Statistics Canada said that about 3.2 million Canadians, or 8.7 per cent of the population lived below Canada’s poverty line in 2018, according to data they released today.

The number has decreased from where it was in 2017 which was 9.5 per cent.

Statistics Canada also said that 566,000 children under the age of 18 lived under the poverty line in 2018, at a poverty rate for of 8.2 per cent. It was not a significant change from 2017, however Statistics Canada said that they continue to see a downward trend from year to year, since the number peaked at 15 per cent in 2012.

How many times do we have to watch Doug Ford pat himself on the back when what he is really doing is trying to make himself look good on the backs of others?

The newest disgrace is a for-profit welfare program quietly launched last month in Peel, Hamilton-Niagara and Muskoka-Kawartha. Adding to the shock of this is the fact the contract was awarded to an American company that will get paid for how quickly it pushes clients through the system — many of whom suffer from addictions, mental health, and disabilities.

In 2020, the maximum single rate for ODSP is $1,169 a month and $733 a month for OW. The maximum ODSP increment is $436 a month. The ODSP maximum payment is almost 60% (59.5%) higher than OW.

In the absence of payment adequacy, few argue that ODSP payments are too high. Both OW and ODSP payments are too low such that the difference between them is seldom discussed.

But the reality is that if OW payments were more adequate, the idea of a 60% increment for disability would become a topic of conversation. And I don’t believe that there is either any evidence or any advocacy that would support a 60% increment for benefits for people with disabilities. The increment is just too much.

N.L.’s fall from grace on food insecurity record ‘disturbing’

Food policy expert Valerie Tarasuk doesn’t mince words when it comes to how Newfoundland and Labrador has slipped in terms of people going hungry.

“It’s really quite disturbing,” she says.

Food insecurity is the struggle to afford food or have access to food.

Tarasuk, a professor at the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, said the province once held bragging rights, of sorts, when it came to the issue.

“Newfoundland and Labrador was the poster child for managing food insecurity,” she said.

New data from Statistics Canada shows that 57 per cent of people living in Nunavut are food insecure.

That’s the highest rate of food insecurity in the country and more than four times the national average of 12.7 per cent.

StatCan released the study on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Its data, from 2017-18, breaks down food security into four categories: food secure, marginally food insecure, moderately food insecure and severely food insecure.

In Nunavut, 23.7 per cent of homes are severely food insecure, according to StatCan.

That number more than doubles to 52.3 per cent for single-mother households with children under 18.

When, in November of 2018, Ford’s then social services minister. Lisa MacLeod, announced the findings of a hundred day review of the province’s system of social assistance, she set out a broad outline for her government’s plans to remodel things. As I wrote at the time, the Tories were focused on two main objectives. They wanted to drastically limit access to disability benefits and, secondly, to craft a system of income support that would serve as a far more effective means of driving people into the worst and most exploitative jobs on offer. In the latter area, McLeod’s review pointed to the setting up of “locally responsive outcome driven service delivery models.” This is, of course, exactly what their new initiative is designed to achieve. People on social assistance are to be handed over to those who have a financial interest in using a lot more stick than carrot to get them into the low wage, precarious and highly exploited workforce.

The idea of a welfare system in Ontario run by multinational, for-profit corporations strikes Dr. Gary Bloch as a bit odd.

“Where I get worried about it, is thinking around, really, what are the goals? What are the incentive structures put in place and who will be administering this?” asked the researcher and family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital’s City Health Associates. “We know there will be private companies bidding to help administer this system. That, to me, is extremely concerning.”

Last month, the Ontario government quietly launched a three-year pilot program in for-profit welfare, in particular how employment and training supports are delivered in Hamilton-Niagara, Peel and Muskoka-Kawartha.