We believe poverty is fundamentally a violation of people's rights and dignity. It is pervasive and systemic, but it is not inevitable.
October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Each year on this day, our annual Chew on This! campaign mobilizes people from across Canada to call for an end to poverty. As a coalition of community organizations, faith communities, and citizens, the Dignity for All campaign is calling on the Government of Canada to do what is legally and morally required to uphold and protect the rights of people experiencing poverty and other intersecting forms of systemic oppression in Canada.
Honour the dignity of each person and community experiencing poverty and other intersecting forms of systemic oppression by putting their rights and well-being first in federal budgets, legislation, and programs.
This includes, but is not limited to, people who are Inuit, First Nations, or Métis; Black or People of Colour; women, transgender, or gender nonconforming; people with disabilities; newcomers to Canada; people with precarious immigration status; people who are single; children and youth; people who are LGBTQQIA+; and people living in Northern and remote areas. These targets should meet or exceed the requirements of existing human rights obligations, including the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Sustainable Development Goals. Targets, methods for data collection and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, as well as other accountability mechanisms should be co-developed with people and communities experiencing poverty and other intersecting forms of systemic oppression in Canada to ensure meaningful, equitable impact.
Engage in ongoing collaboration and consultation with people and communities experiencing poverty and other intersecting forms of systemic oppression (including children and youth in these communities) to evaluate and monitor the impact of existing laws, programs, and policies on their physical, mental, social, and economic well-being. Mandate the collection of data disaggregated by sociodemographic identities to better measure and understand the impact of government policies on poverty. Reallocate funding from systems that contribute to poverty and inequality and invest in those that close the gap between the rich and the poor. This should include funding for both universally accessible public systems (e.g. universally accessible, publicly funded health care, including pharmacare, dental care, vision care, mental health, and physiotherapy; childcare; education; subsidized housing; guaranteed basic income) and local, community-led strategies, paired with strong federal regulations and tax justice to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and power.
This Fall, Chew on This! supporters sent letters to their MPs calling for justice for people experiencing poverty and other intersecting forms of oppression in Canada. On November 3, we shared this letter with Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, select Cabinet Ministers, and all Party Leaders, requesting follow-up meetings.
You can read our letter (as a PDF) in English, French, and Inuktitut.
Webinar Series & e-rALLY
Poverty is a complex, multifaceted issue that requires a comprehensive and intersectional approach.
In the week leading up to October 17, we engaged members of civil society in a series of webinars, offered in collaboration with Leading in Colour and other partners, to dig deeper into issues, experiences, and recommendations related to poverty in Canada. These webinars also pointed people to our calls to action (letters to MPs, letters to local media, e-rally registration) and engaged people from a variety of sectors in support of our shared goals.
We also hosted a mass e-rally on Saturday, October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, featuring a guest panel and inviting questions from government representatives.
Recordings of these webinars and the e-rally are being added daily! Click on the button below for details and links to the recordings. At this time, our webinars are available in English only. The e-rally was offered in English and French with ASL interpretation.
The Dignity for All team wishes to recognize and thank the following people and organizations for their invaluable contributions and collaboration on this year's Chew on This! campaign:
Paul Bailey, Black Health Alliance; Leslie Campbell, FoodShare Toronto; Rachel Cheng, Food Secure Canada; Mona Duale, Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction; Serisha Iyar, Leading in Colour; Shalini Konanur, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, Colour of Poverty Colour of Change; Marie-Claude Manga, KAIROS Canada; Teika Newton, Climate Action Network - Réseau Action Climat; Carmen Ramirez, Forum for Intercultural Leadership & Learning; Emilly Renaud, Canada Without Poverty; Jonathan Schmidt, Canadian Council of Churches, Forum for Intercultural Leadership & Learning; Leila Sarangi, Campaign 2000; Jane Thirikwa, KAIROS Canada; Chrystal Waban Desilets, Blackbird Medicines.
Dignity for All is co-led by Citizens for Public Justice, Canada Without Poverty, and Campaign 2000.