|Sub-Category:||FAMILY - WELFARE & FAMILY SERVICES/BENEFITS ACT|
BACKGROUND: This resolution advocates facilitating economic and social benefits to women on social assistance by providing affordable transportation as they seek work. Our focus is supporting the costs of public transportation incurred while seeking employment. The issue falls within the mandate of BPW Ontario as it aims to improve the economic and social conditions of women by increasing their proximity to employment opportunities. It involves the following legislation: Ontario Works Act, 1997, Ontario Regulation 134/98, General, Section 22 (Enquiry Into Circumstances Re. Basic Financial Assistance); and Section 59 (Discretionary Benefits).
• One of the key issues hampering the economic and social progress of women is that they are unable to connect with economic opportunity because they lack the means to do so.
• The association between transportation and poverty reduction is irrefutable. Professor, Martin Wachs from University of California Transportation Centre asserts that investment in the physical mobility is one of the most important way reduce poverty.
• In Ontario, there are two governmentally legislated programs that help eligible residents that are in need of financial assistance- the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW).
• OW is notably different than its companion ODSP as it was created with the intent of providing financial and employment assistance to eligible residents. Furthermore, the purpose of the program is to “promote self-reliance through employment.” However, the legislation falls short in fulfilling this intent, as the provisions for providing transportation are inadequate. In instances where the claim is denied, recipients must sustain the costs of transportation by themselves. The increase in fare of public transportation is exacerbating the issues and making means of transportation out of reach for the vulnerable strata of our community, which overwhelmingly includes women.
• The issue facing recipients pertaining to transportation is well documented in studies that have suggested changes in the way the legislation is administered and its provisions are delivered.
Wachs, M. (n.d.). Transportation Policy, Poverty, and Sustainability. Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/abs/10.3141/2163-01
/April). Fare rise will hurt the poor, TTC official acknowledges. Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/fare-rise-will-hurt-the-poor-ttc-official-acknowledges/article18216260/
RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and the Minister of Community and Social Services develop a policy framework for affordable transportation in partnership with Municipalities to promote socio-economic progress of women receiving social assistance or disability supports. This may include a program that supports public transportation passes for eligible persons to be used in travel to seek and maintain employment;
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and Minister of Community and Social Services to include in Ontario Regulation 134/98, the program on affordability of public transportation to support job seeking and maintaining employment by persons on social assistance or disability.
©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com
Article ID: 4377