Over 150 nonprofit leaders attended our Budget 2021 Forum, sharing ideas and urgent actions that need to be in the 2021 Ontario Budget if it is to meet the needs of our communities in the second wave and on into the recovery.
Their ideas, and our renewed Call to Action are below.
Feel free to use these ideas and others to call on all elected officials in Ontario to support a budget for all our communities.
Call to Action
We call on all Leaders and all MPPs to ensure a safe and equitable community during the pandemic and begin to plan now for a just and inclusive recovery – to make Ontario a fair, equitable and inclusive place where everyone belongs.
The challenges we have faced for so long have been brought into even starker relief by the events of the last two years.
Too many Ontarians live in poverty, struggle to make ends meet, don’t have a safe place to live, find themselves unsafe and unprotected at work, and are left without access to safe and affordable childcare, elder care and mental health care.
Addressing these issues is everyone’s business. Falling short leaves us all unsafe, robs people of their potential, costs us all too much, and undermines what we stand for: a place where everyone has a fair chance at a good life.
We call on all elected MPPs to commit to end poverty; reduce gender, racial and income inequality; and create an Ontario where everyone has hope for a brighter future.
Action should be grounded in meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and a commitment to ending systemic discrimination and anti-Black racism. It must address the realities of those most harmed, including Indigenous peoples, Black people, people of colour, women, immigrants, LGBTQ2S+, youth, seniors and people with disabilities and/or those facing mental health challenges.
We learned clearly in the pandemic that when governments act with purpose, progress is possible.
Our priorities are to:
- Fully implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and commitments to address anti-Black racism
- Build an economy with fair and equitable opportunities and decent work for all.
- Create pathways out of poverty by ensuring that everyone has income security and the supports they need to live with dignity.
- Ensure affordable, appropriate and safe housing is available to all.
- Invest in inclusive, healthy communities with affordable and quality childcare, elder care, and public education, pharmacare and dental programs, transit and transportation, and community programs and services.
In the next budget, we call on MPPs from all parties to support crucial steps toward the goals in the 2021 Call to Action, including:
An economy with fair and equitable opportunities and decent work
- Ensure every worker in Ontario has access to paid sick time so they don’t have to choose between endangering their coworkers and risking their livelihood
- Ensure staff in front line jobs have access to the personal protective equipment they require, and pandemic pay that offsets the costs and risks associated with their roles
- Provide the oversight and regulatory environment required to ensure workers have protection from unsafe conditions and the tools to address the safety issues they encounter
Pathways out of Poverty
- Minimize claw back on income supports from other jurisdictions and reinvest any revenues from remaining claw backs into income supports for vulnerable people
- Set rates for all income supports at levels that provide livable incomes for recipients
- Address the breakdowns and backlogs in the Social Benefits Tribunal so everyone has access to a fair hearing
- Review the changes to social assistance administration to ensure that everyone has access to appropriate supports from case workers, and no one is shut out by digital access issues
Affordable, appropriate and safe housing
- Increased investment in the construction of safe, decent, appropriate, purpose built, affordable and deeply affordable rental housing
- Create a realistic plan to preserve tenancies and prevent evictions both now and at the end of the eviction ban, and expand rent bank programs to minimize unnecessary evictions
- Address the growing issues of rural homelessness across Ontario
- Ensure the Landlord Tenant Board is providing due process to all parties, and that digital hearings do not exclude any parties from access to justice
Inclusive, healthy communities
- Make the Investments and regulations necessary to that ensure that services like childcare, elder care and mental health care are accessible, safe and appropriate
- Ensure access to safe, reliable, affordable transit, as a critical way to support access to services and employment
- Implement new programs to ensure that every Ontarian has digital access, and is able to connect to the services, programs and systems that are increasingly online
- Support food security through continued food programs but also through a recognition that adequate incomes are the most effective way to ensure secure access to appropriate food
Our broad coalition includes people with lived experience, community agencies, social justice and faith groups, the labour movement, nonprofits, racial justice groups and employers. We worked together throughout the 2018 election, the COVID-19 pandemic and the crises of recent years, and are continuing to engage elected MPPs and Ontarians in this Call to Action.