Minister’s message

Helping people achieve greater independence, stability and, wherever possible, long-term job success to support themselves and their families is a priority for our government.

This is a goal that is even more important in the context of the health, social, and economic challenges resulting from COVID-19.

When we started our consultations on a new poverty reduction strategy, I never imagined we would soon face the world’s worst health and socioeconomic crises in a generation.

Though COVID-19 has presented many new social and economic challenges, our resolve remains strong. My cabinet colleagues and I have been hard at work addressing the immediate needs of Ontarians, while keeping an eye towards the recovery.

Something that has been on my mind since becoming Minister of Children, Community and Social Services is the state of our social assistance system. When I took this post, I was shocked to find case workers spending the majority of their time filing paperwork which was taking time away from assisting their clients. That is why the Ministry made a commitment to modernize social assistance to better support those who are ready and able to get back into the workforce.

As part of our new Poverty Reduction Strategy, we are committing to helping more people move off social assistance and into meaningful employment.

A strong foundation is based on a network of support services designed to help those needing assistance to get back on their feet. This strategy is a whole of government effort to improve those supports, do a better job of connecting those in need with meaningful work and making life in Ontario more affordable.

As we move forward with the strategy’s implementation over the next five years, we know we cannot do this alone. We need to work with community groups, the private sector and other levels of government to drive progress and create an Ontario where everyone can participate in their communities and achieve their full potential.

Together, I know we can make a real difference in the lives of Ontario’s most vulnerable.

Todd Smith
Minister of Children, Community and Social Services

Executive summary

The Government of Ontario is committed to addressing poverty in the province by laying a strong foundation to help those in need. The five-year poverty reduction strategy outlines a cross-government plan that builds on the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak to prevent people from falling into poverty and dependence on social assistance while supporting economic recovery.

Through cross-government initiatives that work together under four pillars, the strategy drives towards a vision of an Ontario where everyone can fully participate in their community and access opportunities that will help individuals and families build a better life.

Building a Strong Foundation for Success: Reducing Poverty in Ontario (2020-2025) sets as a target to move more social assistance recipients into meaningful employment and financial stability. The strategy recognizes the different experiences of poverty and impacts of COVID-19 on certain groups and includes initiatives to address these different experiences and support equitable outcomes.

In addition to the target, progress will be measured through an indicators framework that will be reported on annually. To achieve the strategy’s objectives, the government will work collaboratively with all levels of government, Indigenous partners, the private sector, not-for-profit agencies and community groups.


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the province’s economy, most notably on service sector jobs. Ontario experienced record levels of unemployment in May 2020 and faces a challenging path to recovery. Low-wage workers, youth, women, Black and racialized, and Indigenous workers have been disproportionately impacted by job losses. Additionally, health, social, and economic impacts have been widespread. People who already faced barriers to opportunities and well-being were among those who faced the greatest challenges.

The government acted quickly to address the economic impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing, including providing support for food banks, seniors, Indigenous communities, the newly unemployed, small businesses, and municipal service providers.

Building a Strong Foundation for Success: Reducing Poverty in Ontario (2020-2025) is the government’s plan for addressing poverty over the next five years.

The government is committed to achieving more for people across the province. It will combine the emergency response measures put in place to address the impacts of COVID-19 with longer-term efforts that aim to help communities, individuals, businesses, and service providers continue to recover and thrive.

The province knows that addressing poverty requires collective action. This strategy emphasizes the shared role that the people of Ontario, the province, the federal government, municipalities, Indigenous partners, non-profit organizations, and the private sector have in working together to support individuals and their communities.

While Ontarians are rising to the challenge to help spur on the province’s economic recovery, the government will need to work on many fronts to help people get back to work, participate in their communities and help the province re-achieve and surpass pre-COVID-19 prosperity.

