Media Releases

An archive of Community Development Halton media releases dating back to 1999.

Share

Turning the corner on poverty

Burlington, December 10, 2008 -  Local Halton groups are welcoming a recently released poverty reduction plan by the Government of Ontario. The report entitled, Breaking the Cycle, provides leadership both socially and economically and turns a corner on poverty. It breaks away from the past when governments could ignore and could even make political gains on the backs of the poor with cutbacks in social assistance and social support programs.

Across the province and in Halton, individuals and groups concerned about poverty have been supporting the plan of the 25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction to reduce poverty by 25% for all within five years and 50% over ten years.

"We called on the Government of Ontario to produce a plan with targets, timetables and accountabilities," said Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton. "The plan released by the Government of Ontario is a key first step in improving the lives of Ontario's poor families and children, and commits to lifting 80,000 Ontario children out of poverty."

But she also stated that the plan does not go far enough to address those who are most at-risk of poverty, particularly seniors, newcomers, people with disabilities, members of racialized communities and those on social assistance. She said "more attention must be given to creating liveable incomes, early learning and childcare spaces and affordable housing."

The Burlington-Halton chapter of Make Poverty History is among those who are identifying the plan as a good foundation, but are pushing to see a good jobs strategy in which all people who work fulltime are ensured a standard of living out of poverty.

"Almost half of all Ontario families living in poverty have at least one parent working fulltime, year round," said John Versluis, who chairs the local group. "Hard working Ontarians who meet their responsibilities by working full time should not be forced to raise their families in poverty."

Anti-poverty activists are pleased that the Government plans to table legislation to have a dedicated secretariat to support the implementation of the poverty reduction plan and measure its success and failures. "We have a group in government with whom we can work to make this commitment to poverty reduction a reality," commented John Versluis.

"A recent poll by Environics Research Group showed that 81% of Ontarians support government action to reduce poverty - especially during hard economic times," added Dr. Edwardh. "It is critical that the Government of Ontario builds on this public support and makes an adequate down payment in their spring budget in order to meet their commitments and further strengthen their plan."

For local information on poverty reduction, visit Community Development Halton at www.cdhalton.ca. For more information on the 25-in-5 Network for poverty reduction, visit www.25in5.ca. You can also visit Poverty Watch Ontario at www.povertywatchontario.ca.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Ph.D.
Executive Director
(905) 632-1975

PDF Version of release

Share

Burlington, November 21, 2008 -  A new report from the Campaign 2000 coalition fighting child poverty states Ontario's child poverty remains high at 11.8% - that's 324,000 children.

In Halton, local Campaign 2000 partner Community Development Halton commented on the report.

"Here in Halton the latest information from the 2006 Census shows that our child poverty rate is 7.8%. Today we're in much more challenging economic times and we're concerned that child and family poverty in Halton will increase," said Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton. "Residents of Halton are not immune to the job loss occurring in the financial and manufacturing sectors." She continued, "Unemployment, family separation and stress produces family and child poverty. Kids are poor because their parents are poor."

The Ontario Government has stated it will be announcing its Poverty Reduction Strategy in December, following extensive public consultation which included a meeting here in Oakville on June 27, 2008.

"We'll be looking closely at the Government's poverty reduction plan to see how it benefits people in Halton. At the community level there's a limit to how much we can do to solve poverty. Now, more than ever, we need the provincial and federal governments to step up to the plate with a solid plan and investments in the spring budget," said Dr. Edwardh.

Community Development Halton supports the recommendations of the 2008 Ontario Report Card on Child & Family Poverty from Campaign 2000. The report outlines five areas for the Ontario government to act: raise the minimum wage to $11 by 2011 with indexation and develop a Good Jobs Strategy; fix social assistance, increase and index rates to support people moving out of poverty; fund more affordable housing, child care spaces, and post-secondary education and training.

These measures should be part of a multi year Poverty Reduction Strategy with a target to cut poverty levels in Ontario by at least 25% over 5 years. This would mean lifting 80,000 children out of poverty across the province by 2012.

"We can and must reduce child and family poverty in our province. Quebec brought in a poverty reduction plan and cut their child poverty rate by 50% over ten years. If they can do it, Ontario can do it," said Dr. Edwardh.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Ph.D.
Executive Director
(905) 632-1975

PDF Version of release

Share

Burlington, October 1, 2007 -  Community Development Halton, as a member of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO), welcomed Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty�s statement earlier today that, if elected, his party is committed to developing a poverty reduction strategy, with firm and measurable targets, within the first year of its term.

Over the past two weeks, Community Development Halton along with 10 other member organizations of the SPNO have held events in communities across Ontario, highlighting a strategy for poverty reduction in Ontario based on the concrete targets and timelines contained in the Campaign 2000 National Poverty Reduction Strategy Summoned to Stewardship released on September 11. The national report's author, Professor Marvyn Novick, spoke in Burlington last week, emphasizing that the costs of poverty to the health care, education, social service and criminal justice systems far outweigh the cost of eradicating poverty itself, and that concrete targets and timelines are essential for making real progress. Professor Novick cited as an example the radical decline in child poverty rates in the United Kingdom, after then Prime Minister Tony Blair adopted measurable targets and goals in addressing the issue.

In receiving the news of the Liberal announcement, Community Development Halton�s Executive Director, Dr. Joey Edwardh, commented:

"Poverty is a concern to Ontarians in all parts of the province. It exists in Halton and adversely affects the opportunities of children, of newcomers, people with disabilities and seniors. They have much to contribute and it is time to include them. A poverty reduction strategy with specific targets and timelines is a demonstrated way of building a community for all."

-30-

For more information, contact:
Joey Edwardh, Ph.D.
Executive Director
(905) 632-1975

Share

Community Development Halton joins provincial campaign

Burlington, September 12, 2007 -  Today Community Development Halton joins with partners in the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) to launch a cross-community campaign to make poverty reduction a priority election issue in Ontario. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton commented:

"Poverty is a concern of Ontarians in all parts of the province. It is important that they know there are demonstrated ways for the next Ontario Government to seriously reduce child and family poverty in the next five and ten year period."

In conjunction with this campaign, Community Development Halton and Halton Multicultural Council will be hosting a Community Forum on September 27, 2007 entitled: Leaving Our Social Footprint - Poverty Reduction Strategy with keynote speaker Professor Marvyn Novick, who is a leader of social policy change in Canada and the author of the recent Campaign 2000 report, "Summoned to Stewardship: Make Poverty Reduction a Collective Legacy."

-30-

For more information, contact:
Joey Edwardh, Ph.D.
Executive Director
(905) 632-1975

Additional information:

Community Forum

Media Release: SPNO Poverty Reduction Strategy

SPNO Poverty Reduction Strategy Summary

List of SPNO Poverty Reduction Strategy Events

Share

Burlington, March 1, 2007 - Community Development Halton (CDH) has released Pushing the Limits: Challenges of Halton’s Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Labour Force.

CDH Executive Director Joey Edwardh comments:

“As a community, we ask much of this sector and have high expectations: that it provide us with much-needed social supports, act as an engine for citizen engagement, represent and articulate the interests of citizens, and continue to make an important contribution to the economic prosperity of Halton."

She warns us, "Pushing the Limits finds that the pulse of the sector is erratic and weakening and that our nonprofit human services are in distress, threatened and unstable.”

In 2006, Community Development Halton researched the economic contribution and human resource base of Halton’s nonprofit human services sector. Conducted in conjunction with the Regional Chairman’s Roundtable on the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector, the study examined nonprofit organizations in areas such as children, youth, family and women’s services; support for seniors and people living with disabilities; shelter and housing; immigrant settlement and refugee assistance; and aid to people on low incomes.

Pushing the Limits highlights a dedicated, skilled and vital component of our local communities, which also adds $188 million annually to the regional economy plus volunteer time valued at an additional $52 million, employing about 5,000 people and engaging over 20,000 volunteers.

However, Peter Clutterbuck, Principal Investigator for the study, says:

“The sector’s human capital is the basis for this economic contribution; the stability and quality of its human resource base are critical to the sector’s capacity to continue performing both its social and economic roles effectively. Alarmingly, the study shows that the sector is pushed to the limits of its human resource capacity, and precariously balanced between sustainability and disaster.”

Pushing the Limits identifies five challenges to the strength and vitality of the sector’s paid and volunteer labour force, including: gender equity; competing in a tighter labour market; planning for the workforce of the future; supporting volunteers; and assuring a diverse base of organizations to provide a wide mix of essential social supports.

The report also suggests innovative and cooperative strategies within the sector to address these challenges, including: improved salaries and benefits and family and education leave programs ; a region-wide human resources development strategy; support for employee training and innovation; proactive strategies to attract young graduates and newcomers, such as student debt relief in exchange for a commitment to work in the sector; and volunteer support.

- 30 -

Media Contacts:

Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Peter Clutterbuck, Principal Investigator
(905) 632-1975 (905) 878-0955

Download


Key Findings:
Challenges to the Halton Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector

Gender Equity and Balance

Women constitute 90% of employees and 73% of volunteers in the sector, but are not proportionately represented at executive leadership positions. Low wages and poor benefits in the sector may reflect an undervaluing of the caring functions, performed by a predominantly female labour force, in the nonprofit human services sector.

Capacity to Compete for the Best

According to the most recent available Census data on income (2000), the annual average income for Halton residents was $46,200. However, the average income of nonprofit human services employees fell far below at $26,400. Halton human services agencies of all sizes indicate that low salary and benefits levels and a lack of permanent full-time jobs hinder recruitment and retention of a stable workforce

Engaging the Workforce of the Future

The engagement of young people and more racially and culturally diverse populations within Halton is critical to the vitality of the sector’s human resource base. However, in Halton’s nonprofit human services labour force, young workers under 25 are represented at less than half the rate (7.1%) than is found in the Halton workforce as a whole (15.8%). This suggests that the sector may need to make a concerted effort to rejuvenate its employee base.

Nurturing Volunteers as a Valuable Asset

Volunteers bring added value to the work of the nonprofit human service sector, but volunteer recruitment and retention are often taken for granted rather than strategically addressed in human resource development planning for the sector.

The Risk of Concentration and Consolidation

The diverse base of nonprofit human services plays an important complementary role to the public sector in providing a wider mix of essential social supports. Yet small and medium sized agencies must compete with each other and with larger agencies for government funding. Large agencies with revenue of $2 million and more comprised only 13% of the survey sample, but receive half of the total government funding available to the sector. Consequently, smaller agencies are at a distinct competitive disadvantage in the labour market.