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Strengthening Community Linkages On Poverty Reduction In Ontario

Date post:01-Nov-2014
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  • 1. November 2009
  • 2. Progress made; major challenges ahead...
    • In 2008 / 2009, the 25 in 5 Network played a central role in keeping the spotlight on poverty in Ontario's political agenda
    • From the start, the Network set out to:
      • build a broad umbrella of champions;
      • engage decision makers to achieve change; and
      • set the agenda by proposing:
        • idea of targets;
        • multi-dimensional proposals for policy focus;
        • organizing core constituencies to expand consultations; and
        • framing poverty reduction as good for economy.
    • Measurable progress has been made, but economic slowdown presents serious challenge to sustaining momentum
  • 3. Looking back: Towards 25 in 5
    • Three main driving factors behind the coalition:
      • advocacy efforts in 2006/07 around the National Child Benefit Supplement claw back and Ontario Child Benefit;
      • advocates growing interest in international movement for poverty reduction and progress in other jurisdictions; and
      • City of Toronto commitment to support community efforts to advocate for a poverty reduction strategy in Ontario.
    • 25 in 5 established August 2007 - founding members challenged all parties to adopt the target in their platforms
    • Loose steering committee structure set up with close to 30 members in regular attendance
  • 4. How we work
    • Network has grown -> more than 560 Toronto-based and provincial organizations with local / regional networks and leadership in communities across the province
    • About 20 partner organizations have taken leadership roles as part of Steering Committee, supporting a province-wide campaign
    • Network supported by Convening Group, Communications Committee, and various action tables and work groups
    • Governance less about top-down, hierarchy and more about how autonomous partners can contribute to a movement in a coordinated fashion
  • 5.
    • Colour of Poverty Campaign
    • CASSA
    • Daily Bread Food Bank
    • Income Security Advocacy Centre
    • Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition/MCC
    • Ontario Association of Food Banks
    • Ontario Coalition for Social Justice
    • Ontario Campaign 2000
    • Ontario Federation of Labour
    • OMSSA
    • Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
    • Social Planning Network of Ontario
    • Stop Community Food Centre
    • St. Christopher House
    • United Way Toronto
    • Voices from the Street
    • Wellesley Institute
    • Workers Action Centre
  • 6. What we set out to achieve...
    • Overall goal:
    • A PRS that would reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in five years and 50% in ten years through progress in good jobs, strong income security programs, and solid social infrastructure
    • Longer-term Objectives:
    • Measurable and significant poverty reduction in Ontario from provincial policy and investments
    • Ongoing province-wide, cross-community engagement and movement building
    • Public support & recognition that poverty reduction is central to the social and economic health of all Ontarians
  • 7. Approach to Movement Building
    • Encourage people with direct experience to take on leadership positions nothing about us without us
    • Reach out to many sectors (faith, education, health, women, municipal, labour, business) for active support and endorsements
    • Identify community leadership across Ontario; being part of a larger province-wide movement through the cross-community approach
    • Secure media coverage in Toronto and communities across Ontario
    • Avoid common coalition pitfalls:
      • remain loose but focused,
      • respect partners autonomy,
      • assume collaboration around specific goals is mutually desirable,
      • encourage diversity of tactics / approaches within the umbrella
  • 8. Where Weve Been
    • Summer/Fall 2007 focus on getting commitment from all parties during provincial election campaign
    • Jan 2008 Initial 25in5 Forum
      • Attended by 250 people from across Ontario
      • Preliminary discussion of What is PRS?, principles for poverty reduction, and poverty measures
    • Jan/March 2008 25 community meetings
      • Held across province to test / refine the 25 in 5 Founding Declaration (policy framework for PRS)
  • 9. April 14, 2008 Queens Park Forum
    • 500 people attended
    • 25 in 5 Founding Declaration released; called for PRS to address 3 priorities: sustaining employment, livable incomes, and strong supportive communities
    • Presentation of Declaration to Minister Matthews - culmination of months of movement building, showing geographic and sectoral breadth and a united front
    • Consolidated motto / model of nothing about us without us as an integral part of how 25 in 5 would move forward
    • Coverage showed media was ready to pay attention front page Star, coverage in Globe, CBC, across province editorials, columns
  • 10. 25 in 5 Founding Declaration: Still the anchor
  • 11. Toward a Provincial Plan
    • April to July 2008: 50 consultation meetings across Ontario
      • Network supplemented governments official consultations
      • Built bridges with individual MPPs and Ministers on Cabinet Committee - 44 MPPs and thousands of Ontarians participated
      • Released consolidated report on community input at conclusion
    • October 2008: Forum at Queens Park - Countdown to Ontarios Poverty Reduction Strategy
      • Attended by over 500 people
      • Released Five Tests for Success of Ontarios PRS:
        • a 25 in 5 target;
        • a way to measure progress;
        • policy specifics;
        • legislation and accountability; and
        • a down payment in the 2009 budget.
  • 12. Towards a Provincial Plan (contd)
    • September 2008: face-to-face with beginning of recession
      • Network focus shifts to new narrative to frame PRS:
      • we cannot afford not to address poverty: crucial as economic stimulus in short term, crucial as human development strategy for Ontario's long-term prosperity
      • - op-eds, cost of poverty reports, editorial meetings
    • November 2008: Leadership Forum to discuss poverty reduction Blueprint
      • Kick off of provincial tour to get community input on Blueprint
      • Visited 26 communities; more than 1000 participants
  • 13. December 4, 2008: A PRS for Ontario There is a lot more work to do before we can say we have succeeded, but today we have built the foundation for real progress on poverty. We should celebrate this achievement. We will be focusing now on the next steps: the work that needs to be done to implement the plan announced today. -- Pat Capponi responding to the Ontario governments Poverty Reduction Strategy
  • 14. 25 in 5s Response
    • Network and advocates across the province greet the announcement with cautious optimism: a start, a turning of the corner... but not a done deal...
      • PRS is generally regarded as a good start and an important commitment.
      • Signals a change to way poverty is understood in Ontario; represents the end of era of blaming and demonizing the poor.
      • Recognition that much work to be done to fill in the gaps.
    • Network moves to frame investme
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