Key principles

  • Person-centred: help individuals overcome barriers
  • Outcomes-focused: measure and report on progress and focus investments on achieving outcomes
  • Partnership-driven: work collaboratively and share responsibility
  • Integrated: take a whole of government and cross-sectoral approach to create a better coordinated and digitally enabled service system
  • Place-based: focus on locally designed and community-led solutions


An Ontario where everyone can participate in their communities and achieve greater independence, stability and, wherever possible, long-term job success to support themselves and their families.


Get more social assistance recipients to move into meaningful employment and financial stability. The government will provide the right supports and services with the goal of increasing the number of social assistance recipients moving to employment each year from 35,000 in 2019 to 60,000 by 2024.

Framework for action

Building a Strong Foundation for Success: Reducing Poverty in Ontario (2020-2025) identifies immediate and longer-term areas of action to help those most in need as the province lays the groundwork for its recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19. This poverty reduction strategy is built upon four pillars:

  1. encouraging job creation and connecting people to employment
  2. connecting people with the right supports and services
  3. making life more affordable and building financial resiliency
  4. accelerating action and driving progress

Key initiatives are highlighted for each pillar, with additional initiatives listed in the Appendix.

Pillar #1

Encouraging job creation and connecting people to employment

A key part of Ontario’s economic recovery will be creating good jobs and connecting people to them. The government has a role to play by helping job creators generate new opportunities that are available across the province, not just in urban centres. To connect people to these opportunities, the government is making investments over the next few years in employment services and training programs, including apprenticeships and rapid training opportunities (also known as micro-credentials), to help people get the skills and experience they need. The government is also supporting people to succeed in education by removing barriers and providing equal opportunities to build a strong foundation and help everyone reach their full potential.

The strategy will help people adapt to the changing job market in order to achieve long-term job success and be better able to withstand economic challenges. Ontario’s workforce development and training system will play a key role in equipping job seekers to support the province’s economic recovery.

Key initiatives for this pillar include:

  • Employment Services Transformation – integrating employment programs for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program into Employment Ontario to create a single system that is easier to use and helps all job seekers, including those on social assistance.
  • Micro-credentials – preparing underemployed workers, workers at risk, unemployed individuals, and life-long leaners for new jobs through short duration programs.
  • Skilled Trades Strategy – encouraging youth to take on careers in the skilled trades sector and be encouraged by an apprenticeship youth advisor.
  • Women’s Economic Security Program – funding organizations to provide employment and entrepreneurship training to women living on low incomes, combined with wraparound supports such as transportation, food, counselling and support in accessing child care.
  • Graduation Coach Programs – providing supports to Black and Indigenous students who are at risk of not graduating.

For this pillar, success will look like:

  • good jobs are available in all communities across the province.
  • people who face barriers to finding a job, including people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, are able to find and keep a job.
  • people facing social and economic barriers are supported to develop skills, advance their education, and find high-quality jobs.

Pillar #2

Connecting people with the right supports and services

The government recognizes that not everyone is ready to enter the labour market. Many people face physical and mental health challenges, homelessness and/or other barriers to employment. Addressing these issues is a first step towards helping people find a job and contribute to their communities. In addition, providing services that address the social and economic conditions that impact good health can help support individuals and build stronger communities.

This strategy will help people access supports that improve health and well-being and enable them to move forward on the pathway to education, training, employment and participation in their community. The government is committed to creating a more coordinated, integrated and digitally-enabled system of supports and services that help people better address their needs, from housing to mental health. By working together with its partners, especially those in the non-profit sector, the government can help people build a strong foundation for success in the future.

Key initiatives for this pillar include:

  • A Roadmap to Wellness – building a connected mental health care system to improve the patient and caregiver experience and strengthen local services to make it easier for people to navigate the system.
  • Social Assistance Recovery and Renewal Plan – transforming social assistance so case workers can focus on people, not paperwork, and help people access the supports they need to stabilize their lives, including employment and training, and drive the best outcomes for social assistance clients, including people with disabilities. A separate plan will be developed with First Nations delivery partners.
  • Community Housing Renewal Strategy – focusing on affordable housing for low-income households and supporting the sustainability of the non-profit, co-operative and municipal housing sectors. The strategy will help sustain, repair and grow the community housing system, making it work better for the people it serves.
  • Ontario’s Strategy to Redesign the Child Welfare system – redesigning the child welfare system to focus on prevention and early intervention, keeping more families together, and supporting successful youth transitions to adulthood. This includes a focus on providing culturally-appropriate supports that reflect Indigenous customs, heritages, and traditions to Indigenous children, youth, and families.
  • Creating child care spaces – adding over 19,000 new child care spaces so that more families can choose the kind of care that is best for their children.

