Marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17th
Since 1993, October 17th has been designated by the United Nations as a day of reflection on poverty worldwide in order to promote awareness and seek solutions for its eradication. It is known as The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and highlights the need for individuals, communities, business, and government to look beyond myths to the realities of poverty and to partner together for lasting solutions.
To mark this important day, Dignity for All has organized events on Parliament Hill and is asking Members of Parliament and Senators to show support for ending poverty in Canada. They will be invited to:
- Wear a bilingual “End Poverty” button throughout the day
- Attend an evening panel discussion titled, “Ending Poverty Together: Real stories, Real Solutions” with the federal All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus and persons with a lived experience of poverty. (The event will take place in Ottawa – details will be announced shortly. Note that we are looking to live-stream the event as well)
- Join the federal All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus
Similar to the panel discussion on poverty that DFA held on February 14th of this year, the October 17th panel discussion will feature individuals with a lived experience of poverty sharing their stories and asking questions about relevant social policy to members of the Anti-Poverty Caucus.
Real Stories of Poverty
Instead of believing stereotypes about poverty, learn more about the people who live the experience day-to-day. Here are a few stories:
Gloria’s Story :
Gloria is a single woman in her 60s, struggles with health issues, and is on welfare. She has worked odd jobs cleaning homes and providing childcare to children in her community over the years to help make-ends-meet. However, due to her health issues, she is unable to do so anymore.
Gloria lives in a subsidized housing unit which is located in a low-income and crime ridden neighborhood. Her house has been broken into numerous times. She does not feel safe in her home.
Gloria is unable meet her basic needs and relies on others to help her get through each day. Gloria is not close with her family and does not cope well with her struggling reality.
An automobile accident left Steve, a former electrician, with a permanent disability that makes it impossible for him to work in his trade. Steve has struggled to find a job that can accommodate his special needs. After exhausting most of his life savings, he has recently turned to social assistance.
Steve’s monthly disability payment amounts to about $1,040. He’s on a several-year-long waiting list for subsidized housing, but in the meantime pays $750/month for a small, accessible one-bedroom apartment. With the remaining $300 each month, he must pay for a transit pass, food, and other basic necessities.
Steve has very few support networks and suffers from poor health, loneliness, and depression.
Rick used to live in Winnipeg with his wife, his eight year old son, and five year old daughter. Ricks wife and two children were killed by a drunk driver. Rick couldn’t stay in a city full of memories of his family so he moved to BC where he worked for 20 years in the construction industry and as a bouncer at a night club. Rick was diagnosed with liver cancer and became unable to work. As a result, Rick ended up in a shelter. He is now homeless and living on welfare due to his illness.
Poverty in 2012
Over 3 million people living in Canada are struggling in poverty. While several provinces and territories are facing the issues head-on with a poverty strategy, Canada not only lacks a plan, but it also lacks official measurement tools to adequately capture the problems.
According to the latest data in Citizens for Public Justice’s forthcoming Poverty Trends Scorecard – Canada 2012, significant progress has been made against poverty for some groups thanks in part to focused policy solutions and regional poverty strategies. Yet the fact that other groups – including Aboriginal peoples, recent immigrants and racialized communities, lone-parent families, unattached individuals aged 45 to 64, and persons with disabilities – continue to be highly vulnerable to poverty means that we still have more work to do.