The 2012 Ontario budget abandons the McGuinty Government’s poverty reduction strategy – a commitment to reduce poverty by 25% by 2013. A freeze on social assistance means that, after inflation, Ontarians with the lowest incomes will be dragged further into poverty. The budget ignores the child care crisis. Instead of building jobs, revenues to fund social services and the economy, this budget cuts our social services.
Ontario’s minimum wage remains frozen at $10.25. The minimum wage is not tied to the cost of living, the cost of food and rent that are all rising. The minimum wage is already 10% below the poverty line for a single person working full time. A family of four needs almost double the minimum wage to bring their family out of poverty.
Despite the fact that wage theft is at a crisis, the government has cut $6 million out of Employment Standards enforcement. People are working hard, without adequate protection in their workplaces. Unpaid wages throw workers into financial hardship and stress–yet less than 1% of workplaces are inspected and there’s no cost to employers who break the law. Now more than ever workers need protection from wage theft.
This budget will increase the growing inequality in incomes in Ontario and places the burden for cost cutting on those that least can afford it.