Rates of homelessness and poverty are the highest in Timmins and North Bay compared to the rest of Canada, and now a Northern Ontario MPP is asking for answers. The New Democrat Critic for Community and Social Services, Sarah Campbell, says the government is failing vulnerable people in northern Ontario.

Some alarming statistics are also coming out of Sudbury:

– The homeless population has more than doubled since 2009
– Almost one per cent of Sudbury’s population is homeless
– Indigenous people only represent about 8.2 per cent of the population in Sudbury, they represent about 43 per cent of the homeless population
– 182 homeless people in Sudbury are children under the age of 18

The Minister responsible for Poverty Reduction Strategy, Deb Matthews, says the province has developed a strategy to combat poverty and homelessness for the north. She says they recognize that what works in southern Ontario, won’t work in the north, and have heard loud and clear the diversity of homelessness and poverty across the province.

Matthews says the province has identified four population groups that they will focus on first. She says that includes youth, Aboriginal people, those transitioning from government institutions like the Children’s Aid Society, and those who are chronically homeless. She says there is a lot of work ahead, but they are committed to helping people who are below the poverty line or without a home.