Ending Poverty Together: Poverty Elimination Priorities Established
Each year, anti-poverty advocates around the world mark October 17th as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Here in Canada, Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada organized a range of events throughout the day to highlight the need for a federal poverty elimination strategy in Canada.
The day began with a joint press conference that included leadership from both the Dignity for All campaign and the newly formed All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus. Parliamentarians from the three major parties united to speak out against poverty and call for multi-partisan federal action. Leilani Farha, (Canada Without Poverty) and Joe Gunn (Citizens for Public Justice) were featured on CPAC’s Primetime Politics (starting at 25:20).
Citizens for Public Justice released its Poverty Trends Scorecard – Canada 2012. The report draws on recently released census data to show how various groups are faring since the 2008-2009 recession, as well as the longer-term trends. It shows that while poverty rates have declined over the past 15 years for seniors and children, they remain disproportionately high for Aboriginal peoples, recent immigrants, people with disabilities and unattached working-age individuals.
Throughout the day, MPs and Senators from all parties were encouraged to wear our ‘End Poverty’ button to show their support for the elimination of poverty. Dignity for All was thrilled to see so many parliamentarians taking a stand on this critical issue.
In the evening, we hosted a forum entitled Ending Poverty Together: Real Stories, Real Solutions. We heard from people with a lived experience of poverty talk about how provincial and federal supports helped lift them out of poverty. They also described some of their frustrations with Canada’s complex social services system and the indignity of living in poverty. Next, members of the newly formed All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus (APC) discussed policy recommendation for how the federal government could reduce poverty in our country. The APC members present also outlined four key priorities for the next year:
- improvements to the Working Income Tax Benefit
- food security
Dignity for All looks forward to working with the APC to pursue these important issues. Check back here as we will continue to keep you posted on further developments.
Thank you to everyone who participated in these events throughout the day. We would like to especially thank our panelists for the evening: Leilani Farha, (Canada Without Poverty), Katherine Scott (Citizens for Public Justice), Geraldine King (former President and Board Member of Canada Without Poverty), Linda Lalonde (Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network), MP Chris Charlton (NDP), Senator Art Eggleton (Liberal), Senator Don Meredith (Conservative), and our moderator, Fred Phelps (Canadian Association of Social Workers).