For this pillar, success will look like:

  • people are supported by inclusive and coordinated services that support life stabilization and improve employment outcomes.
  • supports are available to help people keep a job, for example, access to child care by adding new child care spaces.
  • supports and services are available no matter where people live in the province.

Pillar #3

Making life more affordable and building financial resiliency

Making essentials like housing and child care more affordable helps everyone, most importantly people living in poverty. Maintaining Ontario’s competitive personal income tax rate for people with low incomes is one way the province is already working to make life more affordable. The government will continue to empower individuals and families to better manage challenging times and sudden shocks to their finances. By reducing the cost of living, protecting consumers and helping people keep more of their hard-earned money, the government will help people become more financially stable and resilient.

Key initiatives for this pillar include:

  • Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) – providing families with low-to-moderate incomes with up to $1,461 per child per year. This benefit provides much needed financial support to families and helps about one million children in over 500,000 families.
  • Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit – providing up to $850 in Ontario personal income tax relief to low-income Ontario taxpayers who have employment income, including those earning minimum wage.
  • Ontario Child Care Access and Relief from Expenses Tax Credit – providing eligible families (those with annual incomes of up to $150,000 and child care expenses that qualify for the Child Care Expense Deduction) with support of up to 75% of their child care expenses.
  • Energy Affordability Program – helping low-income or income-eligible households, tenants, and eligible social and assisted housing providers manage their energy use and costs, including free in-home energy assessments, energy-efficiency measures, and home upgrades.
  • Protections for payday loans borrowers – capping interest rates and fees on defaulted loans so that workers and families who use payday loan services can keep more of their hard-earned money.

For this pillar, success will look like:

  • people are better able to afford housing, child care, transportation, energy, and internet by keeping more money in their pockets through provincial tax credits.
  • people have better access to financial benefits and supports that help them make ends meet and provide choice and flexibility to spend and build financial stability.

Pillar #4

Accelerating action and driving progress

The government will engage with communities and work with different sectors to drive progress on poverty reduction. This will be achieved by accelerating initiatives that support economic recovery and developing integrated solutions that better connect the province’s health, social and economic systems. The government will also increase the use of data and analytics to improve services for people in Ontario.

Key initiatives for this pillar include:

  • Leverage relationships with the private sector – seeking input and advice from the private sector to improve employment outcomes and provide training, apprenticeship and other supports. The government will use platforms like the Ontario Together Fund to work with businesses to develop solutions that support the people of Ontario.
  • Black Youth Action Plan – increasing opportunities for Black children, youth and families. Investments in a new economic empowerment stream will support Black youth in achieving social and economic success.
  • Digital and Data Strategy – developing a provincial strategy that will put people first by helping Ontarians and businesses benefit directly from the data economy, while ensuring their personal privacy is protected.
  • Broadband and Cellular Action Plan – expanding broadband and cellular access to rural, remote, northern, and Indigenous communities so that people have access to the connectivity they need in an increasingly digital world.
  • Ontario Onwards Action Plan – investing over four years to make government services more reliable, convenient and accessible. Projects in the action plan have been prioritized to bring government services to where people already live and conduct their business.

For this pillar, success will look like:

  • improved collaboration, action and accountability across government and other sectors to address poverty.
  • increased availability of data and information to better understand the needs of different groups and inform effective policy and program development.
  • increased engagement across sectors leading to integrated solutions.

Achieving Indigenous prosperity and well-being

Longstanding social and economic inequities and systemic barriers have led to heightened risks of poverty for Indigenous peoples and communities. Despite these distinct challenges, Indigenous communities are tapping into their vast potential and demonstrating many successes.

Indigenous partners are best positioned to understand and leverage opportunities for their communities. That is why the government is committed to advancing Indigenous-led approaches to economic development, prosperity, health and well-being that respects the diversity of Indigenous communities and cultures. The government will continue to support children, youth, families and communities with culturally-appropriate social and health supports that improve access to prevention and early intervention initiatives that reflect Indigenous customs, heritage and traditions.

Key initiatives to support Indigenous prosperity and well-being include:

  • Indigenous Economic Development Fund (IEDF) – funding Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses, communities, and organizations in support of Indigenous employment, economic, and community development.
  • Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy– providing healing, health, and wellness programs designed and delivered by and for Indigenous peoples.
  • Indigenous Supportive Housing program – working with urban Indigenous organizations and service providers to plan for and deliver on the housing needs of Indigenous peoples living in urban areas.
  • Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council – having the newly created Council of First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders to provide culturally-relevant advice that centres on the voices of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) persons on violence prevention. The Council will advise on actions to respond to human trafficking, child, youth and family healing and well-being and the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • First Nations Delivery Credit – removing delivery charges from the bills of all on-reserve First Nations residential electricity customers.

Tracking progress

The strategy includes a cross-government indicators framework to monitor progress. A public report will be published every year to communicate progress on the target and various indicators. Reporting on each of the indicators will include a breakdown for the strategy’s priority groups where the information is available.

Poverty will be measured using the Market Basket Measure (MBM), which sets the poverty line as the disposable income required for a family to buy a basket of goods and services needed for a basic standard of living. The MBM factors in living costs such as housing, food and clothing with additional consideration for regional differences for pricing of these goods and services.

In addition to the overall poverty rate, which will include the poverty rate for priority groups, where available, the strategy will measure the rate of deep poverty (income below 75% of the MBM threshold).

The indicators framework includes additional indicators that will measure progress in three key areas:

  • Employment, skills and training indicators
    • employment rate for priority groups
    • full-time and part-time jobs created
    • completion of skills or work experience related Employment Ontario (EO) interventions
    • employment or enrolment into further education after participation in integrated employment services
    • percentage of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) cases with employment earnings
  • Education indicators
    • youth in care on track to graduate
    • high school graduation rate and credit accumulation
    • graduation rate (universities)
    • graduation rate (colleges)
  • Life stabilization indicators
    • time to become employed or exit social assistance
    • returns to Ontario Works (OW)
    • share of the population on social assistance
    • low-income households assisted in community housing programs
    • core housing need

The province recognizes that Indigenous communities have distinct concepts and measures of prosperity and well-being. While the government realizes this is not the whole story, of the list of indicators, the annual report will also include the following five indicators, which can be measured for Indigenous peoples:

  • poverty rate (MBM) for off reserve Indigenous persons
  • deep poverty rate for off reserve Indigenous persons
  • employment rate for off reserve Indigenous persons
  • full-time and part-time jobs created for off reserve Indigenous persons
  • core housing need for off reserve Indigenous persons

Moving forward

The government is committed to helping create opportunities for everyone to participate in their community and in the economy.

It is a shared responsibility to create the conditions for individuals and families to participate in their communities and reach their full potential. Organizations from all sectors across the province will need to step forward and take a leadership role alongside government.

By working together, everyone will continue to support people most impacted by COVID-19, create pathways to jobs and economic empowerment and provide better access to services to meet people’s everyday needs. Most importantly, through the new Poverty Reduction Strategy, all Ontarians will continue to help the province grow and thrive. Ontario will come back even stronger, and an essential part of doing that is to help those most in need.

Appendix 1: Target and indicator definitions

Strategy Target: Get more social assistance recipients into meaningful employment and financial stability. The government will provide the right supports and services with the goal of increasing the number of social assistance recipients moving to employment each year from 35,000 in 2019 to 60,000 by 2024.

