Canada’s first world status does not make it immune to poverty
TDS News – In 2018, Canadians saw a historic commitment toward reducing poverty through Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy. Yesterday, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, tabled in Parliament the first report on Canada’s progress, entitled Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy included concrete poverty reduction targets and established Canada’s Official Poverty Line to measure poverty and track progress toward the targets. It also created the National Advisory Council on Poverty to provide independent advice to the Government on poverty reduction; to submit an annual report on the progress achieved toward the Government’s poverty reduction goals; and to continue a dialogue with Canadians on poverty.
“The National Advisory Council on Poverty is proud to present its first report. From 2015 to 2018 we, as a country, had made significant inroads in reducing poverty, reducing Canada’s poverty rate by 24.1%. – Scott MacAfee, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council on Poverty
The report tabled yesterday highlights that if progress made toward poverty reduction is maintained, the Government of Canada will meet its overall poverty reduction targets. The report also notes that the impacts of COVID‑19 on poverty reduction efforts remain to be seen, and there is more to do to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance to succeed.
It also provides key recommendations on how to improve poverty reduction efforts to ensure that the 2030 target is met, which include: continuing existing measures to reduce poverty; specific measures to address poverty among Indigenous people; more inclusive data gathering to support better decision making; incorporating an equity lens in policy development to meet the needs of marginalized groups; and working with the provinces and territories to ensure a robust social safety net that provides benefits at the level of Canada’s Official Poverty Line.
The federal government has recently made a number of commitments that will help reach its poverty reduction targets. For example, continued investment into affordable housing; carrying out a campaign to create jobs; supporting initiatives to improve food security; and planning to bring forward a new benefit and employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities.