TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 29, 2012) - An Ontario-wide coalition of more than 90 groups and organizations concerned with growing inequality released an unprecedented new report today showing that Ontario has sunk to last place in Canada when measured against every important social indicator.
"Most people would be shocked to know that Ontario has seen the largest increase in income inequality and the second largest jump in poverty rates in all of Canada," said Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan. "By cutting vital programs instead of reversing a decade of corporate tax cuts, the government is handing our wealth over to bankers and CEOs. It is exacerbating inequality."
"Within two years, Ontario has fallen from seventh place to dead last in funding for all social programs. Ontario residents are paying the shortfall in hundreds of ways: we have the highest tuition fees and school fees, the highest proportion of out-of-pocket health care costs, a burgeoning array of user fees, and thousands of families wait years for support for children with disabilities," said Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition and the principal author of the Report. "Ontario is at the cusp of a five-year plan for cuts to jobs and services that will cleave an even deeper divide. But there are alternatives and five years of further cuts is not the solution."
The comprehensive report pulled together national research demonstrating that Ontario is at the bottom of the pack when it comes to equality and social programs and that a growing number of Ontarians are falling behind in the economy. The report found that:
- 40% of Ontarians - fully 600,000 families - are struggling with incomes that are stagnant or declining;
- Ontario funds all of its social programs - including health care to education - at the lowest rate in Canada;
- While poverty rates fell in five provinces, Ontario had the second highest increase in poverty rates and intensity, leaving 393,000 children in poverty (one in seven);
- Ontarians pay the highest school fees, out-of-pocket health care fees and tuition fees in the country; while
- Ontario has led the country on cuts to corporate and income taxes.
Download a full copy of the report: www.weareontario.ca/wp-content/uploads/OCF-RPT-FallingBehind-20120829.pdf.
Download quick reference fact sheets: www.weareontario.ca/wp-content/uploads/OCF-RPT-Factsheets.pdf.
"Having one in seven children living in poverty is bad enough, but learning that one in two children from certain racialized groups is living in poverty is absolutely appalling," said Avvy Go from the Colour of Poverty. "It is new immigrants and racialized communities that are the hardest hit by job loss and service cuts. They are struggling at the margins and they are overlooked in the province's plan for economic recovery."
"This report isn't exposing the invisible hand of the economy, it is documenting choices - choices that governments make when they slash jobs and public services. Choices that negatively impact people's lives," said Ryan. "It is time to cancel tax cuts and loopholes for banks and corporations and reinvest this money in making Ontario more livable for our communities. After all, we are Ontario."
The Ontario Common Front brings together more than 90 community groups and labour unions across Ontario that are working to expose growing inequality and propose workable solutions to fix it. Visit the campaign website: www.WeAreOntario.ca.