CFUW Ontario Council submits an annual brief concerning the Ontario Budget, this year to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Our topics were based on the 2018 survey of Ontario clubs.
Our recommendations included:
1. Gender-based Analysis: In order to support the needs of women, it is essential to have a gendered-based analysis of programs and services offered by the government. Financial support for this program becomes essential.
2. Gender-based Violence: There has been a massive demand for services for sexual assault clinics, a constant need for women’s shelters, and the far-too-long ignored problem of male victims of sexual abuse. Continued stable and expanded funding is required.
3. Early Learning and Child Care: What continues to be needed is:
a. a quality, affordable, universally accessible and comprehensive early learning and child care program (ELCC), emphasizing the development of the whole child;
b. staff that are paid commensurate with training, and
c. funding involving all levels of government through cost-sharing mechanisms.
4. Health care: Based on the five principles of Medicare as outlined in the Canada Health Act, that a strategic long-term vision of health care, including long-term and home care, in Ontario be developed and funded properly.
5. Poverty: Think holistically. It has been said that poverty is a full-time job, trying to balance costs, revenue and access to services. Paid employment is absolutely invaluable, only as long as you are gaining more than you’re losing. Going to work does require a support system – food, housing, transportation, care for the family – something that many of us are lucky enough to take for granted. If it becomes necessary to pay more for that support system than one would receive from OW or ODSP, frustration is created, hence a return to social assistance.
6. Housing and Homelessness:
a. Continue, on target, with funding to the Community Homeless Prevention Initiative and implement recommendations by the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness.
b. Support low-income households in Ontario through continuing financial commitments for: social housing repairs and retrofits; the Extended Portable Housing Benefit Pilot (20 million over 2 years); supportive housing units. According to CMHA, every $10 invested in “housing-first” services means an average savings of $21.72 in other areas of government spending.
c. Promote affordable housing options and mixed housing (market rental and market ownership) through:
1. Continuing to fund a rebate for development charges to builders of new multi residential rental projects, and 2. Maintaining provincial inclusionary zoning (IZ) regulations and approving municipal IZ bylaws as they are rolled out across the province.