Poverty Is Costing Niagara, Ontario’s Economy More Than A Billion Dollars A Year

By Doug Draper

We already know that Niagara, Ontario suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada.

Image from online version of Niagara Community Observatory’s report on cost of poverty in the region.

Now – according to a research report released this September 26 by the Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University – we are learning that poverty in Niagara is costing the region’s overall economy $1.38 billion annual in lost productivity, health care, social assistance payments and other expenses. And that, say the report’s authors Doug Hagar and Sophia Papastavrou, is based on conservative estimates.

“The consequences of Poverty in Niagara affect everyone,” concludes the report. “Poverty is not only a serious personal tragedy for those who endure it, it costs all of us in wasted human resources as well as lost tax revenues.”

Says Niagara Community Observatory director David Siegel; “By looking at poverty in Niagara through  a new lens – one of creating an investment model to help reduce the costs of the consequences of poverty – we could boost our local economy substantially.” 

The eight-page report – a policy brief titled ‘Are The Consequences of Poverty Holding Niagara Back?’ – goes on to outline what can be done to address poverty and its economic impact on the region. The report refers to a number of initiatives underway at the regional government level to address poverty in areas of Niagara most affected by it. 

The report also calls for decreasing poverty through such means as community advocacy, providing services for ensuring health care and other needs for people living in poverty.

You can read the whole report by visiting the Niagara Community Observatory’s website at http://www.brocku.ca/nagara-community-observatory . Then share your views on on this subject with Niagara At Large below.


6 responses to “Poverty Is Costing Niagara, Ontario’s Economy More Than A Billion Dollars A Year

  1. Much of poverty can be alleviated if they would just change the rules for ODSP. Many people I know who are on ODSP want to work, but if they do so, they will be far worse off. Many of these things do not involve money, at least directly in the form of an influx, but they do need a shift in political attitudes, because trapping people for a life in severe poverty can’t be good for anybody, or even the rest of us who are seeing health care costs, corrections cost, reduced sense of safety and security in the community, more isolation and so forth, as a result of marginalizing people.


  2. The policies of Dalton McGuinty have been brutal to the entire Niagara Region. He unleashed George Smitherman on Fort Erie who killed most of the Bingo Halls. He then closed the Hospital and then the coup de grace was the closing of the slots. all done without any input from the people.


  3. Let’s not forget NAFTA and the high dollar for hollowing out manufacturing in North America. China is getting the lion’s share of our value-added jobs.


    • Mark good point, One reason private sector unions don’t work in Canada is that corporations simply take there work to China. And no one seems to care how employees are paid or treated once the work is done off shore.


  4. I spent part of my Thursday afternoon at the Niagara Region’s headquarters where they spelled out the region’s status after the province just finished making cuts to homeless, start up and home repair benefits, as well as limiting certain health and non health benefits for people receiving Ontario Works. Niagara’s funding has been cut more than half and this is impacting on their whole social services schemes, including hostel funding, seniors support and other programs. It’s time to start tossing a few people out of office, starting with Dalton McGuinty.


  5. Matt, globalism is an economic theory which is failing, and these so-called trade deals are more about corporate control than trade. If corporate control means China calls the shots (China hates unions almost as much as Tim Hudak), then that’s all the more reason to reject neoliberalism/globalism. Look at what’s already happening: we’re selling out to China, which is impacting our laws (Bill C-38), and our environment. Humanity can not afford to disregard the environment or the people as is currently happening. Globalism means the country with the lowest costs wins, so, if you have slavery, you win. China’s workforce is basically at the feudal level, so in order to compete with them, we have to become feudal as well. There are alternatives. We need to become more competitive through innovation etc. Our competitiveness is falling. The more we rely on primary resource extraction and ignore a diversified economy, the more we’ll fall behind. We also need to put an end to counter-productive corporate welfare etc. etc. The petro companies DO NOT merit subsidies. The fastest growing segment of the economy in Germany right now is alternate energy, and they’re innovating, improving all the time. Too bad we don’t do the same.


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