Minister’s rhetoric doesn’t match action on social assistance

Green Party of Ontario leader and Guelph MPP, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in response to the government’s social assistance reforms:

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“The Minister’s words don’t match the facts in her proposed social assistance reforms.

The Minister talks about compassion, but her plan cuts planned social assistance rate increases in half to 1.5%, which is below the rate of inflation. How is this compassionate when people on Ontario Works live on $721 per month.

The Minister talks about helping people get into the workforce, but her plan cuts the wage exemption from a planned level of $400 per month to $300 before benefits are clawed back. This creates a disincentive to work.

If the government really wanted to help working people get out of poverty, they would not freeze the minimum wage at below poverty level rates.

The Minister talks about cutting red tape for people on social assistance, but her plan eliminates the basic income pilot, which is designed to reduce red tape for low income people. That is why so many conservative economists have supported the idea of a basic income.  

I am worried that the proposed changes to the disability definition will further restrict access to benefits for people on OW who clearly have a disability.

We need meaningful social assistance reforms to a broken system. We need to show real compassion and dignity to those who are struggling. Instead, the government has given us harmful cost-cutting measures dressed up with nice words”.