IndicatorDefinitionCurrent data (baseline)
Exits to employment from social assistanceNumber of cases that exited Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to employment at least once within the calendar year.

Source: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
35,240 (2019)
Poverty rate / Market Basket Measure (MBM)The poverty rate reports the percentage of individuals in low income. The MBM threshold is the disposable income required for a family to purchase a specific basket of goods and services defined as the minimum needed to meet a basic standard of living (2018-base).

A family is low income when its disposable income is below the poverty threshold defined for its family size and region.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Income Survey
Total: 11.6% (2018)

Youth: 15.0% (2018)

Women: 11.4% (2018)

Indigenous off reserve: 14.4% (2018)
Deep poverty rate (MBM)Percentage of individuals with disposable family incomes below 75% of the MBM threshold.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Income Survey
Total: 5.7% (2018)

Indigenous off reserve: 7.0% (2018)
Employment rate for priority groups (youth, women, Indigenous People)Percentage of individuals from priority groups, aged 15 to 64, who are employed.

This indicator can be broken down by gender, age, and Indigenous identity. While Black and racialized persons are a priority group for this strategy, data is not currently available.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey
Youth (ages 15 to 24): 53.9% (2019)

Women: 69.9% (2019)

Indigenous off reserve: 62.9% (2019)
Full-time and part-time jobs createdTotal number of net new jobs created.

Number of net new full-time jobs created.

Number of net new part-time jobs created.

(These figures represent the change in employment between 2018 and 2019. Since a small percentage of employed persons have multiple jobs, there might be a slight difference between the change in employment and net new jobs created.)

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey
Total number of net new jobs: 210,200 (2019)

Number of net new full-time jobs created: 156,800 (2019)

Number of net new part-time jobs created: 53,400 (2019)

Number of net new full-time and part-time jobs - Indigenous off reserve: 6,000 (2019)
Completion of skills or work experience related Employment Ontario (EO) interventionsNumber of completed skills or work experience related interventions, by EO program participants; Apprenticeship program is not included in the measure.

Source: Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development
62,232 (2019/20)
Percentage of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) cases with employment earningsPercentage of Ontario Works and ODSP cases reporting employment earnings (while remaining eligible for social assistance).

Source: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
Ontario Works: 13.2% (2019)

ODSP: 10.8% (2019)
High school graduation rate and credit accumulationPercentage of students who receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) within five years of starting Grade 9.

Grade 9: Percentage of students who accumulated 8 or more credits after two years of secondary school out of the total number of students who completed two years of secondary school.

Grade 10: Percentage of students who accumulated 16 or more credits after two years of secondary school out of the total number of students who completed two years of secondary school.

Grade 11: Percentage of students who accumulated 23 or more credits after three years of out of the total number of students who completed three years of secondary school.

Source: Ministry of Education

Total: 87.1% (2013/14-2017/18)

Grade 9: 85.9% (2018/19)

Grade 10: 78.9% (2018/19)

Grade 11: 82.7% (2018-19)

Graduation rate (universities)Proportion of all new, full-time, year one undergraduate university students of bachelors (first-entry), or first professional (second entry) degree programs who commenced their study in a given fall term and graduated from the same institution within seven years.

Source: Ministry of Colleges and Universities
76.9% (2018/19)
Graduation rate (colleges)Percentage of full-time students who entered a program of instruction in a particular enrolment reporting period and graduated within a specific period of time (200% of program completion timeframe for diploma and certificate programs and 175% for degrees).

Source: Ministry of Colleges and Universities
70.2% (2018/19)
Time to become employed or exit social assistanceAverage time between entering Ontario Works and ODSP and leaving or becoming employed (while remaining eligible for assistance), within the first year on assistance.

Source: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Servicesfootnote 1
Total: 8 months (2018)

Ontario Works: 8 months (2018)

ODSP:9 months (2018)
Returns to Ontario WorksPercentage of cases that exited Ontario Works (between October – December 2018) that returned within one year (by December 2019).

