Region of Peel Welcomes Province’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
BRAMPTON, ON. (Dec. 18, 2008) – Peel Region Chair Emil Kolb called the Ontario government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, announced last week, a promising start to reducing the effects of poverty in Ontario.
“A provincial commitment to reducing child poverty by 25 per cent in five years could bring significant benefits to single parents, and young families with children, who are among the fastest-growing components of Peel’s population and among the most vulnerable to poverty,” Chair Kolb said, adding that new immigrants, visible minorities and unattached seniors are also vulnerable.
“The Region spends nearly 30 per cent of its annual operating budget ($325 million), and almost 20 per cent of net property tax expenditures ($142 million) on three programs that support low-income families in Peel: Ontario Works, Children’s Services and Social Housing. So property taxpayers, here and across Ontario, carry a significant share of the costs of poverty,” Chair Kolb said.
According to the 2006 Census, nearly 15 per cent or 167,000 Peel residents live below the low-income cut-off (LICO), a commonly used measure of poverty. A family at or below LICO spends more than 55 per cent of its income on food, shelter and clothing, leaving little for other essentials such as transportation and health related costs. Twenty per cent of Peel’s children in general and 48 per cent of Peel children in newcomer families in particular are living in low-income families, significantly higher figures than the 2001 and national rates of 14 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.
Regional Councillor Allan Thompson, Chair of Peel Region’s Government Relations Committee, said that while many individuals may only experience low income for a short period of time, the effects of chronic poverty are far reaching and include serious health effects that ultimately have an impact on the demand for and cost of health services.
“An April 2005 report by Peel Health showed that people in low income are often making a choice between paying rent or buying food. When shelter or nutrition is inadequate over a long period we know there will be serious health effects, in particular for young children.
“The provincial focus on child poverty will support many local initiatives to provide families with resources and opportunities that give their children a good start in life. This is an important strategy in breaking the cycle of poverty,” Councillor Thompson explained.
The Region undertook a strategic review of poverty in 2005 that highlighted demographic, economic and labour market trends affecting poverty in Peel. It assembled a large and growing body of information the Region is using in a wide range of collaborative efforts with community based organizations. In addition, the Region of Peel, United Way of Peel Region and its community partners established the Peel Poverty Strategy Committee in 2007 to develop a comprehensive local strategy aimed at reducing and preventing poverty in Peel.
To view the committee’s report on poverty in Peel as well as Peel’s Position Statement on Poverty, visit www.peelregion.ca/social-services/poverty-stat.htm. For Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, visit www.ontario.ca/breakingthecycle
The Human Services Department supports full participation by all residents in the economic, social and cultural life of the Region by providing a continuum of supports for vulnerable or at-risk members of the community. The department works collaboratively with other Peel agencies to improve the opportunities and quality of life for children, families and individuals living in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.
The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon.
For more information on the Region of Peel, please call 905-791-7800, or visit www.peelregion.ca.