Man Paying the Bills

The York Region Taxpayers Coalition is concerned with the rapid growth in “working poor” living within the municipality of York Region.

Working poor are defined as being employed but earning an household income of less than $16,968 (for a single person household) annually or $33,936 annually for a household of two adults and two children.

In 2006, approximately 6.6% of York Region households, or 31,270 of those employed were considered working poor. In 2012, that number has increased to by more than 30% to 42,930 – or 8% of all employed residents. York Region estimates the total amount of employed persons at 538,060.

Most concerning is the average age of the working poor is increasing over this period of time. The most significant increase of working poor has occurred in the 45-54 year old age bracket. The number of working poor couples with children have skyrocketed by approximately 29% between 2006 and 2012.

Approximately 83% of York Region’s working poor reside in the Region’s most affluent cities – Markham at 38.6%, Vaughan at 24.1%, and Richmond Hill at 20.1%. And yet York public housing properties (Housing York) are most likely to be located in the Region’s northern communities, most predominantly in Newmarket and Georgina.

York Region Taxpayers Coalition recommends that York Region Council review the number of public housing units the Region currently owns (approximately 2,483 units in all serving approximately 4,000 residents), and determine if this represents an adequate supply to accommodate the Region’s 43,000 working poor, including those unable to work due to disability, those who are unemployed, on Ontario Works, and low income seniors. We would also suggest that if new properties are to be considered, that these properties be located within the cities where to working poor currently reside – Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.
York Region residents pay higher property taxes than others within the GTA because we support having a social safety net to protect our most vulnerable of residents.

York Region Taxpayers wishes to ensure that public money intended to support those in need actually goes towards investments in public housing units as opposed to red tape and high cost administrative bureaucracy.

Working poor families should be commended for taking low paying jobs as opposed to giving up and relying solely on government assistance. The municipality of York Region must do its part to help make their lives better by making a better effort to provide more affordable housing options.

We also encourage York Region Council to look into ways to reduce red tape to those who provide private sector rental housing. Examples of this could be eliminating development charges on construction of new rental units.