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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Silence from Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidates on Issues Affecting Low Income Communities

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/24/13 -- To find out where Ontario's next premier stands on some of the issues that matter to low and moderate income communities across the province, Ontario ACORN have distributed a survey to all of the candidates for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. The results are disappointing.

Ontario ACORN's survey asked candidates, on behalf of more than 20,000 members of ACORN across Ontario, to make clear commitments to deal with high remittance fees, unsafe and unaffordable housing, Ontario's inadequate minimum wage, and inhumane welfare and disability support systems.

"Low and moderate income communities in Ontario badly need their government to take these issues seriously. Beyond the well documented problems of poverty, unfair remittance fees, of unaffordable housing, and of inhumane social assistance, there is a livable housing crisis in Ontario. It is imperative that provincial politicians take the necessary action to deal with all of these issues now," said Kay Bisnath, chair of Ontario ACORN.

Charles Sousa and Gerard Kennedy's campaigns initially indicated that responses were on their way, but have not produced responses.

Sandra Pupatello, Harinder Takhar, and Erik Hoskins' campaigns have provided no response.

Kathleen Wynne's response lists various initiatives and accomplishments of the McGuinty government.

Her campaign has committed to creating a committee to study the minimum wage, and to implementing the recommendations of the recent Social Assistance Review. These are necessary but not sufficient steps. Far, far too many people live in poverty in Ontario. They need a raise, not more committee discussions.

On the predatory fees charged by remittance providers to migrants sending money to family overseas, Wynne had nothing to say. On the livable housing crisis, Wynne had nothing to say.

"ACORN members will keep working to make needed changes in their communities across Ontario, and they'll keep working to convince politicians from all parties that they should take seriously the issues of low and moderate income people," added Bisnath.

Remittance Justice

--  Legislation that will cap the fees of money transfer companies (like
    Western Union and Moneygram) at 5% of money transferred. This would be
    inclusive of all fees. The legislation would also include enforcement
    and disclosure. 

Healthy Homes

--  Bring back vacancy control or full rent control. 
--  Implement a province-wide system of inspections and enforcement for
    rental housing standards. Protect tenants from negligent landlords by
    prohibiting any rent increases for units that are not being properly

Minimum Wage

--  Raise the minimum wage to $14.50 by 2015. 
--  Index the minimum wage to inflation. 

Disability and Social Assistance Rights

--  Greater allowance instituted before the claw back is administered. 
--  Restore the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit. 

For information or to speak to Ontario ACORN members,
contact: ACORN Canada
James Wardlaw

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