POVERTY SHOULDN'T BE PUNISHED

We have a systemic problem. Ontario allows, and the government itself uses, policies that make it expensive to be poor. Things like insurance cancellation for late payments, refusal of OSAP to people who've been bankrupt, and exorbitant banking fees for declined automatic withdrawals are all things it's in our power to chance. We need to stop punishing people for being poor.

Any time we have or allow a policy that imposes heavy consequences for non-payment, we’re disproportionately impacting low-income people and families. In many cases, those consequences can have an exponential effect, leaving people in dire and difficult circumstances because they faced financial difficulty, even temporarily. 

A couple of key areas I'll address as an MPP are

  • transportation-related issues
    • license suspensions for non-payment of tickets should not face the same repercussions as license suspensions for dangerous or illegal behaviour
    • insurance rates should not take into account payment history or period without insurance. Not being able to afford insurance, or having plans cancelled for non-payment, should not force Ontarians into higher premiums or high-risk categories. 

  • OSAP
    • currently it is very difficult for an individual who has filed for bankruptcy in the past to ever get funding—either grants or loans—through OSAP. We need to fix this issue so that Ontarians who want to work hard to improve their lives after financial trouble are able to do so.

  • Banking
    • NSF fees for automatic withdrawals are out of control and out of sync with the real cost to financial institutions of a declined withdrawal. It punishes people who struggle with cashflow at home. We need to work with banks to regulate and end these exorbitant fees.

    • Payday lenders and cheque cashers need to go. But they need to be replaced with something. The unfortunate reality is that many people rely on them because they don't qualify to open a bank account. We don't need any more minor tweaks—we need a solution for those people soon.

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