Source: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
33% (2018)
Share of the population on social assistancePercentage of the population receiving social assistance.

Source: Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services
6.9% (2019)
Low-income households assisted in community housing programsNumber of households assisted across community housing programs, as a proportion of all Ontario households below the low-income measure (LIM) threshold.

Source: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
23.5% (2018/19)
Core housing needPercentage of households living in housing that is inadequate, unaffordable or unsuitable, and who would need to spend 30% or more of total before-tax income to pay the median rent of alternative local housing that is acceptable.
  • Inadequate: in need of major repair
  • Unaffordable: costs 30% or more of household’s total before-tax income.
  • Unsuitable: does not have enough bedrooms for the size and composition of the household according to National Occupancy Standard requirements
Source: Statistics Canada, Census
Total households: 15.3% (2016)

Indigenous persons off reserve: 18.8%, compared to 13.1% of the total population (2016)

In addition to the indicators listed in the table above, the Poverty Reduction Strategy will report on two new indicators that are currently under development:

  • Youth in care on track to graduate, which will reflect the percentage of students in care who accumulated 8 or more credits by the end of grade 9.
  • Employment or enrolment into further education after participation in integrated employment services, which will reflect the percentage of integrated employment services clients in areas covered by Employment Services Transformation who identify as employed or in education or training during 3-month follow-up after exit from program.

Appendix 2: Additional Initiatives in the Poverty Reduction Strategy

Pillar one: Encourage job creation and connect people to jobs

Supporting Ontario’s sectorsFocusing on recovery and resiliency of sectors of the economy, including those most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, such as tourism.
Wealth creation and financial stabilityWorking with partners to support Indigenous concepts of wealth creation and financial sustainability.
Engaging with employers and businessesImproving employment outcomes for older adults and people with disabilities by creating partnerships and engaging with employers and businesses.
SkillsAdvance OntarioProviding employers in key sectors with access to job ready, skilled workers that meet their workforce development needs and providing jobseekers and incumbent workers who experience barriers in the labour market with sector-focused employment and training services. This includes development opportunities that help workers get experience and advance in employment.
Training and employment supports for social assistance recipientsSupporting social assistance recipients with acquiring the skills they need to transition into employment by reducing time spent on administration, supporting access to employment and training, and sharing social assistance case management with Employment Ontario.
Redesign of Second Career ProgramProviding skills-training and financial support to people who have been laid off. This redesign builds on Ontario’s 2019 budget commitment to simplify and strengthen Second Career, while strategically re-focusing the program to help laid-off workers from low-skill occupations and those laid off in one of the sectors most impacted by COVID-19 in 2020.
Literacy and basic skillsHelping adults develop and apply communication, numeracy, interpersonal and digital skills to achieve their goals and transition to employment, postsecondary, apprenticeship, secondary school, and increased independence.
ApprenticeshipsModernizing service delivery in apprenticeship by developing a new client‐facing digital system, including a one-window digital portal for apprentices, promoting apprenticeship and the skilled trades as a pathway choice for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, equipping more people with the skills needed to get quality jobs through apprenticeships and transforming employment and training services to improve labour market outcomes for job seekers.
Student Success StrategyHelping Ontario students achieve academic success, graduate from secondary school and transition to their post-secondary pathway of choice. Supports include remedial programs and staff support such as Student Success Leads and Student Success teams in schools.
Post-Secondary Access and InclusionImproving access to, and retention in post-secondary education for first generation student populations using an Innovative OTR model (Outreach, Transition, and Retention). Providing specialized support, and a sequence of experiences, including one-on-one advice and career exploration, navigating post-secondary systems and providing reach-ahead credit opportunities.
Adult education programsOffering secondary credit-based programming free of charge to adult learners. Adult credit programs enable adult learners to return to high school to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or earn secondary level prerequisites for admission to postsecondary education, apprenticeship programs or transition to the workplace.
Addressing racism and inequity in schoolsAdvancing equal opportunity for Black and racialized and Indigenous students, students with special education needs and students in low-income communities, by ending Grade 9 streaming into applied and academic courses, beginning in 2021. This will help stop the disproportionate impact that streaming has had on these groups of students. This initiative also proposes to eliminate discretionary suspensions for JK to Grade 3 students in 2020 to improve outcomes and opportunities for post-secondary advancement. It will allow for a more inclusive, accountable, and transparent education system, and one that by design, is set up to fully and equally empower all children and youth to achieve their potential.
Alternative Secondary School ProgramUsing non-traditional hands-on approaches to learning required within the Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum. Alternative schools have a distinct identity and focus, such as democratic education, holistic learning, physical art, mindful living, entrepreneurship, social justice, community outreach and more.
Student and Family Advocates InitiativeCommunity-based and culturally relevant advocacy supports serving Black students and their families in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa and Windsor. Student and family advocates will work out of community-based organizations to find supports and opportunities to help Black students and their families achieve education, career and life goals.
English and French as a Second Language (ESL/FSL)Providing English and French as a Second Language (ESL/FSL) training through the Adult Language Training Program to adult immigrants to help them gain the official language skills needed to settle into their communities and integrate into the labour market.
Training for educators on cultural competency and trauma-informed approachesProviding teachers with additional anti-racism and anti-discrimination training and strengthening sanctions for teachers who engage in behaviour of a racist nature.
Indigenous Community Capital Grants ProgramProviding funding to Indigenous communities and organizations towards the development of community capital projects that contribute to a sustainable social base and support economic participation in Indigenous communities, both on and off reserve.

