AMO and the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) released their joint paper “Government Makes a Difference: Working Together Towards Poverty Reduction”.

Municipalities understand that poverty costs everyone through increased costs of social and health programs and the lost potential that comes when people are not given opportunities to succeed.

AMO and OMSSA came together to examine the important considerations of what municipalities can do to address poverty in their communities and how all orders of government can be engaged in poverty reduction.

The paper provides a list of recommendations that include the following:

• The need for a local service delivery model that is flexible and addresses the needs and issues of poverty in municipalities across the province.

• The importance of stakeholder collaboration: including meaningful consultation with key stakeholders and citizens and outcomes focused actions and solutions.

• The need to address the complex issues of poverty through good public policy. This includes addressing current provincial policies and programs that operate at cross purposes of one another and the goal of poverty reduction. In addition, the systemic, foundational underpinnings need to begin to be addressed.

• The need for sufficient, sustainable, long term funding for poverty reduction initiatives which includes the administration of the initiatives.

AMO and OMSSA are encouraged by important changes and commitments the provincial government has made in addressing the symptoms and impacts of poverty in Ontario. AMO and OMSSA remain committed to supporting the government and our memberships in this effort.

• The paper is being distributed to the AMO and OMSSA membership, Minister Matthews and the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction and other relevant stakeholders.

• The AMO Social Policy Task Force will be examining next step considerations on poverty reduction issues and initiatives. Issues will be examined in consideration of the current economic downturn.