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May 1, 2006
Action Plan identifies new steps to help low income residents
Toronto Social Services today released “Systems of Survival, Systems of Support: An Action Plan for Social Assistance in the City of Toronto.” The Action Plan puts forward a new direction for social assistance and employment services to respond to the needs of Toronto’s more than 500,000 low income residents.

“The City of Toronto is poised to take some bold new steps to help people escape the damaging effects of poverty and give them hope for the future,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc, Chair of Community Services Committee. “This Action Plan makes important recommendations to address issues of poverty, isolation and unemployment in Toronto. The City will work with its community partners to ensure that other orders of government reinvest in and restore Toronto’s social safety net.”

The Action Plan’s key recommendations include:
• a provincial child benefit for all low income families
• increasing Ontario Works benefits by 30 per cent
• exploring options to provide reduced cost transit passes so that people have the means to get to and from work, school and child care
• providing basic dental services to adults on Ontario Works
• increasing back to school and winter clothing allowances
• better supports to help people find and keep job
• making social assistance programs simpler, fairer, and easier to access and better co-ordinated with other services (e.g. shelter, child care, and public health and recreation programs).

“The Action Plan sets out a comprehensive approach that pulls together different benefits and services to help people survive on a day-to-day basis in the short term and improve people’s standard of living in the longer term by helping them get and keep better jobs,” said Heather MacVicar, General Manager, Toronto Social Services.

The Action Plan responds to Toronto City Council’s 2004 request for recommendations to how the Ontario Works program could respond better to the needs of low income people in Toronto. It builds on widespread recognition of the need for change and improvements to social assistance benefits, and to employment services that unemployed city residents need. The Action Plan will go before the Community Services Committee on May 8.

“Systems of Survival, Systems of Support: An Action Plan for Social Assistance in the City of Toronto” is available online at

Media contacts:
Councillor Joe Mihevc, Ward 21 St. Paul’s, Chair, Community Services Committee, 416 392-0208
Heather MacVicar, General Manager, Toronto Social Services, 416 392-8952



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