As Canada’s federal government is set to release its first major report on its economic initiatives (including the multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package that was part of the January federal budget), the Recession Relief Coalition has released its own report on “what the recession looks like” this morning. The coalition is a broad-based group of more than 260 organizations and 1,100 individuals across Canada. Some key findings from the coalition’s research report:
- the number of single people on Ontario Works (provincial welfare) reached an all-time record of 130,180 in April, 2009
- Ontario’s real unemployment rate (the official unemployment rate, plus people who are “discouraged” and have dropped out of the labour market, plus involuntary part-time workers) is now well into the double digits at 13.6% and is a staggering 28% for youth aged 15 to 24.
- Credit Canada (which helps people deal with debt) has had a 42% increase in new clients in the past year.
- Non-profit and community-based programs and services are being over-whelmed with growing demand; foodbanks in Toronto report that a record one million people were forced to line up for food last year.
The Recession Relief Coalition sets out a policy agenda that includes increases to federal and provincial income assistance programs (including welfare and employment insurance); plus increased funding for the non-profit sector, including housing and homelessness programs.