"A comprehensive, compassionate and sustainable reform of social assistance must place the well-being of all citizens, children and adults alike, at the center of economic planning for the future." - letter to the Commission on the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.
Toronto (21 Nov. 2011) - Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) employed by children’s aid societies and child treatment centres will mark National Child Day by demanding that social assistance rates for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program be raised above the poverty line.
In Ontario children and youth living in poverty are at greater risk of violence, neglect, and mental health issues. The latest Stats Canada figures show that in our province poverty has increased by 17 per cent since 2007, with almost 400,000 children now living in poverty. The current income rates for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program fall well below the low income cut-off rates and condemn recipients to poverty and social exclusion. Current social assistance rates reinforce punitive and morally questionable assumptions about poverty.
Sector Chairs submitted a letter to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, highlighting the concerns for children which are witnessed on a daily basis by members working in the field. OPSEU/NUPGE members will wear stickers highlighting their commitment to children and youth in their work.
In 1993, the federal government designated Nov. 20 of each year as National Child Day in order to promote awareness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which spells out the basic rights under which children everywhere are entitled to: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. In ratifying that decision, Canada promised children the right to be free of harm and to live and grow to their full potential. In its ratification of the Convention, Canada pledged that children enjoy the right to be free of harm and to live and grow to their full potential.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE