Definition: End Poverty in all its forms everywhere
List of Policy Changes and Cuts:
- Changes to Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
- Cancellation of the Basic Income Pilot Project
- Reducing funding to children aid societies
- Cancelling fund to help subsidize childcare centre costs for parents
- Changing policies around rent control
There were a range of cuts and policy changes that aligned with the “No Poverty” SDG. ODSP, which provides up to $1,169 a month, is an inadequate income support for anyone living with a disability or illness that prevents them from working full time. However, it is better than Ontario Works, which pays just $733 a month and is geared to those without disabilities and expected to work. There are concerns about the change in definition of “disability” that will exclude people newly diagnosed with so-called “episodic” disabilities such as mental illness, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and some cancers. At least one-third of the 375,000 people currently receiving ODSP suffer from episodic disabilities that make maintaining employment a challenge. Without the supplemental income, this change may result in increased homelessness.
Under the basic income pilot project, approximately 4, 000 households received a supplemental income. Under the program, low-income recipients received a maximum of $16,989 per year, while couples receive up to $24,027, less 50 per cent of any earned income. There are cases that recipients have signed one-year lease agreements with landlords which they could no longer afford. There were also reported cases of recipients returning to school to obtain a degree, in order to improve their prospects of obtaining a job. As many of these individuals were entrenched in a cycle of poverty, the premature cancellation of the program will mean that this cycle will persist for many recipients. Beyond the implications to those enrolled in the program, there was also resounding disappointment from the research community that the project was cancelled. One of the pillars of the project was data collection and to measure the effects that a basic income would have under set conditions. Without that data, it is difficult to ascertain whether basic income is an effective means of breaking the cycle of poverty, as well as affecting health and wellbeing.