Pillar two: Connect people with the right supports and services: set foundations to enable long-term success

Programs to support individuals with mental health and addictions (MHA) challengesImproving access to front-line services, building a modern mental health and addictions system focused on core services embedded in a stepped-care model and a robust data and measurement framework.
Ontario’s health system transformationBuilding a connected health care system to improve the patient and caregiver experience and strengthen local services which will make it easier for Ontarians to navigate the system.
Recovery of the child care sectorPermitting licensed child care centres to operate under enhanced health and safety requirements. The reopening of child care has been guided by public health advice to keep children, families and child care workers safe.
Ensuring access to child care through fee subsidies and investing in additional child care spacesProviding a subsidy for income eligible families who have a child in a licensed child care program, authorized recreation and skill building program, camp or before- and after-school program operating directly by a school board.
Canada-Ontario Community Housing InitiativeProviding funding to Service Managers to replace the federal Social Housing Agreement funding that expires each year. Service Managers can use this funding to repair, regenerate and expand community housing, protect affordability support for tenants, support community housing providers whose original program arrangements are expiring and help community housing providers become more sustainable.
Ontario Priorities Housing InitiativeProviding flexible funding to all 47 Service Managers and the two Indigenous Program Administrators to address local priorities in the areas of housing supply and affordability, including new affordable rental construction, community housing repair, rental assistance, tenant supports and affordable homeownership.
Multi- ministry supportive housing initiativeUndertaking a review of supportive housing programs to improve services for people and increase system efficiency. Supportive housing programs assist Indigenous peoples, those with mental health issues, people with developmental disabilities, seniors, youth and people who have experienced homelessness with a wide range of supports.
Canada-Ontario Housing BenefitProviding an income-tested monthly benefit payment directly to eligible households in housing need to help pay their rent. The benefit payments are portable across Ontario, which means individuals may continue to receive the benefits when they move to a rental unit in another Service Manager area. The program targets households that include survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Indigenous persons, seniors and people with disabilities, as well as households living in community housing.
Human services integrationWorking across ministries and in collaboration with municipal partners to determine ways that the province can better enable an integrated service system management across services such as social assistance, child care and early years, social housing and homelessness prevention.
Improving coordination of adult educationPromoting coordination of services and improving access to adult education programs through regional school board partnerships and the work of support organizations such as the Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators.
Newcomer Settlement ProgramSupporting the early and effective settlement of newcomers to Ontario. The goal of the Newcomer Settlement Program is to help newcomers fully engage in all aspects of Canadian life, social, economic, political and cultural and to maximize the benefits of their participation and contribution to the Canadian society.
Revised grade 10 career studies courseUpdating the high school career studies course, which is a mandatory requirement for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, to include mandatory financial literacy and an enhanced focus on career pathways, such as apprenticeships in the skilled trades. It also takes a deeper look at financial management and budgeting and careers in high-growth Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) industries.
Victim Support GrantFunding partnerships between police services and community groups to fill existing service gaps and tailor programming to address local needs to curb the impacts of domestic violence and human trafficking across Ontario. This investment will improve supports for victims of these crimes and ensure they have timely access to culturally appropriate services.

