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Group Warns Poverty Rate Could Soar If Province Doesn't Live Up To Promises

The province must look to lessons learned during the last recession when it comes to helping those most affected by the bad economy.

The 25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network said Ontario could miss its targets in its plan to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent by 2013.

In a report released this week, the group warns the province’s poverty rate is set to “explode” if the government doesn’t step up its efforts to help those in need.

One of the key mistakes from the last recession that politicians must avoid is cutting public sector programs and services, which often provide a hand-up for people trying to find their way out of poverty, the group said.

It’s recommending that the government review its rules around social assistance and beef up the Ontario Child Benefit, affordable housing and minimum wage.

The 25 in 5 report was released just before the province outlined its actions to reduce poverty Wednesday.

The government announced it has created a social assistance advisory group, headed by Daily Break Food Bank Executive Director Gail Nyberg, which will report back with recommendations by the end of 2010.

Meanwhile the Daily Bread Food Bank is reporting the number of people it serves has reached a record high.

The charity has seen a 19 per cent increase in use since last year. During the recession in the 1990s, Daily Bread reported a 10 per cent increase.