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July 22, 2011

Poverty Deserved?

By Kaylie Tiessen


Two months ago, I began working as a poverty program researcher at MCCO. At the time, I thought I knew a lot about poverty – I certainly knew all of the stereotypes that we, as a society, have for people living in poverty—I have learned, though, that I don’t know squat.


One of the most important lessons for me so far is that poverty is about a lot more than just money.


Technically speaking, I live in poverty.

July 18, 2011

Remembering Gerald Vandezande

A friend and former colleague, Gerald Vandezande, passed away on the weekend. Gerald helped to found Citizens for Public Justice, an ecumenical Christian voice for justice in Canadian public affairs. I had the good fortune to start my career in anti-poverty advocacy working with Gerald. I learned a lot just watching Gerald as he appeared before Commons committees at pre-budget hearings or in meetings with federal cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament.

Gerald had a passion for social justice that was infectious. I certainly caught the bug working with him. And Gerald had a way of drawing good things out of people to advance the cause of justice in Canada.

I have been blessed by having had the chance to know and work with Gerald. And will miss him.

July 13, 2011

Where do Ontario's political parties stand on ending poverty?

Every political party in the Ontario legislature voted for the Poverty Reduction Act that passed into law on May 6, 2009. That means whoever forms the Government after the October 6, 2011 provincial election has a commitment to take concrete steps to reduce poverty in Ontario. 

Here is what you need to know. It comes directly from the Poverty Reduction Act:

July 11, 2011

Changes needed to eradicate poverty in Ontario


What kind of changes are needed to end deep poverty and give people a real chance to get ahead?

Some of the answers can be found in the Waterloo Region Social Audit Report. The Waterloo Region aocial audit was conducted in February 2010 as part of an Ontario-wide Social Audit organized by the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC). This report is a companion to Persistent Poverty: voices from the margins, which pulled together findings from the social audits conducted in twenty-six communities across the province.

July 8, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work for You

Take a walk through your day. What public services do you value most?

Is it the clean water you use to make your morning coffee or to brush your teeth ? Is it the sidewalks and roadways you use to get to work or school or to go shopping? Is it the local park or the provincial park where you love to camp? Maybe it is the school you or your children attend.

It turns out that we get a lot more from our tax dollars than we think.

July 6, 2011

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Kaylie Tiessen is working as an Poverty Programs Research intern at Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. She has worked on a report from the ISARC Waterloo Region Social Audit, participated in meetings with federal candidates and a Talking About Jobs forum in Kitchener. This is the first in a series of reflections on her work.


Jobs, jobs, jobs – it seems like everyone I run into these days is talking about jobs.  People want a new job, a better job, any job.  People are worried about their children finding jobs.  Government is telling us that they have created jobs.  Researchers are warning us to ask what kinds of jobs have been created.  We’ve even asked candidates from the federal election what they heard most about during their campaigns.  The answer – jobs!