Ontario Tories to unveil social assistance reforms on Nov. 22

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government is poised to unveil reforms to the province’s social assistance programs on Nov. 22.

In a statement on Wednesday, Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa Macleod said the government has spent 100 days carving out a plan to reform Ontario’s “disjointed patchwork” of programs.

“The previous government’s solution aimlessly threw money at the problem without any plan to help people get out of poverty,” she said. “The only measurable outcome has been trapping the very people the system is there to assist, in a deeper cycle of financial insecurity.”

The provincial government announced in July that it would be shutting down the Liberals’ basic income pilot project in Brantford, Hamilton, Lindsay and the Thunder Bay area. The year-old program was supposed to last up to three years. Payments for those in the program will be discontinued in March.

The government also said it would be reducing the previous government’s planned increase in social assistance rates from three per cent to 1.5 per cent.

As of July, the most recent numbers available, nearly a million Ontarians received benefits from either Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

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