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Raise the Rates Campaign

January 2013


Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) Partial Victory

On December 27th, 2012, the provincial Liberal government announced that about two-thirds ($42 million) of the funding cut to the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) will be restored in 2013. The money will go to municipalities under the new system.

This concession was forced by community action and support from the Labour Movement. This victory is precious, yet we have to continue to pressure the government to restore full funding to this benefit.

This message will be taken to the Liberal Convention, occurring on January 25 and 26, 2013, when thousands will gather to denounce the austerity measures this government has undertaken.

In Solidarity,

Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President - Ontario



December 2012

Save the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit: Take Action in Your Community to Stop the Cut!

The Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) is a vital benefit for people on social assistance to obtain housing or avoid being made homeless. Women fleeing from abusive relationships are able to access it to obtain housing and many people use it to avoid becoming homeless after flooding, fires, and other tragic events.  

Effective January 1st, 2013, the Provincial Government will eliminate this benefit as a part of its austerity program, creating more insecurity for already struggling families.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), community organizations and trade unions, including PSAC Ontario, have been working to prevent the loss of this benefit.

On December 7, Poverty Makes Us Sick (PMUS) will be rallying at the Kitchener office of Social Services Minister, John Milloy, and people from other cities will be traveling down to join them.

It is time to place political pressure on our Members of Provincial Parliament, by organizing actions in communities across the province.

What can you do in your community?
-Organize or participate in a rally or protest on the door step of 'your' MPP's office
-Arrange a meeting with your MPP's office and tell them not to cut the CSUMB
- Deliver a letter of protest to the MPP.
-Anything creative you can think of!

In Solidarity,

Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President, Ontario


October 2012

Raise the Rates

When working people, including our members employed in the broader public sector, are laid off, they must rely upon a reduced and inaccessible Employment Insurance system. This is the reality for many Canadians, who if after a few months are not able to find employment, may fall into poverty. More and more Canadians are finding themselves trying to survive on Social Assistance.

Poverty levels have grown to unprecedented levels here in Ontario and our social systems are being degraded at every level by austerity measures. As union members, we are proud in the achievements we’ve made in the workplace, as well as the work we do in our communities.

This is why PSAC Ontario is supporting the Raise the Rates campaign, which looks to raise the levels of income for people on Social Assistance, which includes Ontario Works, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the Special Diet Allowance and Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit.

Over 850,000 people in Ontario live on social assistance and 40% of those are children. The basic amount for a single person living on welfare (Ontario Works) is $599 per month. Rates for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) have been steadily declining, as they have not kept up with inflation. The Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit, which provides vital support to 16,000 Ontarians who are moving into new housing or struggling to retain it, is being eliminated in January 2013. This is a bleak picture of how social services for our most vulnerable are being eroded or completely eliminated.  

Town halls are being organized to promote the Raise the Rates campaign by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), to educate the public on the importance of this campaign. These town halls also serve as a forum to help communities organize to resist poverty and austerity. You will find a listing below of town halls planned, with more dates and locations being coordinated. All members are encouraged to attend. As poverty and inequality rise, we are all affected! 



Town Hall Date

Time and Location


September 27th 2012

Salvation Army (183 Weller Ave) at 11am


October 10th 2012

Jubilee Centre (195 Applegrove St.) at 6pm


October 17th 2012Nathan Phillips Square (Toronto City Hall) at noon


November 22nd 2012

Sudbury Arena at 11:30am