National Poverty Reduction Strategy
This week the federal government released the first-ever national poverty reduction strategy, titled Opportunity for All. The goal—to reduce poverty through investments in national initiatives including the Canada Child Tax Benefit, National Housing Strategy, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and other programs
Nearly 64,000 people rely on a food bank each month in Manitoba and more than 41% of food bank users are children.
To help reduce food bank usage, Winnipeg Harvest actively supports putting more money in the hands of those in need. We applaud the government for programs such as the child tax benefit that help low-income families. We’ve heard directly from seniors on the positive impact in their lives of Old Age Security Pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Some key positive takeaways from the strategy include:
- Clear targets and timelines: 20% reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50% reduction in poverty by 2030.
- The introduction of the first ever Official Poverty Line, similar to the Market Basket Measurement. The poverty line will include the combined cost of basic needs for people to have a modest standard of living. This fall, CEO Keren Taylor-Hughes will meet with government officials and stakeholders to discuss what should be included as a basic need.
- The government plans to cement the strategy into legislation.
A few concerns include:
- There is no significate new funding.
- Lack of clarity on how the initiatives named in the strategy will work together towards poverty reduction.
- If the government reaches the target of 50% reduction in poverty by 2030 there will still be almost 3 million Canadians living in poverty—what’s to be done to ensure all Canadians live above the poverty line?
All Canadians should have the opportunity to prosper. If the targets of the strategy are achieved, fewer children, single parents or seniors will go to bed hungry. In the meantime, Winnipeg Harvest will continue to advocate for more money in the hands of individuals and families.
For more information on the Poverty Reduction Strategy, click here.