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Make it liveable

The Campaign
The goal of Make it Livable is to demonstrate that doubling social-assistance rates is not only the right thing to do for vulnerable Ontarians, but it makes economic sense too. Spearheaded by United Way Elgin Middlesex, Make it Livable draws together a range of individuals and community partners in a common pre-budget submission to the Ontario government in February 2024. We invite you to dig into this website for more information. Endorse the recommendation to the province. Raise your voice for neighbours-in-need.

The Issue
Social assistance rates fall far short of meeting the basic needs of people who live on the margins. They’ve been stuck at unlivable levels for a long time, but today’s food inflation and rent escalation are adding hardship to hardship.

Our most vulnerable neighbours – families with kids, individuals in crisis , and people with disabilities – are unable to afford even basic needs.

In fact, Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates would have to DOUBLE in most instances just to allow a recipient to reach Canada’s official poverty line.*

Doubling down on a solution
We call on the provincial government to make social assistance livable.

As Ontario residents who are also taxpayers and voters, we support doubling OW and ODSP rates to bring people above the official poverty line.

This would provide immediate relief for lower-income earners while easing the social and health burdens borne disproportionately by people living in poverty. It would also benefit businesses, boost worker health and well-being, and create a positive multiplier effect in the local economy*.*

Poverty is not ok
Everyone deserves a dignified, livable level of income. We need to ACT NOW to improve the future for our neighbours, friends and families relying on social assistance programs in Ontario. We are United in Action and we stand for a community where local services, agencies and public policies give everyone a fair shot at a good life.

By the numbers

  • The official poverty line in Ontario is $2,302/month ($27,631/year). The deep income poverty line is $1,727/month ($20,723/year).
  • An average market-rate, one-bedroom apartment in Waterloo Region costs $1,700/month.
  • Meanwhile, a single person on Ontario Works receives $733/month.
  • A single person on Ontario Disability Support gets $1,308/month.
  • ODSP rates increased by 6.5 per cent in 2023. While this was a welcome step, it didn’t go far enough to catch up to inflation. OW rates have been frozen for five years, a period when Canada’s cumulative inflation totalled 18 per cent.