U of T-affiliated study results could have implications for social welfare in Ontario

One of the most drastic changes to Germany’s welfare system, the 2005 Hartz IV reform, worsened health outcomes among unemployed people, according to a U of T-affiliated research study.

This specific reform in Germany’s welfare policies affected unemployed Germans who received needs-based unemployment assistance. Prior to 2005, this financial assistance amounted to 57 per cent of the recipient’s previous earnings. After the Hartz IV reform, however, the German government replaced these percentage-based payments with a flat-rate of 424 euros every month, cutting the average recipient’s benefits by 25 per cent.

A member of the NDP is calling on the Ford government to declare homelessness in the province a state of emergency.

Poverty and Homelessness critic Rima Berns-McGown recently demanded immediate action to properly fund shelters, along with transitional, supportive, and rent-geared-to-income housing for people in need.

She called it a crisis playing out in several communities, including Sioux Lookout and Kenora. Berns-McGown said people have nowhere to turn, resulting in preventable deaths.

The government of Ontario should empathize more with recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works.

Ontario Disability Support Program gives a couple no more than $785 and for a single person $500.

Come on now, a two-bedroom in Thunder Bay is about $1,037 a month and about $830 a month for a one-bedroom. How do you think we can live like this?

The city is already behind on its promise to build 1,800 new supportive housing units this year and needs significant new investment from other levels of government to meet its 10-year target, a city staff report says.

Though council just set the new target of creating 18,000 units over the next 10 years this past December — spaces that are meant for people experiencing homelessness where the rent is subsidized and they are provided with needed social and other supports — only 600 new units are currently funded in the city’s existing budget.

Every night, 160,000 children in Alberta suffer the all-encompassing effects of poverty. They are more vulnerable to issues affecting mental health, educational attainment, cognitive development, housing, relationships, employment, and food insecurity throughout their lives. In a province as wealthy as Alberta, it is an outrage for child poverty to persist…

What can we do to end child poverty in Alberta? Research shows that strong investments into families, including child benefits, nutrition programs, affordable housing, and subsidized, quality child care, are key to ending the cycle of poverty. To aid in reconciliation, culturally responsive solutions that provide Indigenous governing bodies with oversight for education and welfare of children on reserves is a necessity.