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“Being poor means…not having a dollar to put under your daughter’s pillow when she lost a tooth and having to tell her that the tooth fairy must be very busy.” – A Mother on Social Assistance

  • 393,000 Children live in poverty in Ontario
  • 37.5% of Food Bank clients in Ontario are under the age of 18
  • The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 is 17%
  • Over 150,000 households are on waitlists for affordable housing
  • A lone-parent on Ontario Works lives on $9,122 less than the Low Income Measure
  • Only 1 in 5 children has access to regulated child care

Source: 2011 Ontario Report Card on Child & Family Poverty

Family Service Toronto

Ontario Campaign 2000 Response to Budget 2016

Toronto – Ontario’s 2016 Budget signals some renewed attention on poverty reduction for children and families with investments and proposed policies in the areas of housing, social assistance and post-secondary education. Long-term, dedicated investments are now needed to help families keep up with the skyrocketing costs of living and to wipe out child and family poverty for good. For our full response, read our media release.

Ontario Campaign 2000 Calls for a Multi-Pronged Anti-Poverty Strategy in the Current Changing Workplaces Review

While we understand the scope of this Review is limited, we urge the Ontario government to adopt a more holistic approach to examining the issues around the Employment Standards Act and recognize the fact that in order to address some of the more systemic issues, we need a multi-pronged strategy.  

Such a multi-pronged strategy must tackle key issues such as income security; a healthy labour market; better strategies to create good jobs, including full-time jobs with decent wages and benefits; better protections for workers, enhanced access to unionization for workers in the service sector; and affordable, accessible and high-quality child care that enables parents to work and lift their families out of poverty. Read the Submission in full.

Creative Youth Volunteers Wanted in Toronto!

Family Service Toronto & Campaign 2000 are looking for energetic and creative youth ages 17-25 interested in learning more about poverty through arts-based workshops from mid-July to August as part of the Youth Mobilizing to End Poverty project.

2015 Ontario Budget Response

Toronto – Ontario's 2015 Budget lacks significant investments in the social infrastructure required to reduce child and family poverty in the province. Budget 2015 states an intention to build on the province's commitments to poverty reduction but falls short of making the investments in income supports, childcare, housing and extended health benefits that will improve the day to day lives of families in low and modest income today.  
Read media release

Child Poverty in Ontario: 25 Years Later

Infographic long description

Infographic shows significant socio-economic changes that have directly impacted the realities of children and families living in poverty in Ontario.

Ontario Campaign 2000 Pre-budget Submission.

With the introduction of Ontario's second Poverty Reduction Strategy, Ontario Campaign 2000 urges the province to invest in and implement programs associated with the new strategy without delay. Building on the progress that has been made, and improving the lives of all Ontarians needs to be the priority for Budget 2015. We recommend that Government:

  • Make paid work a pathway out of poverty
  • Provide a strong social safety net
  • Ensure access to early learning and child care
  • Improve access to affordable housing and end homelessness
  • Prioritize opportunities for  youth
    Read our submission

2014 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty

Main page:
Release of 2014 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario

Ontario Campaign 2000 released its annual Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario on November 24th in Toronto. The 2014 report, entitled Child Poverty, 25 years Later: We Can Fix This, reminds us that twenty five years after committing to ending child poverty by the year 2000, child poverty still persists. The report highlights that child poverty rate is higher than in 1989 and we need to address difficulties experienced by families, and build on our progress. Practical actions and recommendations are outlined that the government can immediately take to eradicate child poverty.

Read full report in English:
Child Poverty, 25 years Later: We Can Fix This (Nov, 26, 2014)

And in French:
Rapport 2014 sur la pauvreté des enfants et des familles en Ontario
La pauvreté infantile, 25 and plus tard: Nous povons y remédier
(Nov, 26, 2014)

Ontario Campaign 2000 on the New Poverty Reduction Strategy

The new Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy was released on September 3. Click  here to read our response. (Sep. 19, 2014)

Responding to Budget 2014

On July 14th, the Ontario government re-introduced Budget 2014. Find Ontario Campaign 2000's analysis in our media release.

Can Kathleen Wynne change the conversation on poverty?

Op Ed by Leilani Farha, executive director of Canada Without Poverty, published on Sunday July 13. The article explores the challenges and possibilities for poverty elimination faced by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Read it on the Toronto Star Opinion/Commentary page  

Ontario Election 2014: Where do the parties stand on poverty reduction?

Today, Ontario Campaign 2000 and the 25in5 Network for Poverty Reduction released the results of a survey sent to the Liberals, NDP and Ontario PC party on their anti-poverty commitments. All three parties committed to the Poverty Reduction Act in 2009 so it is important to  know where they stand in advance of election day on June 12th.

Read our joint press release on the survey results and the grid summarizing the parties' responses.  
Today's Toronto Star features a story on the grid – read the story here. Read the responses from all three parties here: The Ontario Liberal Party Response, Ontario NDP Response and Ontario PC Party Response.

Ontario General Election – Get Involved!

There are many ways you can get involved in the provincial election before June 12, 2014. You can ask questions about poverty when candidates come to your front door, speak up at all-candidates debates, post questions on social media and submit an Op Ed to local media outlets. Download our 2014 Ontario Election Resource Kit for helpful information and policy recommendations from Ontario Campaign 2000 and our sister coalitions.

We will be posing questions to candidates about poverty over social media – follow us on Twitter at @Campaign2000. You can also visit to download the infographics and tweet, post, email and share widely! A new infographic will be released every week during the election.

Mother's and Caregivers Send Recommendations to Party Leaders

Photo from Mother's Day Breakfast May 2014

On May 9, 2014 Ontario Campaign 2000, Family Service Toronto and the Income Security Advocacy Centre partnered with Ryerson University's School of Social Work, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy and the Ryerson Students' Union to host our third annual Mother's Day Breakfast. Each year, the breakfast honours the advocacy work of mothers and caregivers living in low income.

This year's event was planned by a dedicated committee of mothers and the program included performances by the very talented Domanique Grant, inspiring speeches from peer advocates and a recognition of FST's 100th year providing services and fighting poverty.

Participants were asked to brainstorm ways the Ontario Government could improve the lives of Mothers and Caregivers in Ontario. The women came up with 35 good ideas which were compiled into a list and have been sent to provincial party leaders Andrea Horwath, Tim Hudak, Mike Schreiner and Kathleen Wynne. Read the letter and mother's ideas

Ontario Campaign 2000 and other organizations release open letter pressing for child support rule change

Dear Minister McMeekin, Minister Piruzza and Minister Sousa,

As you make your final decisions about Budget 2014, we are sharing with you an open letter endorsed by over 40 organizations across Ontario.

The endorsers are encouraging you to take specific steps to recognize the best interests of nearly 19,000 Ontario children in families receiving social assistance who are entitled to receive child support. These children are unable to gain the benefit of these payments because under current OW and ODSP rules, their lone parent's benefits are reduced dollar-for-dollar. This reduction, however, runs directly counter to your government's continuing commitment to reduce child poverty in Ontario.

As an initial signal of positive reform in the area of child support, the letter's endorsers urge you to immediately implement two recommendations made by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance:  

1. End dollar-for-dollar deductions of child support payments from lone parents' income benefits and instead treat those payments in the same way as income earned from employment,

2. Give lone parents receiving social assistance the right to choose whether to pursue child support.

The full version of the letter in English and French provide more information and the list of endorsers. We look forward to your response and for action on this critical issue.


Anita Khanna
Coordinator, Social Reform/Ontario Campaign 2000
Family Service Toronto

plus over 40 organizations listed who are endorsing the letter

Read Toronto Start article Province urged to allow women on welfare to keep child support (April 17, 2014)

Campaign 2000 Hosts Webinar on Improving Child Support for Mothers on Social Assistance in Ontario

The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario (October 2012) recommended treating child support payments the same as earned income. This would mean that single parents receiving social assistance could retain the first $200 of their child support payments and half of any amounts in excess of $200, instead of having their benefits reduced dollar-for-dollar for any child support they receive. The Commission also recommended making the pursuit of child support voluntary.  There has been no action to date.

Campaign 2000, in partnership with the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC), hosts a province-wide webinar On Feb. 6th, 2014 in which we discuss some key important issues, invites speakers from Quebec and Ontario to share their analysis and recommendations and together are working to press for positive change in the treatment of child support for mothers on social assistance.

Below are two Power Point presentations that are presented at our webinar:

  1. Income Security Advocacy Centre: Child Support Payments Deduction from Social Assistance – Backgrounder
  2. FAFMRQ: ENGLISH - Child support and social programs: a discrimination against children! & FRENCH - Le traitement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants dans les programmes sociaux: une discrimination envers les enfants les plus pauvres!

Listen to the webcast recording in full (mp3)

Release of 2013 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario

Ont C2000 Report Card: Beyond Austerity: Investing in Ontario’s Future

Ontario Campaign 2000 released its annual Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario on Tuesday November 26th in Toronto.  The 2013 report card, entitled Beyond Austerity: Investing in Ontario’s Future, calls for renewed all-party commitment to eradicating child and family poverty and for investments that will address the serious challenges faced by families in communities across the province. Policy recommendations are offered to all political parties to redress the persistence of child poverty in Ontario along with province-wide and local, community level data.

Read our Press Releases - in English and in French
Read or download a copy of the provincial Report Card in English or French

Take Action! Send a message to your MPP and join us in calling for bold action on poverty reduction in Ontario:

Ontario Camapaign 2000 Poverty Reduction Strategy

Ontario Campaign 2000 made a submission of policy recommendations regarding the next Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy, that we expect will be announced in December 2013.  To learn more about our proposals, read our submission here.

Witnesses to poverty youth volunteer project

“When you see an injustice, you have the responsibility to act.” June Callwood

Join Ontario Campaign 2000's Witnesses to Poverty Project

We have finished recruiting volunteers for our Summer 2013 WITNESSES TO POVERTY PROJECT. Our youth volunteers are earning their community hours by working on their poverty-themed art projects, which will be presented at the end of this summer in Toronto. Please continue to check back for further details on the location.

The C2000/FST Witnesses to Poverty project offers youth an opportunity to learn about and reflect on key poverty issues and to contribute creative artwork to a multi-media display. Under the guidance of Campaign 2000 and Family Service Toronto staff, youth volunteers will be able to apply and develop their artistic and creative skills to create reflections on poverty in Toronto. Participants will also learn what they can do to influence positive social change to address poverty through art and other actions.  Art pieces from the project may be put on display at Family Service Toronto (FST) and/or other public events.  Photographs, videos and art submissions may be used in future Campaign 2000 work.For more details, please contact us at: 416-595-9230, ext. 226/244.

2013 Ontario Budget

Budget 2013: Strong Steps Forward but Still Missing the Target

TORONTO-The 2013 Ontario budget makes strong steps forward in some areas but does not fully increase the Ontario Child Benefit, the cornerstone of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy. At the same time, the budget starts the process of social assistance reform. Further action is still required in other areas that will reduce child poverty in the province. Read full press release

Campaign 2000 Releases its 2012 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario

Campaign 2000 released its annual Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario on Thursday, February 28th 2013 in Toronto.  The 2012 report card, entitled Strengthening Families for Ontario’s Future, calls on Ontario’s minority government to reduce child and family poverty in the 2013 Budget.  Policy recommendations are offered to all political parties to redress the persistence of child poverty in Ontario.

Read our Press Releases - in English and in French
To read or download a copy of the provincial Report Card in English or French, please click on the following links:

2012 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario: Strengthening Families for Ontario’s Future in English; and
Renforcer les familles pour l'avenir de l'Ontario - Rapport 2012  sur la pauvreté des enfants et des familles en Ontario in French

Ontario Liberal party candidates urged to make child & family poverty a priority

On the eve  of the Ontario Liberal party leadership convention and the selection of Ontario’s next Premier, Ontario Campaign 2000 writes each candidate urging them to make ending family & child poverty their priority as Premier.  
Read full letter

Responding to the Social Assistance Report

Ontario Campaign 2000 has reviewed the final report released by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario on Wednesday October 24th under Commissioners Frances Lankin and Dr. Munir. Read OntC2000 recommendations in response to the report.

Modernizing Child Care in Ontario

Ontario Campaign 2000 welcomes the Ministry of Education's discussion paper that acknowledges the need to continue the public discussions about a system of early learning and childcare for Ontario. Read our submission on Modernizing Child Care in Ontario.

It’s time to build dignity into Ontario social assistance

The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario is preparing its final report containing specific recommendations and a concrete action plan for reforming the province’s social assistance system. The Toronto Star published on Oct. 9 an op-ed outlining five tests that a broad coalition of groups from across the province, including Ontario Campaign 2000,  developed over the summer to review the Commission’s findings. The full text of the piece can be accessed online.

Another Toronto Star article is dedicated to community start-up and maintenance benefit - a benefit available to low-income which is going to be cut off by the end of this year.

Join Income Security Advocacy Centre's "Call-in Coffee Break" to save the CSUMB!

On Friday, Sept. 28th take 5 minutes to tell your MPP to reverse the cuts to housing benefits for people on OW and ODSP!

Every month, thousands of people in Ontario need the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and the Home Repairs Benefit (HRB) to stay housed or establish a new home. These benefits work because:

  • They are targeted to people on social assistance (OW and ODSP) who are among the most vulnerable in Ontario. People on assistance have very low incomes and cannot afford these expenses otherwise.
  • They provide direct assistance. The benefits help people move into a new home, pay rent or utility arrears, get major repairs done to their home, or help them move to safer or more secure housing. 
  • If CSUMB is denied, there is a right to appeal. This ensures fairness, accountability and transparency so that people in need will not be unfairly turned away.

The provincial government’s budget measures have eliminated these critically important programs.
Read full event announcement

Witnesses of Poverty - Youth Art Gallery

Ontario Campaign 2000 presents the Witnesses of Poverty Youth Art Gallery on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 from 6-8pm. The event is being held at The 519 Community Centre located at 519 Church Street. The exhibition includes art pieces created this summer by youth volunteers that represent their experiences witnessing  poverty in Toronto. Through this event the volunteers will raise awareness of poverty through various art mediums including film, photography and paintings.

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Youth Day 2012: Artistic expressions of poverty

Volunteers from left: Thuvaragan Subramaniapillai, Shevon Kepple, Shawna Luff, Trevor Janega and Mounizha Zainullah join FST's Stefanie Morra.

Art was the medium as Serve! Youth volunteers focused on the state of child and family poverty in Ontario at Youth Day on July 22nd at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. The volunteers staffed a booth sponsored by Campaign 2000 and organized by Family Service Toronto’s Social Reform unit.   

Read Past News

Press Releases & News

March 20, 2012: From the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Ontario Budget Watch: A Post-Drummond, Pre-Budget Analysis In his new report, Ontario's Fiscal Reality: Glass Half Empty or Half Full?, economist Hugh Mackenzie takes a critical look at the assumptions that drive the Drummond report's claim that Ontario is in a fiscal crisis that can only be resolved through unprecedented austerity.

Ontario Association of Food Banks released 'Combating Hunger: A Snapshot of Hunger in Ontario in 2011' . According to the report, 395,000 people used food banks in Ontario in March 2011. "Although the number of food-bank users in March 2011 was down slightly from March 2010, food banks collecting data this month for next year's report say demand is up again, the association said." (Toronto Star)

Oct. 1, 2011: June Callwood Campaign Against Child Poverty released public ads.

Sept. 8, 2011 - Media release: "Pathways to affordable housing" - all-party election forum

Nov. 30, 2010 - Response to Government Announcement of Social Assistance Review

Nov. 24, 2010 - Ontario Poverty Report Card Press Release (English and French)

Mar. 26, 2010: Ontario Budget - The 2010 Ontario Budget includes much needed funding to save child care services for low income families, but little else that will bring down child and family poverty rates in Ontario.
Read the full press release


Read Past Media Releases



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