Welfare reforms that leave a big gap between the poverty line and being poor enough to receive benefits could end up forcing Church charities to make up the difference for thousands of disabled and marginally employable Ontarians.

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As Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod gets set to reveal her welfare reform package on Nov. 8, the people who run Ontario’s food banks, shelters and volunteer supports for poor families are urging the provincial government to restore the basic income pilot project.

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Religious organizations that run Ontario’s food banks, shelters, soup kitchens and more are asking for an immediate $1.3 billion investment in affordable, subsidized social housing.
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On a cold and rainy spring day, members of the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition gathered to pray for each and every Member of Provincial Parliament by name near the front steps of Queen’s Park.

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TORONTO - The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition and the Intercultural Dialogue Institute of Toronto are pulling together Jews, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists to think and talk about social justice at a free dinner at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

The evening will be moderated by Salt + Light TV personality Deacon Pedro Guevara Mann, with opening remarks from Campaign 2000 national co-ordinator Laurel Rothman, and takes place Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The Church of the Holy Trinity is tucked in next to the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto.
Campaign 2000 is the coalition of churches, unions and social work agencies that campaigns against child poverty in Canada.

Speaking on social justice from the point of view of major faith traditions are Sean Hillman, Buddhist PhD candidate in religion at the University of Toronto, KAIROS executive director Jennifer Henry, Muslim scholar Halil Simsek and Avrum Rosensweig, founding director and president of the Jewish volunteer agency Ve’ahavta.

To register for the evening go to www.interfaithdinner.com. Space is limited.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

From Catholics to Zoroastrians, faith leaders gathered at Queen’s Park to pray for prosperity and welcome the compromise Ontario budget passed April 24.

The budget, which raised taxes on those earning $500,000 or more by two per cent, spared some day care centres from cuts and added one per cent to basic welfare rates was welcomed by Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition president Rev. Susan Eagle.

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The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition is telling Ontario’s Liberal government what it didn’t want to hear from economist Don Drummond — raise taxes.

The McGuinty government mandated the Drummond Commission to come up with ways to balance the province’s books but forbade the former bank economist from considering more taxes. ISARC makes no bones about urging action on the revenue side of the equation.

Published in Canada