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CivicAction and United Way Toronto’s Business Advisory Panel sends open letter to Premier calling for reform of Ontario’s social assistance system

Brighter Prospects

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:

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:

  1. Marc-André Blanchard, Chair & Chief Executive Officer, McCarthy Tétrault          
  2. Alister Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, The Guarantee Company of North America
  3. Sam Duboc, Chief Executive Officer, EdgeStone Capital Partners
  4. Mitzie Hunter, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
  5. Bill MacKinnon, Former Chair, The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
  6. Carolyn McGill, President & Chief Executive Officer, Canada NewsWire
  7. Susan McIsaac, President & Chief Executive Officer, United Way Toronto
  8. Mike Pedersen, Group Head, Wealth Management, Insurance, and Corporate Shared Services, TD Bank Group
  9. Tim Penner, Former President, Procter and Gamble
  10. Alnasir Samji, Managing Principal, Alderidge Consulting
  11. John Tory, Chair, Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
  12. Beth Wilson, Toronto Managing Partner & Canadian Managing Partner, Community Leadership, KPMG

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.

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