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Feed Ontario calls for stronger social program support

By Randy Thoms Jan 13, 2024 | 10:03 PM

Ashley Quan with Feed Ontario speaks to a legislative committee at a pre-budget hearing, January 9, 2024.

Feed Ontario is calling on the provincial government to increase spending on social programs.

It presented its recommendations to government during a recent pre-budget hearing.

Manager of Research and Government Relations Ashley Quan says one calls for workers on social assistance to be allowed to keep more of their money.

“High clawbacks on earned income for recipients of Ontario Works act as a barrier to recipients from working more hours as they are essentially taxed fifty cents on every dollar. We recommend increasing the monthly earned income clawback exemption for Ontario Works,” says Quan.

Feed Ontario also wants those on social assistance who paid into programs such as employment insurance, Canada pension Plan, and WSIB to be permitted to keep more of those benefits.

“Instead of clawing these payments back dollar for dollar from social assistance, treat payments from these programs the same as earned income for social assistance recipients,” says Quan.

Feed Ontario also calls for stronger measures that prevent wage theft.

Quan says one in six people who visit a food bank are workers, who cited delayed wages as the main reason.

The organization is also calling for an increase in social assistance rates.

“Due to decades of freezes and minimal increases, social assistance rates today are hundreds of dollars lower in real money,” says Quan.

She says it only puts recipients in deep poverty and causes them to remain on the program longer.