Ontario dead last in terms of inequality, poverty and funding for public services

Ontario is dead last in Canada when it comes to growing poverty, increasing income inequality and financial support for public services, says a coalition of labour and community groups formed last spring to oppose the province’s austerity budget. The report by the Ontario Common Front released at Queen’s Park Wednesday, aims to inform Ontarians about the social and economic issues at stake as the province begins drafting next spring’s budget, the group says. It is a sobering backdrop to the ongoing dispute between the Liberals and the province’s teachers who are facing a legislated two-year wage freeze, they add. “It is time for Ontarians — including our policy makers — to face the disturbing facts about inequality in our province,” says the report entitled, “Falling Behind: Ontario’s backslide into widening inequality, growing poverty and cuts to social programs.” “The most recent budget announcements from the Ontario government — that Ontario is facing five years of ‘austerity’ budgets — will only widen the chasm if left unchecked,” it says. The report, a compilation of more than a dozen recent studies and analyses, notes that Ontario had the largest change in income inequality in the country between 1981 and 2010, and the second largest increase in poverty after British Columbia. Ontario’s poverty rate in 2009 was 13.1 per cent, or almost 1.7 million people, the report notes.

Publication Date: 
August 29, 2012
Journal Name: 
Toronto Star