Imagine living on $10,000 per year in Toronto, searching for work while trying to stretch that $815 a month to cover housing, food, transportation and all other necessities. This is the reality for single people on social assistance.

To help them avoid falling into deep poverty – and the consequences that poverty has on their overall health – Ontario must increase the social assistance benefits that unemployed Ontarians who do not qualify for Employment Insurance often rely on. Single adults without dependants who are deemed employable receive about $8,800 in social assistance benefits annually, plus $980 in other tax credits and benefits (e.g., GST/HST tax credit). This income amounts to 40 per cent of Toronto’s poverty line. In other words, singles on social assistance can purchase only 40 per cent of the goods and services they need to achieve a basic standard of living.