CBC news, Sunday, December 12, 2010
The Ontario government’s review of its welfare system wastes valuable time, says an Ottawa-based advocate for the poor.
Former Statistics Canada chief statistician Munir Sheikh is one of two people leading the review of Ontario’s welfare system. (Fred
Entraide Budgétaire director Hélène Ménard, whose organization helps poor people manage their money, says the government’s planned 18-month review of welfare and disability payments has its timeline backward.
She says the system’s problems are already known, and the province should give poor people more to live on now.
“It’s just very difficult for people to live on the amounts that the government is giving them right now and I would really, really encourage
them to bring that amount up fast and do the review afterwards,” she said.
Ménard says the average single person on welfare in Ottawa survives on less than $8,000 a year.
The province has billed the review as the largest of its kind in more than 20 years, with the goal of getting more people jobs and financial stability.
Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program provide social assistance benefits for more than 830,000 people in the province.
The review, which has been touted by Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government as the first step toward providing better training and education, will be led
by Munir Sheikh, Canada’s former chief statistician, and Frances Lankin, a past president of the Toronto United Way.