Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults 

To address the issue of underemployment in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), CivicAction convened a over 50 opinion leaders from diverse backgrounds to launch a Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults (MISWAA) in 2004.

Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults

Social Policy
April 12, 2021
Problem Addressed

CivicAction’s 2003 Summit identified that nearly 30% of Canada’s low wage workers can’t make ends meet because they don’t earn enough to cover the cost of living, especially in larger cities. The Summit also found that only 22% of unemployed people in the GTA benefit from Employment Insurance (EI).

Solutions Implemented
  • CivicAction and St. Christopher House launched a Task Force for MISWAA in 2004. The MISWAA Task Force addressed this looming crisis by charting reforms to income security policies and programs that would better support low-income adults in gaining economic independence and participating in the labour market.

Key Results

Provided a Roadmap

Work culminated in the May 2006 report, Time for a Fair Deal. It was a guide to modernize income security to ensure the full economic participation of working-age adults.

Tax Benefits

The Task Force’s work helped to introduce the federal Working Income Tax Benefit, the Ontario Child Benefit, and a provincial dental plan for individuals with low income.

We believe the Task Force was unprecedented in a number of respects: in getting leaders from all those sectors, including business, together at the same table to talk about income security; in having all of those think tanks involved in one Working Group; and in the extent of the involvement of people directly affected by the problems with the system.

– Jill Black, J.E. Black & Co. and Working Group Co-chair

This initiative drove change in communities across the province. As an example of the impact of this work, the poverty rate for children in Ontario declined from 15.2% in 2008 to 14.6% in 2009, with 19,000 fewer Ontario children living in poverty in part because of the Ontario Child Benefit.