The Ontario government launched its public consultation on its proposed Poverty Reduction Strategy with a few bumps this week. Closed-door, invitation-only meetings are not the best way to engage the people of Ontario, including those who have a direct experience of poverty.
There is real expertise and a great deal of wisdom from the “ground up” about practical solutions to poverty in Ontario – that’s been the experience of the Wellesley Institute over the past 10 years as we have been the leader in funding community-based research. And that was the first message that we delivered to Ontario Minister Deb Matthews, who is chairing the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction, during a four-hour session in Ottawa that included representatives from across the province.
Poverty is fundamentally about a lack of income, but there are important dimensions to poverty, including the lack of affordable housing. So, we advised the Minister that there are both important strategic indicators of growing housing need in Ontario (such as Core Housing Need), a reliable set of targets (from the Ontario government’s own Provincial Policy Statement 2005), practical and effetive strategies to get us from here to there, and important and tangible ways to measure progress.
Stay tuned as we work with others, including our partners in the 25-in-5 Poverty Reduction Network , to put much more detail on the emerging framework to make a real and substantial reduction in poverty in Ontario.