Spening on social programs in Ottawa lags behind: a homeless person lies on the street in winter clothing.

New Carleton Research Says Ottawa is Balancing its Budget on the Backs of the Poor

Carleton University’s Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE) has recently completed an analysis of the City of Ottawa’s budget trends showing that spending on social programs in Ottawa lags behind other budget items.

“Since 2009, Ottawa has had the first or second highest median income of any metropolitan region in Canada,” says Steve Pomeroy, senior research fellow at CURE. “In addition, Ottawa has the fourth-highest home prices, which gives it the benefit of a rich tax base to properly fund social programs.”

The analysis found disproportionately lower increases in Ottawa’s annual spending in the area of social services and support to vulnerable populations.

Social Programs in Ottawa Not Reflected Well in Budget

“Ottawa’s citizens actively engage in local fundraising campaigns and are generous and caring,” said Pomeroy. “This is not being reflected in the municipal budget.”

Compared to spending in policing and protective services, parks and recreation and health, spending on community and social services is much lower and has increased at a slower rate, says the report. In relative spending and per capita terms, it has declined.  This is in spite of an increasing population and a demonstrated need from vulnerable individuals, as indicated by the number of families seeking income assistance.

You can read the full report here.

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