Powerful by Nature - Coalition Against Poverty

Date: July 30th, 2018

Hosts: Jeneace & Reyna

Guests: Hodan, a counsellor from Jessie’s Centre, Sam, a young mother and OW recipient, and Yogi, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Topic: Navigating, Understanding and Destigmatizing Ontario Works

This week, Jeneace and Reyna hosted a PowerfulxNature episode on Ontario Works. In Ontario, 14.3% of people live in poverty with newcomers, people of color, single mothers, the elderly and people with disabilities experiencing the highest rates of poverty. Social assistance, or Ontario Works, provides crucial financial support for people in Ontario living in poverty but often fails to meet costs of living for example, in urban centres like Toronto. Our hosts first interviewed Hodan, a counsellor from Jessie’s Centre, who talked about how crucial OW support is for young parents, the vast majority who depend on it while they’re still in high school or post-secondary school. Our second interview was with Sam, a young mother and Ontario Works recipient. Sam talked about the negative stigma that exists for people who use Ontario Works and the intense, and often unfairly punitive, scrutiny everyone who accesses social assistance is subject to. She shared how OW doesn’t cover basic costs of living in Toronto for her and her family, especially when it comes to what’s allocated for shelter costs. Sam sometimes needs to use money budgeted for other necessities, like food and transportation, to pay the rent.

Our hosts finished off the show interviewing Yogi, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. OCAP is a direct action anti-poverty organization that fights for more shelter beds, social housing, raises in social assistance and mobilizes poor communities under attack. Yogi shared some history with us, breaking down how social assistance has never fully recovered from the harmful austerity policies of the Mike Harris PC government and talked about why robust social assistance is so important in the fight against poverty. Yogi also talked about the classist policies we can expect to see from the current Ford PC government that will reduce social assistance and hurt the poorest Ontarians.

___________________________________________________________________________ To learn more about Jessie’s Centre and/or the Community Education Program, please visit: www.jessiescentre.org.

Find OCAP at http://ocap.ca/

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @PowerfulXNature

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