Ontario’s budget will include welfare freeze: McGuinty
The Canadian Press Mar. 25, 2012
From the online Oxford Dictionary
adjective (austerer, austerest)
(of living conditions or a way of life) having no comforts or luxuries
One could argue few have less comforts or luxuries than those dependent on already well-below-subsistence-level income supplements such as Ontario Works, Disability Support and Child Benefit programs.
These programs have not been indexed to reflect the cost of living over the years. In constant dollars, social assistance supplements for all recipients are less today than they were two decades ago. If that’s the case, then how have social assistance payments become such a budgetary burden in recent years?
Answer: Volume. From October 2008 thru January this year, the number of Ontario Works beneficiaries increased by one third, and ODSP beneficiaries by one fifth. Both figures are well beyond Ontario population growth over the same period (3.78% from Q3 2008 to Q4 2011, CANSIM Table 051-0005). It’s not the ageing population either, as the elderly poor cannot collect OAS and ODSP at the same time.
A significant part of the explanation for the ballooning Ontario Works numbers stems from the recession, where job losses began to mount in October 2008. That recession and the current jobless (non)recovery have now spanned more than three years. EI benefits, however, for the increasingly few who qualify for them, only extend for a few months in most major population centres in Ontario. As EI benefits lapsed, well, the numbers speak for themselves.