March 24, 2021

The 2021 Ontario Budget is being released today

Photo: Britney Townsend

Here’s what we know, and what we want to see reflected in the budget

What we know: 

We know that income is the primary predictor of food insecurity, and that Black, Indigneous and racialized people experience disproportionately higher rates of both food insecurity and COVID-19. We know that it is predominantly racialized workers doing the essential jobs for all during this pandemic. We have seen employers calling their employees “heroes” right before cutting their pandemic pay, proving corporations cannot be trusted to implement these policies at will, they must be mandated. 

What we want to see: COVID ZERO + PAID SICK DAYS 

  • Adopt a COVID zero approach which does not trade lives for jobs.
  • Introduce measures that enable workers to stay home when they are sick, or when a member of their family is isolating.
  • Ensure employers pay their fair share of these costs. 

What we know: 

We know that in Toronto a living wage is $22/hour, a full $8 more than our minimum wage. We know that for someone receiving ODSP, the maximum amount for a single person with no dependents is around $1,300 when we include the shelter allowance. We know that someone cannot reasonably get by on $1,300 a month in Toronto.

What we want to see: LIVABLE INCOMES 

  • Set income supports and wages at levels that support livable incomes for people in our province. 

What we know: 

We know that support has been made available for commercial landlords, meanwhile tenants have been left to struggle. We have seen folks working multiple minimum wage jobs while feeling unwell so that they can continue to pay their rent. We have watched encampments in our city grow, highlighting the need for housing now.

What we want to see: RENT RELIEF + SAFE, SECURE HOUSING 

  • Provide rent relief and rent forgiveness for residential tenants. 
  • Increase investments in the expedited construction of safe, decent, permanent, affordable housing.