It is no secret that the Ontario Liberals are not in robust shape as an election looms and that their Budget was designed to shore up their credentials as the progressive alternative to Doug Ford’s Tories. This being so, a wretched 3% increase for those living in deep poverty on social assistance is quite appalling. Had they increased the rates by ten times as much, they would not have come close to putting people on social assistance, back to the levels of poverty they lived in, prior to the Tory cuts of the 1990s.

In what may be a final gesture from the Liberals, they have raised social assistance rates above inflation. This is the only year since they were elected in 2003 that there has not been a decline in real income for the poorest people in Ontario. If we consider the rate of inflation of 2.1% in this Province, those on social assistance have just had their incomes restored to the tune of 0.9%. This is hardly the road to social justice and poverty reduction we have long been promised, but never experienced.