Municipal Candidate Social Justice Toolbox


Welcome to the Municipal Election Toolkit for Candidates.

This guide will help you become election-ready.

We’ve put together a list of ways you can take action and participate. With your help, we can elect a government that will help build a better country for all community members.

Click to read as an electronic magazine format or continue below.

Municipal Government Responsibilities (may differ by region)

The provincial government determines the powers of municipal governments. Municipal governments in Ontario are responsible for providing many of the services within their local boundaries that you rely on daily such as:

  • Airports
  • Ambulance
  • Animal Control and Bylaw Enforcement
  • Arts and Culture
  • Child Care
  • Economic Development
  • Fire Services
  • Garbage Collection and Recycling
  • Electric Utilities
  • Library Services
  • Long-term Care and Senior Housing  
  • Maintenance of Local Road Network
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Transit
  • Planning New Community Developments and Enhancing Existing Neighbourhoods
  • Police Services
  • Property Assessment
  • Provincial Offences Administration  
  • Public Health
  • Sidewalks
  • Snow Removal
  • Social Services
  • Social Housing  
  • Storm Sewers
  • Tax Collection
  • Water and Sewage

The Current Context

The COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on marginalized and vulnerable people. Over the past two years, rural communities and small cities have experienced an influx of change. It is imperative to recognize local opportunities for progress that address vulnerabilities and make us more resilient.

What is Social Justice?

Social justice is the assertion of the ideal that all humans should have the same rights and opportunities. From access to health care to safe spaces to live, social justice aims to level the playing field and eliminate discrimination. The idea behind social justice is we all have innate value as human beings and no person’s value is more or less than anyone else’s.

 Exploring Major Social Justice Issues in Perth-Huron

Different social justice issues come to the forefront at different times, and certain issues might be more relevant across different countries, societies, cultures, cities and neighborhoods. They affect people’s access to different types of goods, services and opportunities. Social justice issues are often wide-ranging and diverse. Below are a few of concern locally today.

Poverty

Poverty

Housing and Homelessness

Housing and Homelessness

Income

Income; Living Wage, Basic Income

Mental Health

Mental Health and Addictions

Equity Diversity and Inclusion

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Community Safety and Well-being

Community Safety and Well-being


Supporting Living Wage employers is a start in achieving a sustainable quality of life in Perth-Huron.

The concept of a living wage is bigger than income. It is about ensuring our neighbours can afford to pay their rent and buy nutritious food, our workers are healthy and able to pay for transportation to get to work every day and our children are given sufficient social and educational opportunities so they can flourish.

Basic Income can be good for business. Putting money in citizen’s hands lets them spend it in their local economies, which could cause private capital investments to increase up to $15 billion a year — more than double all Canadian venture capital investments a year.[1]

Basic Income is a raise for working Canadians. Economic activity from Basic Income would cause businesses to hire, spending up to $32 billion a year in total wages— as much as the profits of our top 3 banks.[2]

Actions

  • Provide incentives (e.g. tax, fees, etc) to encourage local business owners to pay a Living Wage.
  • Provide public support by writing a letter or meeting with the Member of Parliament that Basic Income can grow Canada’s economy while ending poverty and growing the middle class.
  • Discuss Living Wage and Basic Income at the Warden’s Caucus meetings, Regional Municipal meetings, etc.

 Background

Many people struggling financially prior to the pandemic were unprepared for a brief emergency, let alone prolonged economic shutdowns:

  • 57% of people with incomes make less than $35,000 in Perth-Huron.[3]
  • 30% of employees worked longer hours, with the number of employees working 41–51 hours per week doubling from 2019 to 2020.[4]
  • In 2019, 4% of the population at Perth and Huron had more than one paid job and that number increased to 6% in 2020.[5]

COVID-19 has increased hardship and risk for those with lower incomes[6] — curtailing services they relied on to make ends meet, increasing daily living costs, deepening social isolation and exposing low-wage essential workers to increased health risks. In 2019, 23% of families in Huron and 28% families in Perth were identified as low-income family status.[7]

Living Wage[8]

Fostering resiliency in small cities and rural communities requires economic flexibility and the ability to recognize new opportunities moving forward. The purpose of the Living Wage is to strengthen and support local employers’ efforts to attract and retain employees. The Living Wage is a response to the rise in precarious employment and a key part of economic growth, providing workers and their families with a better way of life, benefiting employers and helping build more vibrant and healthy communities.

Living Wage helps bridge the gap:

  • Workforce: Perth-Huron is a region that needs to attract and retain a workforce. Collectively, we are a community of low unemployment rates and precarious employment. Securing a Living Wage assists in the retention and attraction of employees to our community.
  • Income: Income levels have not kept pace with the rate of inflation. A Living Wage helps narrow the inflation rate gap.
  • Housing: Development of all types of housing is critical to economic and social development within Perth-Huron. A diverse selection of housing will attract families and skilled labourers.

 Basic Income,

According to a new report: Basic Income can grow Ontario’s economy $40B/year, add 287,000 jobs[9]

  • Basic Income is a sustainable investment that can grow Ontario’s economy, create jobs, raise wages, and support businesses while ending poverty.
  • Basic Income can be good for business. Putting money in Canadians’ hands lets them spend it in their local economies, which could cause private capital investments to increase up to $15 billion a year — more than double all yearly Canadian venture capital investments.
  • Basic Income is a raise for working Canadians. Economic activity from Basic Income would cause businesses to hire, spending up to $32 billion a year in total wages — as much as the profits of our top 3 banks.
  • Basic Income can be a self-sustaining investment. Basic Income could grow the economy more than it costsin the long term, making this a sustainable investment over time. It could generate $22 billion a year in new government revenues from new economic activity — as much as all EI Premiums paid by employees and employers.
  • Basic Income could grow the economy sustainably while lifting 2 million families out of povertyand growing the middle class.

Learn More

[1] Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) Report (December 2020) Potential Economic Impacts and Reach of Basic Income Programs in Canada 

[2] Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) Report(December 2020) Potential Economic Impacts and Reach of Basic Income Programs in Canada 

[3] Statistic Canada, Tax filers and dependents with income by total income, sex and age

[4] United Way Centraide Canada UWCC. 2022. Demographics and Community Dashboard, Environics Analytics Data, Community Life Part 3. (WHW120C1, WHW120C11, WHW120C21, WHW120C31, WHW120C36, WHW120C41, WHW120C51) https://www.unitedway.ca/

[5]United Way Centraide Canada UWCC. 2022. Demographics and Community Dashboard, Environics Analytics Data, Community Life Part 3 (Variable WHW1101

[6] Statistic Canada, Financial resilience and financial well-being of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. September 2021

[7] Statistics Canada 2019 Annual Income Estimates for Census Families, Individuals and SeniorsT1 Family File, Final Estimates, 2019. Reference 20026 – 976982

[8] Social Research and Planning Council Perth Huron 2020 Living Wage

[9] Economic Impacts and Reach for Basic Income Programs in Canada: CANCEA Report(December 2020) Potential Economic Impacts and Reach of Basic Income Programs in Canada  https://www.ubiworks.ca/groweconomy 


 

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