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Protesters demand social assistance hike

A number of local organizations will gather at Memorial Park April 12 to demand action on poverty.
A number of local organizations will gather at Memorial Park April 12 to demand action on poverty.

The rally is being held as part of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty's Raise the Rates campaign, a week of action in advance of the 2013 provincial budget.

A free meal will be served starting at 3:45 p.m., with a rally starting at 4 p.m. and a march through downtown Sudbury to Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci's office and the provincial building starting at 5 p.m.

Speakers at the event will include Carrie Lynn Poole of CUPE Ontario and the Raise the Rates Campaign, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, Monique Beaudoin of Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury, Lianne Bergeron of the Clinique du coin and Gary Kinsman of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP).

Among the changes being advocated by the Raise the Rates campaign are:

-No cut to the Special Diet and restore the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB).
-No downloading of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or forcing people with disabilities into poverty jobs.
-Restore Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP rates to where they were in 1995 – a 56 per cent increase is needed now.
-End the freeze on minimum wage.

A press release from the rally's organizers said Premier Kathleen Wynne is asking people to believe she's the “Social Justice Premier,” even though she was part of the McGuinty government's “attack on social assistance.”

“She wants our communities to stop mobilizing and challenging her and to go back to the failed strategy of consultations with the government instead,” the press release said.

“The Raise the Rates Campaign sees no reason to trust Wynne or to stop confronting the Liberal government's austerity agenda.

“We demand real measures to increase sub-poverty social assistance rates and low wages and we are ready to fight back against cutbacks and attacks on the poor her government is considering in its upcoming budget.”

The rally is being supported by S-CAP, the Sudbury and District Labour Council, the Sudbury CUPE Council, Idle No More, Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury, the Sudbury Workers' Education and Advocacy Centre, Radical North and the Poverty, Homelessness and Migration Research Project at Laurentian University.

For more information about the rally, contact S-CAP at 249-878-7227, email or visit or