On May 1st and 2nd, 2018 PROMPT, Muskoka's anti-poverty organization, is holding
a Rural Poverty Summit at Camp Crossroads in Torrance, Ontario on Lake Muskoka.
The Summit builds on a groundswell of action happening across the province to make
the voices of people who experience rural poverty heard and listened to at provincial
and municipal levels of government.
Like much of rural Ontario, our poverty is hidden amongst awesome landscapes and
the misleading signs that tourism and vacation lifestyles hide. Too much of our
economy is seasonal. Where once a seasonal worker would qualify for employment insurance,
we now rely on Ontario Works assistance in the off-season. People with disabilities
face great difficulty competing in our seasonal economy.
Canada Mortgage and Housing statistics do not adequately reflect the true cost of
rural rental rates. Accommodation that is available in winter is lost in summer
to tourists and students working in the summer service industry. Transportation
costs are huge. Access to services and health care is limited and complicated by
transportation costs. Delivery charges of electricity in rural Ontario are still
high despite changes. Social isolation is very difficult to overcome.
In late 2017, groups in eastern Ontario drew up a Rural Poverty Statement, Put Food
in the Budget`s AGM included action on rural poverty in their agenda and PROMPT
began planning to hold a Rural Poverty Summit.
Participants at the Summit are people with lived experience of poverty and their
allies. We invite people from districts around us and other rural communities.
The agenda will gather the evidence of rural poverty experiences, name solutions
to the problems we face, build our capacity to make change and decide action we
can take collectively and in our local communities.
PROMPT is comprised of service provider representatives as well as individuals and
families with "lived experience". PROMPT is committed to reducing poverty by carrying
out work and activities in the core areas of advocacy, public education, awareness
and community mobilization.
Put Food in the Budget (www.putfoodinthebudget.ca)
is a grassroots activist group working to hold the Ontario governments to their
promises made - but not kept - to reduce poverty. Its broad goal is achieving social
and economic justice for the growing numbers of poor people in this province.