PRTG works to address the basic needs of community members by focusing on information sharing and collaboration on programs, services, events, initiatives and strategies (including advocacy) to end poverty.
Poverty is a complex issue that may be understood as inadequate education, health, financial, physical and social resources needed to sustain positive well-being. It may also be experienced as an absence of equity, choice and power, which negatively impacts one’s sense of belonging, citizenship and participation. As one aspect of poverty, income is recognized as the most important social determinant of health. As such, we accept the Low Income Measure (After Tax) threshold as the quantitative measure of poverty per individual for Simcoe County.
The Poverty Reduction Task Group (PRTG) is part of the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition of Simcoe County. PRTG reports regularly to the Integrated Planning Table.
The PRTG believes that every child and youth deserve the right to live within a safe, healthy, and compassionate community. To achieve this goal all community members must have their own basic needs met and be able to fully participate in the life of their community. If members of a community do not have their basic needs met, they are unable to support themselves and the potential of child, youth, and all others within that community. A compassionate community is one in which all members care about one another. (Source: Basic Needs Task Group, Terms of Reference 2016)
Basic Income is not a new concept in Canada. There are already forms of BI that are administered through the tax system that have been successful in targeting and reducing poverty for seniors (Guaranteed Annual Income, Old Age Security) and families with children (Canada Child Benefit).
A living wage is the hourly wage rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers and deductions have been subtracted. The 2016 living wage calculation for Simcoe County is $17.74. The Poverty Reduction Task Group will identify future community planning priorities associated with the living wage, including an education and awareness campaign, engaging local employers, and encouraging participation in the Ontario Living Wage Network.
Imagine month after month not having enough money to put food on the table and to pay for rent and other basics like clothing, school supplies, transportation and phone bills. This situation is known as “household food insecurity” — not enough money for food.
Household food insecurity is inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints – is a serious public health problem in Canada. It negatively impacts physical, mental, and social health, and costs our healthcare system considerably. Income solutions are needed including a basic income, a living wage, social assistance reform and fair workplaces with good paying jobs with regular hours and benefits.
Circles is a community-based initiative that helps people with low income break the cycle of poverty, find good jobs and become financially self-sufficient. It is a partnership between the Simcoe County District School Board and the County of Simcoe’s Ontario Works Department. Circles currently runs in Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay.