Ontario's NDP

Ontario's NDP

October 01, 2007 10:11 ET

McGuinty Liberals Opposed Move to Speed Child Benefit

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 1, 2007) - The McGuinty Government's position on support for low income families was made clear during this year's Budget Hearings when they voted against an immediate implementation of the Ontario Child Benefit and increasing the minimum wage to a living wage:

NDP MPP Andrea Horwath: Be it resolved that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs strongly recommends to the Minister of Finance that the government, in its 2007-08 budget:

- Introduce a $10-an-hour minimum wage for Ontario effective May 1, 2007, and that the minimum wage henceforth be set annually so that a person working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage would earn an amount equal to or greater than the low-income cut-off for a single person living in Toronto as determined annually by Statistics Canada;

- Immediately eliminate the national child benefit clawback;

- Implement the first year of a two-year phase-in of an Ontario child benefit that would provide equal benefits to all low-income families regardless of source of income. The benefit would go to nearly one million Ontario children and would cost $325 million in fiscal year 2007-08, excluding those receiving OW and ODSP who would receive their full benefit through the elimination of the clawback;

- Honour the promises made in the Liberals' 2003 election platform to invest $300 million in new provincial money to expand Ontario's regulated, non-profit child care system and to extend child care assistance to 330,000 children;

- Stop hoarding the $392.5 million in federal housing funds set aside for the people of this province. The federal government has sent Ontario $312.3 million for affordable housing and $80.2 million for off-reserve aboriginal housing as part of the authorizations under federal Bill C-48, but the funding is stalled because Ontario officials won't spend these federal housing dollars until broader fiscal negotiations are completed.

- Releasing the money in the fiscal year 2007-08 budget would be a significant step towards meeting the government's housing promises and would provide 12,000 new rent supplements at $4,450 a unit and 7,000 units of affordable housing at $50,000 per unit.

- Allocate sufficient funds for the expansion of health-related programs aimed at low- and moderate-income families, including enhanced prescription drug, vision care and dental care coverage....

Wayne Arthurs (McGuinty MPP): I'm sure the member opposite will appreciate the fact that the government can't find itself in a position to support the extensive motion presented to us. Certainly there has been considerable debate of late around the $10 minimum wage on that particular motion. The government committed in its platform to raise the minimum wage to $8. It has done that effective February 1 of this year. We remain committed to seeing movement on the minimum wage front in a structured fashion and a responsible way within the economy's capacity to absorb that. We've had good cooperation over the past few years from the business sector in adjusting to the new minimum wage structures that have been put in place. We need to be cognizant of business needs to ensure that business does continue and that there are jobs for those who find themselves at the lower end of the wage scale. One way to do that is to ensure, as you adjust minimum wages, that you do it in a fashion that doesn't disrupt the economic climate, particularly to the disadvantage of those who most need it...

The Vice-Chair: Further debate? We'll vote on the motion. For the motion? Against the motion? The motion fails.

SOURCE: www.ontla.on.ca/web/committee-proceedings/committee_transcripts_details.do?locale=en&Date=2007-02-22&ParlCommID=7421&BillID=&Business=Pre-budget+consultations

Dalton McGuinty had time to give himself a $40,000 pay raise but low and moderate income families have been told to keep waiting.

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