HPRT Response to Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy


logo-iconIn 1971 Senator David Croll said “We are pouring billions of dollars into a social welfare system that merely treats the symptoms of poverty, but leaves the disease untouched.” That system that he spoke about in 1971 is relatively unchanged today.  The current system is in need of deep innovation to see different results.  So, we ask the Provincial Government to encourage the Federal Government to work with all stakeholders (business, not for profit, all levels of government, faith groups, lived experience and communities) to develop a national housing strategy and to consider developing a national approach to poverty reduction.

Read full submission from the Halton Poverty Roundtable.


“Public transportation key to assisting individuals living on low income.”

The Halton Poverty Roundtable commends Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray on his decision to extend GO train services through Oakville and Burlington to every 30 minutes.  This creates greater flexibility and access for those dependent on public transit; and increases its attractiveness to all: reducing congestion and stress, improving our environment, our health, our economic vitality.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable is particularly conscious of public transit’s potential for individuals living on lower incomes: increasing their access to jobs – and their ability to engage socially: as volunteers, or with their children for sports and recreation opportunities.

Public Transit – CoChairs OppEd

Poverty Reduction Forum Action Plan

Forum Participants

At the Halton Poverty Roundtable’s Poverty Reduction Forum on Thursday April 4th at the Oakville Conference Centre, a community consultation took place. The goals of the day were to educate the community on the Social Assistance Review being undertaken by the provincial government and to develop a community action plan. Approximately 200 participants were present, representing various sectors, backgrounds and lived experiences.

While the program for the forum was focused on the recent Commission for the Review on Social Assistance, the many changes that are being proposed, and how these changes will affect recipients of social assistance, this focus facilitated conversations on the many of the contributing factors to poverty. The flyer promoting the forum is attached to this report, as is the event program and group discussion questions.

HPRT Poverty Reduction Forum Action Plan

Let’s start a conversation about health.


conversation about healthThe Halton Region Health Department believes that all residents should have the opportunity to make choices that allow them to live a long, healthy life, regardless of diversities such as income, education or ethnic backgrounds. This idea is reflected in our mission statement “Together with the Halton Community, the Health Department works to achieve the best possible health for all.” As a result, we are committed to providing accessible, affordable public health services to all Halton residents.

However, avoidable differences in health do exist among citizens. We know that adults in Halton are more likely to report being in excellent or very good health as household income increases. We also know that residents in the most socially and economically deprived areas within Halton visit emergency departments more often, are hospitalized more frequently and have higher rates of premature death.


So why do these health differences exist? Good health is about much more than having access to health care. It is about our living conditions – income, education, jobs, housing, social supports – that shape our opportunities to be healthy. Everyone needs access to health care, but healthy communities and living conditions reduce our need for health services.


This is poverty here at home

Margins-Cover-thumb1There has been plenty of talk lately about the expanding Sunshine List of public sector workers earning six-figure salaries.

Ooh, aahs, daydreams of making such annual salaries, whether such pay cheques are valid at taxpayer expense and the like.

Certainly, matters of concern surround the Sunshine List, but what really needs attention is the growing number of Halton residents who could be placed on a ‘Poverty List.’

Read the full article at insidehalton.com

“The Economic Cost of Poverty”


Marc HamelHalton Poverty Reduction Forum

April 4, 2013

Opening Remarks by Marc Hamel, Co-Chair of the Halton Poverty Roundtable

Three years ago I thought that poverty was not an issue in Halton. However, I spent a day with 15 members of our community as they shared their challenges of living with low income in Halton. Our community. They spoke to me and my fellow panel members about how tough it was to survive each and every day, and they spoke to us, as well, of the ways that they found to give back to the community, to volunteer and to help others. They said that this provided them with some sense of place, a sense of control and a sense of self worth. I learned that, yes, poverty means being hungry; and, yes, it means struggling to find a place to live; but more than that I finally began to understand that poverty really means an absence of choice and opportunity. It means being unable to participate effectively in or contribute to our community. I also started to understand that because poverty is a systemic issue it will persist regardless of any single individuals’ behaviour, their attitudes and their choices – unless, together, we make systemic changes to how we live together.
No one chooses to live in a state of deprivation – no one chooses to live in poverty.

Marc Hamel Opening Remarks