TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty is promising the budget will include ways to help the province's poor even though Ontario faces hard financial times.

McGuinty says the government has been making "several efforts" on the poverty front and that next month's budget will help the families most affected by the recession.

He declined to specifically address calls from anti-poverty groups who want the province to invest $2.4 billion this year and $2.6 billion next year on social programs.

He says Finance Minister Dwight Duncan will unveil the measures next month.

McGuinty had warned in the fall he wouldn't be able to go as far and as fast as first planned because of the economic downturn.

He now says Ontario's poor did get some good news in the federal budget -- even though it didn't include the $1.8 billion needed to meet targets laid out by poverty groups.