Pillar three: Make life more affordable and build financial resiliency

Ontario’s Housing Supply Action PlanCutting red tape to make it easier to build the right type of housing in the right places, improve housing affordability and help taxpayers save money.
Personal income taxMaintaining Ontario as a competitive tax system for low income people. Ontario has the lowest provincial personal income tax (PIT) rate in Canada on the first $44,740 of taxable income in 2020.
Ontario Electricity Support Program(OESP)Lowering electricity bills for lower-income households. This program provides a monthly credit applied directly to eligible customers’ bills based on household income and household size (ranging from $35 to $75). If your home is electrically heated, or you rely on certain medical devices requiring a lot of power, or at least one Indigenous member lives in your household, the Ontario Electricity Support Program offers an enhanced credit amount, which ranges from $52 to $113 per month.
First Nations Delivery CreditProviding a credit equal to 100% of delivery charges to First Nations residential customers who live on-reserve and are served by a licensed local electricity distribution company.
First Nations conservation programsProviding energy assessments and energy efficient measures at no cost for on-reserve buildings on a community-by-community basis, the program is modelled on the Energy Affordability Program. First Nations programs are expected to evolve to meet changing community needs in 2021. A mid-term review of the Framework in 2022 will also provide an opportunity to review how programs are meeting customer needs, including for those that may experience challenges in accessing the Energy Affordability Program.

Pillar four: Accelerate action and drive progress

Digital InclusionAdvancing digital inclusion for underserved and marginalized Ontarians by increasing access to affordable high-speed internet and internet enabled devices, improving digital literacy and skills and through other priority areas that will be featured in the upcoming Digital and Data Strategy.
Social Services Relief FundProtecting the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people through COVID-19 social services relief funding. $510 million in funding was provided to municipalities and Indigenous partners to help with the cost of services such as shelters, food banks, emergency services and contributing to charities and non-profits.
Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) programInvesting $300 million in a new program that, when leveraged with partner funding, has the potential to result in total investments of more than $900 million to improve broadband and cellular coverage in underserved and unserved communities as part of the Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.
Youth Opportunities FundProviding grants and capacity building supports to grassroots groups, community-based organizations and collaboratives focused on improving the well-being of children, youth and families facing systemic barriers. This includes funding to the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and for Black communities to address the impact of COVID-19.
Advocate for Community OpportunitiesThe Advocate for Community Opportunities, a special advisor to the Premier, works to open lines of communications between communities and the government, empower community members and increase community participation in government decision making.
Premier’s Council on Equality of OpportunityThe Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity is a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities FundThe Ontario Trillium Foundation provides funding to charitable and non-profit organizations that contribute to building strong and healthy communities, including by supporting the positive development of children and youth and enhancing people’s economic well-being.

The government is investing in 2020-21 through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to help eligible non-profit organizations, including food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches, recover from COVID-19 and continue the delivery of vital programming in their communities.
Annual reporting on the Poverty Reduction StrategyReporting annually to the public, as required by legislation, on progress on the strategy’s target and indicators.
Identity-based analysisBuilding public sector capacity in and application of identity-based data and analysis to assess how policies and programs are experienced by diverse groups such as Black and racialized and Indigenous communities and different gender identities.