Advocating for Peel

Advocacy Issues

Poverty

Facts
  • People who live in poverty have higher rates of chronic illness, reduced levels of emotional and mental development and lower levels of academic achievement
  • In 2006, 61,300 children in Peel lived in poverty
  • As of June 2008 there were 2,697 families on wait lists in Peel for subsidized child care
  • Families are unable to commit to either full employment or retraining without reliable child care. This has a direct affect on the economy
  • Early childhood development is at risk in many families due to lack of early childhood education opportunities. This affects the future of the children, the community and the economy

Recommendations

Provincial
  • Provide funding for human services based on a more realistic formula for high population growth
  • Embarked on a community engagement process with stakeholders including the Best Start Network, early learning and child care service providers and parents to inform the development of Peel’s 2010-2011 Child Care Service Plan
  • Work in partnership with the Region of Peel and community stakeholders to ensure the achievement of a 25 percent (25%) in five years poverty reduction goal in Peel, and thereby to bring an estimated 17,500 (of approximately 61,300*) children out of poverty by 2013
Federal
  • Set realistic target dates, e.g., five years, to reduce the number of Canadians living below the poverty line
  • Develop a national sustainable strategy to ensure all families in need can have access to child care
  • Dedicate $6 billion (equivalent to one cent of the GST) to municipalities to apply where needed on an ongoing basis. (Note: This will only increase the municipal share of taxes collected in Canada from 8% to 9%)
  • Double the amount of the Working Income Tax Benefit, a refundable tax credit available to low-income individuals or families, to $2,000 a year per family
  • Increase the National Child Benefit Supplement by $1,200 per child
  • Enter into a renewed Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the provinces to permit the expansion and improvement of high quality child care

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Affordable Housing

Facts
  • The severe shortage of affordable housing in Peel has created the longest wait list for subsidized housing in Ontario (over 14,000 households)
  • Based on a 2009 survey, 84 per cent of applicant respondents are in core housing need (meaning they spend more than 30 per cent of their monthly income on shelter);
  • Roughly 11,500 individuals, including approximately 3,300 children and 1,000 youth, used homeless shelters* located in Peel in 2009
  • A family without priority status moving into affordable housing in Peel today has typically waited over 12 years for that placement. It is possible for someone on Peel’s waitlist to wait up to 21 years before receiving a placement in affordable housing

Recommendations

Provincial
  • Provide ongoing program funding that has the flexibility to be applied to new buildings as well as maintenance of current housing stock
  • Through the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, provide municipalities with the legislative and regulatory tools to address their local housing needs
Federal
  • Lead a national housing strategy including an immediate infusion of federal money into high-growth areas of the country that are in the most need of affordable housing
  • Reinvest current mortgage payments to CMHC and CMHC surpluses back into housing. Restructure mortgages that have long (e.g., 50 year) amortization periods and interest rates that are now far above market rates

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Immigration

Facts
  • Immigrants make up 49% of Peel’s population and about 80% of Peel’s annual growth.
  • In 2002, 46% of immigrants had one post-secondary degree, exceeding the Canadian average of 22%
  • About 60% of newcomers do not work in the same occupational field as they did before entering Canada
  • The lack of recognition of international credentials is a barrier to working in a related field and hinders families from re-establishing in Canada
  • Peel’s and Ontario’s immigration settlement funding will increase substantially by 2009-2010 but will still remain below that of other provinces

Proposals

Provincial
  • Develop, with Peel, policies and programs that support effective integration of newcomers into workplace which supports desire of all levels governments to put our wealth of intelligence to work
  • Work with stakeholders to further develop fast-tracking foreign credentials assessments that could be used to evaluate qualifications and certification in regulated and non-regulated occupations
Federal
  • Consult with municipalities to reform the immigration point system to meet the needs of regional economies such as Peel’s
  • Provide more realistic funding for immigrant settlement support on the basis of GDP or other recognized economic indicators, and require provinces to use allocations only for immigrant settlement supports
  • Allocate settlement funding one year after landing to the province where service is provided, rather than to the province of entry
  • Provide a federal subsidy for first time job experience and internship programs for underemployed newcomers
  • Establish employer mentorship incentive program to support internationally trained professionals, e.g., health professionals

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Employment Insurance

Facts
  • Unemployed workers in Ontario receive $4,630 less in EI benefits than the average unemployed worker in the rest of Canada
  • Only 22% of unemployed workers in the Metropolitan Toronto Census Area received EI benefits in 2004, compared to the national average of 43%
  • Increased part time and temporary work in Ontario means workers have to work more hours to qualify and they receive benefits for a shorter duration
  • Peel’s unemployment rate jumped from 6.4% in 2006 to 6.9% in 2007
  • Manufacturing makes up 20% of Peel’s economy and has been hit hard by the current slowdown and by its dependence on the US economy
  • Peel expects to have 600 more monthly social assistance caseloads in 2009. The cost to Peel taxpayers is $0.2 million for each 100 new monthly cases
  • For unemployed workers in Peel, social assistance is effectively replacing Canada’s EI Program as the social safety net of first resort

Proposals

Federal
  • Revise the qualification requirements for EI in Ontario to provide unemployed Ontario workers with the same EI benefits as other Canadians

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Health Services

Facts
  • Lack of per capita funding in the Canada Health Transfer will cost Ontario’s health care system an estimated $733 million in 2008-09 and a continued shortfall each year until the health transfer is phased in by 2014-15

Proposals

Federal
  • Increase Canada Health Transfer to per capita funding now rather than phase it in by 2014-2015

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Paramedic Off-Load Delay

  • A rapidly growing population* increases demand in the community for both paramedic services and hospitals
  • Paramedic call volumes continue to increase due to
    • Population growth;
    • Aging; and
    • Residents living in the community with more acute conditions.
  • Response times for Code 4 calls (most acute) continue to increase because resources are tied up in hospitals
  • Lengthening long-term care waiting lists and limited community support services compel hospitals to retain care of patients, interrupting intake of new patients and creating a chain reaction that stalls intake of emergency departments’ patients, and those arriving by ambulance
  • About 18% of acute care beds in Ontario are occupied by patients who are waiting to be discharged after treatment, or who cannot be discharged because their chronic care needs cannot be met in the community

Recommendation

Provincial
  • Continue with the dedicated offload nursing program by expanding the scope of the current agreements to include inclusion of all acuity levels
  • Move forward with the emergency department wait time strategies and set targets for paramedic offload times
  • Address capacity issues in the health care system in Peel, a community that grows by the size of a small town every year

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Senior’s Dental

  • Launched in October 2008, the Peel Seniors’ Dental Program is 100% regionally funded dental program for low-income seniors
  • $1.2M was dedicated by Regional Council to the Seniors Dental Program in 2010.
  • Public demand for this program has far outweighed current program funding capacity, and is currently full. In fact, in January 2010, Regional Council approved an additional $1.2M to provide service to an additional 600 clients
  • In June, 2010 the waiting list for this program was 3,210 people
  • Although Peel is still accepting names for the program waiting, with an average wait time of 9 to 12 months
  • The waiting list is currently growing by 75 to 100 cases each week.
  • Without increased funding, future pressures on this service (growth in seniors population, costs etc) are expected to reduce the reach of this program over the next 20 years

Recommendation

Provincial
  • Give the flexibility of utilizing low-income dental program funding to provide much needed dental care for our seniors population

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Infrastructure/Goods Movement

  • The Region of Peel boasts the densest network of 400 Series highways in the GTA
  • Three large intermodal goods terminals are found in the Peel area (including two of the largest in Canada)
  • Peel is home to Pearson International Airport, Canada’s primary cargo hub.
  • Peel accounts for 15% of Ontario’s exports
  • Peel is the junction point for Canada’s two busiest NAFTA corridors (Windsor/Detroit and Niagara/Buffalo)
  • Peel is also part of the largest consumer market in Canada
  • The GTA has the largest concentration of industrial square footage in North America and Peel has twice the industrial density of the GTA
  • Recent information indicates that about $1.5 billion of goods move through Peel every day on the east-west highways. 1 This figure includes goods moving to and from the two trade corridors

Recommendation

Provincial
  • Assume a leadership role in planning for and implementing improvements to the goods movement system in the Greater Golden Horseshoe;
  • Continue to encourage active Provincial representation on the Peel Goods Movement Task Force;
  • Expedite the planning and early designation and protection of major transportation corridors, including the GTA West and Niagara-GTA Corridors;
  • Expedite the widening of Highway 401 through Peel and Halton Regions and the extension of Highway 427

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Revised: Wednesday September 29 2010

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