Why this campaign?
Across Ontario people are alarmed. We see the social safety net unraveling before our eyes. There are recent cuts to almost every social program: health, social assistance, housing, education, legal aid, daycare and more.
This means many people are suffering. It means the gap between rich and poor is widening.
At the same time, the Ontario Government proudly proclaims that it has the lowest spending on social programs of ANY province in Canada! Ontario Liberal and Conservative governments have slashed corporate taxes, resulting in much lower revenues.There is something very wrong with this picture. These cuts need to stop. We need to mend the social safety net!
Who are we?
A group of low-income consumer survivors and their allies came together at the end of 2012, to take action. We decided to stitch together our own social safety net to show the Ontario Government how it should be done, and to put pressure on them to mend this net and restore our social programs.
What are we doing?
We asked people across the province to help us. And people responded!
Each person who took part created an artistic square that represents the social program they are most concerned about. We received more than 600 squares from people and groups across the province. We then stitched the squares together into a massive social safety net, measuring over 200 feet in length!
We are using this net to send a strong message to the Ontario Government:
- Our social safety net needs to be repaired and strengthened!
- The Ontario Government needs to reinvest in social programs!
- This investment will actually help stimulate the economy!
So it makes sense on all fronts to mend our social safety net.
What are we asking for?
Though we know there are many changes that need to be made, we have narrowed our demands down to FIVE that we see as being a good first step for the Ontario Government to start mending the safety net:
- Restore social assistance rates to the levels they were before the Harris Government: a 23%hike to ODSP and a 55% hike to Ontario Works
- Raise the minimum wage to $14 an hour and thereafter update it every year to reflect the cost of living
- One per cent of the Ontario budget to be spent on sustainable, safe, truly affordable, quality housing
- Fully fund dental services for all people who are low income, including those on fixed income as well as the working poor
- Lower post-secondary tuition fees by 30% for all students.
Our finished social safety net was unveiled for the first time on the Queen’s Park lawn on October 17 2013, the United Nations date for the Eradication of Poverty.
For more information on upcoming events, go to our Events page.
For more information on the campaign, contact Jessica Petrillo at 416 516 1422, ext 250 or [email protected]