August 28, 2014
Proven approaches to alleviating poverty
This report examines poverty reduction initiatives that are generating promising results around the world, with a focus on innovations in poverty measurement, programs and supportive infrastructure. The summary report highlights key findings and recommendations from the full study.
Since releasing its first Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2008, Ontario has made major new investments in poverty-related initiatives. These include increases to the Ontario Child Benefit, implementation of full-day kindergarten, new investments in affordable housing units, increases to the minimum wage, skills training, efforts to support vulnerable workers, and a review of social assistance programs.
Now, as it considers options for a new strategy, the province is reviewing new directions other governments are taking to meet poverty reduction goals. The Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto has prepared a report, What Works: Proven Approaches to Alleviating Poverty, for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to help identify and evaluate these trends. The What Works report examines poverty reduction initiatives that are generating promising results in key peer jurisdictions including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. This Summary Report highlights key findings and recommendations of the more comprehensive study.
The Mowat Centre’s report is not an assessment of the current Poverty Reduction Strategy and did not evaluate the effectiveness of existing initiatives within Ontario.
A Note on the Economic and Political Context
Policies and programs that address poverty in Ontario are situated within a unique economic and political environment.
Ontario’s economic context poses particular challenges to current poverty reduction efforts. Due to the global recession of 2008, as well as to structural economic shifts, employment opportunities are increasingly part-time and precarious, with reduced job security and benefits, and minimal control over working conditions.1 Women, racialized communities, newcomers, people with disabilities, and Aboriginal peoples, among others, are more likely to be employed in precarious jobs.2 These groups experience poverty in relatively higher numbers and require solutions that are tailored to their unique needs in order to move out of poverty.
In addition, policies and programs at the provincial level are substantially affected by the federal government in Canada. This presents challenges not faced in some other jurisdictions. In particular, the Canadian federal government has a prominent role in income supports and social housing funding. These federal benefits and services form part of the existing framework for poverty reduction. Changes in federal policy, or in levels of funding, may present significant challenges for provinces in their efforts to reduce poverty.
August 28, 2014
- Law Commission of Canada. 2012. Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work. http://www.lco-cdo.org/vulnerable-workers-final-report.pdf. [↩]
- Ibid [↩]