Social assistance recipients in Ontario

I have written a monthly newsletter for years  about social assistance caseloads. I was asked if it is face-bookable or tweet-able. With this post, I am going to try to make that possible. It is an exciting time because social assistance recipiency ( if there is such a word) is at the crossroads. March has traditionally marked the high point in social assistance caseloads. And following the 1980's and 1990's recessions, caseloads had multi-year peaks in March 1983 and March 1994 in Ontario . The file is here: Ontario unemployment and SA rates 1981 to 2008, 2009 monthly to April 2012 (1) Will March 2012 will be the high water mark? There are no safe bets here. But few months have shown a retreat  like April 2012 in all OW categories of singles, couples, and lone…
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Talking to seniors about working poverty

I recently co-authored a paper on Working Poverty in the Toronto Region with some colleagues at Statistics Canada. I also  have a PowerPoint presentation that I take on the road. I have presented to Annual General Meetings, think tanks, universities, groups of advocates, municipalities, special government panels, and to the public at large. One of the presentations to the public was at the Gardiner Museum as part of Open Doors Toronto. I tailored my presentation to a public audience. I took out the math and the technical discussion. The audience was polite and appeared interested and appreciative. At the end after about 40 minutes, I asked if there were any questions or discussion. Some polite and easy clarifying questions were asked and answered. Just as I thought we were winding…
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Working Poor & Responding to the Ontario Budget

April 25 marks two important moments. For  everyone who remembers the film Miss Congeniality with Sandra Bullock and William Shatner ( among others), filmgoers will recall that a contestant was asked  to describe her ideal "date". http://www.hark.com/clips/rktkddnmkl-describe-your-perfect-date She thought long and hard and finally said: "April 25th" She noted that the days were getting longer, days warmer, plants greener among other things etc. Poor Bill Shatner overacted apoplexy with the response. Anyways for those of you who are wondering about your ideal date, a wonderful evening on working poverty and responding to the Ontario Budget is in store. See you there! econimc inequality poster Main Website is:
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Cut in Half! Another ‘Close Encounter of the ‘30’s kind’

Back in 2006, I recorded the personal reminiscences of my mother and youngest aunt.   I never tire of reading their recollections of the Great Depression and World War II. A few weeks ago, after releasing a paper I co-authored on the working poor in Toronto, I was asked to depute before the Toronto City Council committee that was dealing with the possibility of cutting the pay of cleaning and janitorial workers ‘in half’ in order to cut costs. This was not long after Electro-Motive, owned by Caterpillar, called on its London, Ont., workers to OK a 50 per cent pay cut before leaving Canada entirely. It got me thinking. I knew there was something about ‘pay being cut in half ‘in the family remembrances. I found it. Here is the…
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Of the 1%, for the 1%, to the 1%

  Of the 1%, for the 1%, to the 1%? Single People and social assistance In 2012, three years following the greatest recession since the Great Depression, 1.1% of Ontarians (157,000 men and women) received social assistance (Ontario Works) in Ontario (in February 2012).  The number of single people receiving Ontario Works has increased by over 65% (157,000 vs. 95,000) since the year 2000. Social assistance benefit rates Ontario’s single social assistance rate (Ontario Works) was increased to $599 a month in December 2011, with $227 allocated (by regulation) to basic needs. The minimum monthly cost of a nutritional food basket requiring secure, energy efficient, and affordable storage, freezing, refrigeration, and cooking facilities is $270. Ontario’s single social assistance rate was $663 a month in 1993. If adjusted for inflation…
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