Agenda Programs

Transforming Ontario's Social Assistance: The final report on the reform of Ontario's social assistance has been released by Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh. It calls for a more integrated approach for helping Ontarians in need. The Agenda examines the recommendations.

Politics Around Poverty: Why are people still impoverished in today's Canada? The Agenda examines what stands between poverty and its solution. 

Your Brothers' Keepers: Am I always my brother's keeper? Not all Canadians feel that all poor people deserve public support. The Agenda examines the divide between who needs public support and those who ought to be able to help themselves.

Bill Laidlaw: Banking on Food: Ontario Association of Food Banks executive director Bill Laidlaw tells Steve Paikin about the dire need for food across Ontario's 1,200 food banks.

Blog Posts

Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario

By Agenda producer Allison Buchan-Terrell

On Wednesday, October 24, Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh, heads of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, released their final report, "Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario" (embedded in full below). ..."

Read the rest of Buchan-Terrell's post

The Agenda's Take on Poverty

By Agenda producer Navin Vaswani

Poverty -- in Ontario, Canada, and across the world -- is an issue that we tackle on The Agenda with regularity. And as we'll be contributing to TVO's "Why Poverty?" campaign, we thought it would be prudent to look back and post some of our past discussions and interviews focused on poverty.

Watch past poverty-related Agenda content by clicking through to Vaswani's post

Homelessness in Muskoka Revisited

By Agenda producer Meredith Martin

Just over 10 years ago, I produced an item for The Agenda’s predecessor, Studio 2, called "Homelessness in Muskoka." Back in 2002, a few newspaper stories had surfaced about the insufficient number of rental units available in the Muskoka region, low vacancy rates, and disproportionately high rents. In an attempt to update the story for TVO’s special "Why Poverty?" series, I looked for more current data, and found that not much has changed. ...

Read the rest of Martin's post.

Rural Discontent Examined

By Agenda producer Meredith Martin 

Sometimes when you're working on a story, it leads you to another one.

While talking to Laura Redman of the Muskoka YWCA about the issue of affordable housing, or lack thereof, the conversation zigged and zagged, as they sometimes do. One thing Redman said about the dwindling number of seasonal jobs struck me, because the issue of temporary, foreign workers came up. This was unexpected, because although I knew that migrant labour was often used on farms in Ontario, I had no idea that some of the resorts in the Muskokas were using it too.

Read the rest of Martin's post

What Does Poverty Look Like Where You Live?

By Agenda producer Mary Taws

In early November, we put out an appeal, asking you: what does poverty look like in your community? You responded.

To read more of the feedback we received across mutliple social media platforms, please read the rest of Taws' post

What Do You Think of Guaranteed Annual Income?

By Agenda producer Daniel Kitts

For some time, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal has been advocating the idea of a "guaranteed annual income" for all Canadians as a way of reducing poverty. You can find out more about Segal's proposal by watching the short video below. 

To read some of the feedback we received about Guaranteed Annual Income, read the rest of Kitts' post.

Moving the Yardsticks on Poverty Reduction

By Agenda producer Allison Buchan-Terrell

On Friday, November 9, I attended a community conversation organized by the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, featuring the newly formed federal anti-poverty caucus. Hometown NDP MP Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain) sat with her fellow anti-poverty caucus members, Liberal senator Art Eggleton and Conservative senator Don Meredith (pictured, from left to right), listening as a series of speakers took the mic to share their experiences working with people living in poverty, or living in poverty themselves. ...

Read the rest of Buchan-Terrell's post.

Armine Yalnizyan vs. Andrew Coyne

After that spirited exchange on The Agenda in October, Armine Yalnizyan and Andrew Coyne took their conversation about poverty to Twitter.

To see more of Yalnizyan and Coyne's conversation on Twitter, read the rest of the post

Guest Post: Invisible Poverty

By an Agenda viewer who asked to remain anonymous

This may be a touch long, I'm sorry.

I'm mostly just doing this because I think understanding an experience in a way that resonates, rather than looking at numbers, is important, even just for background. I know some of it will come off as whining, but experiencing it is like being in a constant state of trauma, and it is difficult to keep from sliding into self-pity, which I admit is a problem for me.

The face of poverty in my community (or rather, my own situation, because it seems so many of our stories are different) is chiefly about passing for middle class. ...

Read the rest of the guest post.

India's Unforgettable Poverty

By Agenda producer Navin Vaswani

What do you think of when you hear or read the word “poverty”? What images come to mind? ... For me, the answer is simple: I think of India. Poverty in India is raw. It’s the opposite of invisible; it’s in your face. And to a young Canadian boy visiting India for the first time, it’s seemingly everywhere. ...

Read the rest of Vaswani's post.

Guest Post: Five Reasons Income Security Should Remain a Priority

By Pedro Barata of United Way Toronto

The ink was barely dry on Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh's Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario final report when the inevitable questions about “political priorities” began emerging: what kind of attention can social assistance really muster in the context of ongoing debates on jobs, the economy, deficits, party leadership, and election scuttlebutt? ... Here are five reasons why income security reform should be top of mind for the province: ...

Read the rest of Barata's post

Guest Post: Addressing the Underlying Causes of Homelessness

By Louise Chabros of Close to Home

... Woodwynn Farms is a 193-acre organic farm that serves as a therapeutic community for the homeless. The farms offer an opportunity to change people's lives with educational and work programs based on responsibility, dignity, independence, and the principles of peer-to-peer help. ...

Read the rest of Chabros' post.

Do All Poor Deserve Public Assistance?

In late November, we put out yet another appeal, asking you: do all poor people deserve public assistance? Once again, you responded.

To read more of the feedback we received across multiple social media platforms, read the rest of the post

How Countries Around the World are Tackling Poverty

By Agenda producer Mary Taws

Throughout TVO's "Why Poverty?" series, we've talked about the problem of poverty, and we've talked about local solutions.

As the series wraps up, I'd like to take a look at two interesting methods of poverty eradication, in Mongolia and Haiti. 

The importance of a support system has come up many times during The Agenda's programs on poverty. In Haiti, "household development agents" are being assigned to directly provide guidance and support. ...

Read the rest of Taws' post.

The 2012 Ontario Hunger Report

By Agenda producer Navin Vaswani

Until December 3, I never knew how many people in Ontario used food banks every month. I'll be honest: I never bothered to wonder, or ask. Thanks to the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB), I now know the answer, and it’s higher than I anticipated: 412,000. And that’s the whole point of “Why Poverty?”, isn’t it? We’ve all got to ask why.

The OAFB released their 2012 Hunger Report on Monday, aptly titled “412,998.” That’s how many Ontarians accessed food banks in March of this year. The numbers are shocking: “159,918 children per month use food banks.”  In 2012, “... 17,910 households accessed food banks for the first time in their lives ...” ...

Read the rest of Vaswani's post.

"Why Poverty?" Infographics

Download the full-size infographic at TVO's "Why Poverty?" microsite.

Download the full-size infographic at TVO's "Why Poverty?" microsite.

For more of TVO's "Why Poverty?" content, visit our microsite, where you'll find more infographics, documentaries, classroom tools, quizzes, and more.