I received the following in response to my letter about the basic income pilot project that the Ontario government is cancelling. I know this is a form letter, but it doesn’t address the pilot project at all, and talks about the 1.5% increase in “support rates” as if this is up from 0%, not down from the previous government’s planned 3%.
None of this is surprising, just disappointing.
Thanks for getting in touch with me to share your views about our plan to reform social assistance in Ontario. I appreciate hearing from you.
Our social assistance programs are an important part of the safety net designed to assist our most vulnerable people. This is an important responsibility, and one we take seriously. Upon assuming government and reviewing the system we inherited, it quickly became apparent that the status quo was not working for people in need. Instead of helping people get their lives back on track, the old system left too many people trapped in a cycle they could not break out of.
We’ve set an accelerated 100 day deadline to develop and announce a sustainable social assistance program that focuses on helping people lift themselves out of poverty. Our goal is to do more to help people get off social assistance, find good jobs and get their lives back and track. While we are doing this work, we will be providing Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients with an across-the-board 1.5 per cent increase in support rates to help them with a higher cost of living. These efforts will go hand-in-hand with our previous commitments to reduce gas prices by 10 cents per litre, lower hydro rates, and provide targeted tax relief for working parents and minimum wage earners, all of which will provide focused benefits to lower income families.
Social assistance will always be about compassion for people in need, but it must also be about lifting people up and helping them get their lives back on track through more jobs, more opportunities and more hope. Tackling the serious issues facing our social assistance system isn’t an easy thing to do. But it’s the right thing to do, and we’ll get this right.
Thanks again for contacting me.
Doug Ford Premier of Ontario