McGuinty came to office promising to undo much of the damage done to the people of Ontario by Mike Harris , he has failed miserably. Indeed he hasn't even tried, instead he has just heaped more misery upon those who had been hurt the worst. No where is this more evident than in the case of social assistance rates.
One of Harris' first moves as Premier was to slash social assistance rates by 22%, McGuinty promised to rectify this injustice. he has done nothing of a sort. Instead he killed a food supplement program that allowed those with special dietary needs, such as diabetics, to purchase healthier food because he said it was too expensive and channeling Harris said it was being abused.
Oh he will tell you that he has raised the amount paid to those in need of assistance and he has, a few pennies here and a few pennies there, but never enough to make a difference. The increase in the recent budget is a graphic example of this. With inflation in Ontario officially running at 2.3% ( real inflation is much higher) social assistance rates have been raised a miserly 1%.
That works out to a raise of $5.92 for a single person which will bring their monthly cheque to $597.92 - $368 for shelter, $229 for everything else , starting in November. That is 61 per cent below the poverty line set by the National Council of Welfare.
A single mother raising a child will get an additional $10.14 a month, bringing her welfare cheque up to $1,024. That falls 45 per cent below the poverty line. A total that is less than the average monthly rent on a two bedroom apartment in Toronto.
So it is no surprise that in 2010, 50.5% of those assisted by food banks were receiving social assistance. With half of food bank users also consisting of families with children it is fair to say that a goodly portion of these are children, nationally In 2010, 37.8% of food bank clients were under 18.
In Ontario 400,000 people now use food banks every month. Using the national numbers which closely mirror those of Ontario's, that means that more than 150,000 kids in this province go to bed hungry. Yet in Ontario apparently there isn't enough money to feed the children, but there is more than enough for billions in corporate tax cuts.