Today, the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance, led by Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh, released its much-anticipated final report, charting the path to an improved social assistance system in Ontario.
The report can be accessed at: http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/home
Over the last twelve months, CivicAction and United Way Toronto have supported the Commission’s work by convening a Business Advisory Panel of senior executives to provide strategic insights and advice on the Commission’s approach and direction. As a result of this engagement, members of the Business Advisory Panel have signed an open letter to the Premier, highlighting the importance of reform and calling on the province to act on the Commission’s report.
The panel was Chaired by Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group and included:
CivicAction has worked with stakeholders across all sectors to promote income security reform, leading initiatives such as the Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults Task Force, the Making Housing Happen campaign, the Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force and more recently at our 2011 Greater Toronto Summit. Building on this work, we were pleased to partner with United Way Toronto to bring private sector leaders to the table to discuss this important issue.
The need to reform our existing social assistance system is now clearer than ever. The existing social assistance system is not meeting the needs of Ontarians.
Our economy is changing and as labour shortages loom, Ontario needs a social assistance system that supports and enables people to participate in the workforce to the maximum of their abilities. Members of the Business Advisory Panel agreed that the Commission presented “a compelling blueprint for transforming social assistance in ways that will enable all Ontarians to achieve their potential and make valuable contributions to society and the provincial economy.”
Implementing the Commission’s recommendations will help reduce poverty and ensure Ontario’s continued prosperity. CivicAction encourages the government to continue to demonstrate leadership on this issue and we look forward to contributing to this ongoing conversation.