Free group here). At his point, the Bill than many human rights organizations ask to be withdrawn, has been included in the new Omnibus Budget Bill C-43 instead. Both Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo and Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo Group are endorsing the open letter written by Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) and its partners written to the Minister of Finance Joe Oliver asking him to withdraw the sections 172 & 173 from the Bill C-43. Read more background information from ISAC and some media coverage of the issue.
Centre for Community Knowledge has published a profile of the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo. It showcases its poverty elimination work through the Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo Action Group and its engagement on social policies. "When you see how it impacts the real world, it stops being boring," are the words of Charles Nichols, Homelessness Awareness Week coordinator, as he responds to those who say that analyzing budgets or policies can be scary or dry. See more what the group members had to say and let us know about the ways in which you can contribute.
The Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo Action Group has dedicated its stretched resources to pass its knowledge and experience to different government bodies. We are still waiting for a holistic vision and approach regarding poverty elimination in Ontario that shows our political leadership has heard what has been said in our community and in communities across all of Ontario.
Read the submission as a response to the Ontario Government Priorities: Invest in People, Infrastructure and Business
Pre-budget consultations are underway across Ontario. Standing Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs and the Ministry of Finance are visiting the Region and opening discussions about the investment needed from both the local and the provincial perspective. The Fair Society has to remain one of the priorities in the 2014 Budget, not only to reduce reliance on social services, build the workforce and strengthen Ontario's economy (2013 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review), but to make life livable for so many hard working Ontarians, in and outside of the labour force.
Read more about the presentations made by the Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo and the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo to the Standing Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs on January 13th 2014.
Groups and individuals, associated with the Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo, participated with dedicated presenters at the special budget public input session at the Waterloo Regional Council. Most were supporting the Council in its requests to the Provincial Government for decent funding of social programs to increase access to discretionary benefits, to increase investment in housing and homelessness related programs, and to make sure that most vulnerable citizens of the Region receive free buss passes. You can hear their presentations at the Council Webcast page- hear them and see how you can join them!
Poverty Free Kitchener Waterloo Action-Group has used the Local Framework for Successful Poverty Reduction to address the funding for discretionary benefits, as well as the communication about eligibility of benefits and the need for wider and more inclusive budget consultation process. Watch the archived webcast of the session at the link Council Webcast and read Poverty Free KW submission documents: Local Framework for Poverty Elimination letter and slides.