Bill 152, Ontario’s draft poverty reduction legislation, has been amended by the provincial government and the amendment proposed by the Wellesley Institute to recognize the importance of the third sector has been adopted by the province. Even more striking, the exact wording of our third sector amendment was incorporated verbatim into the draft law. On April 20, Aerin Guy and Michael Shapcott presented the Wellesley Institute’s comments on Bill 152 to the Ontario’s Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy. Our partners in the 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction, of which the Wellesley Institute is a founding member, made significant improvements with a number of other amendments. The bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a whole lot better thanks to our work and the work of our partners.
Bill 152, as amended has been ordered for third reading, which means that it could pass into law within a short period of time. This is a very important foundation to continue to build our work in strengthening the third sector, including funding, regulatory reform, and other supports, plus – of course – the long overdue need for a cabinet-level minister of the third sector.
Our third sector amendment, adopted verbatim from our submission, reads:
Importance of the third sector
That the third sector, including non-profit, charitable and voluntary organizations, are integral to a poverty reduction strategy by delivering the programs and services that matter to people, strengthening communities and by making a positive contribution to the economy.