MEDIA RELEASE: The City of Greater Sudbury's Approach to the Cut to the CSUMB

Dec 3, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: The City of Greater Sudbury's Approach to the Cut to the CSUMB

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For Immediate Release
Monday December 3rd, 2012

Media Release Regarding the City of Greater Sudbury’s Approach to the Cut to the CSUMB

S-CAP Calls for the City of Greater Sudbury to Oppose the Cut to the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit.

The Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty is calling on the City of Greater Sudbury to take a decisive stance opposing the cut to the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB), which is slated to occur January 1st, 2013.  At the meeting of the Community Services Committee on Monday December 3rd, S-CAP will be asking that City Council inform the province of its firm opposition to the cut to the CSUMB.

At this meeting a report on how the financial implications for the city resulting from the provincial cut to the CSUMB and other homelessness initiatives will be delivered.  In the report, city officials demonstrate that there will be a roughly 1.6 million dollar reduction in funds available to the city for supports for low income residents, including the CSUMB.  The facts in this report stand in contrast with the statements Mr. Rick Bartolucci made in November.  He stated that there would be “no reduction in services”. This is a flat-out lie.  Mr. Bartolucci is supporting these cuts which will lead to an increase in homelessness and other hardships, while denying the real impact that these cuts will have.

Since the Mike Harris cuts of the 1990’s people on Ontario Works and ODSP have seen the spending power on their cheques fall by close to 60%. This year’s Provincial Budget continued the rapid decline with rates that don’t even keep up with inflation. Following the previous gutting of the vital Special Diet benefit, this year’s Budget also brought a series of cutbacks for people on social assistance including the elimination of the CSUMB.

The CSUMB is one of the only ways that people on OW or ODSP can get housing, cover the costs of moving, stave off eviction, and obtain the basic items to maintain a home. It is a defense against homelessness and a means by which many women and children are able to leave situations of domestic violence. Cutting CSUMB is designed to hurt people as much as possible when they are at the most vulnerable point in their lives. It will increase homelessness and hardship.

Others are calling for the maintenance of the CSUMB as well.  The Wellesley Institute, as well as the Niagara Region Council and the Nipissing DSAB have adopted official positions opposing this cut (please see enclosures/links for details).  As George Maroosis, Chair of the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB), recently wrote to the Minister of Community and Social Services: “Given the inadequate basic needs and shelter allowances for the Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the CSUMB has emerged as a core benefit for supporting people on social assistance. To that end, we are asking that the province fully reinstate CSUMB” (October 31, 2012).  We are calling call on the City of Greater Sudbury to support this position and to communicate it as quickly as possible to the Minister of Community and Social Services and the Ontario government.

This is a benefit which we believe is vital to the well-being of those on social assistance, and as such it is important to safeguard access to this fund.  If the cut does go through, S-CAP is asking that the City of Greater Sudbury commit itself to maintaining this funding at the level it is offered now for all people in Greater Sudbury who are on OW and ODSP.

The Hamilton City Council has committed to this.  They passed a motion to cover all CSUMB benefits for another 6 months after the cut in January (please see enclosures/links for details).  S-CAP is asking that the City of Greater Sudbury to go beyond this and cover the costs of the CSUMB on a permanent basis if the provincial cut goes through.


(Sudbury) Community Services Committee Information Report on the Consolidated Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI).

Wellesley Institute report, The Real Cost of Cutting CSUMB.

City of Hamilton Motion Committing to Maintain the CSUMB.

A Hamilton Spectator story on the issue.