As the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS) consultations came to a close last Friday, the work and energy for a strong poverty strategy continues to build.
Since the strategy was announced in Minister Duclos’ mandate letter in November 2015, the Dignity for All campaign was eager to ensure that the federal government provided meaningful ways for people to participate, particularly people with lived experience of poverty.
So, our expectations for the consultations were high.
The federal government, through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), offered online and in-person options for engagement, and recruited a few organizations to support community-based events. But for those of us deeply engaged in the anti-poverty community, it seemed that the outreach for the CPRS consultation was less rigorous than previous consultations, such as those for the National Housing Strategy.
And so, Dignity for All worked hard to find ways to ensure your voices were heard.
Along with our model National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada, developed from several years of consultations with individuals with lived experiences of poverty and their representative organizations, Dignity for All provided resources for engagement in the CPRS process. These resources included seven brief policy documents, each detailing a specific issue and offering practical solutions.
We also developed an online form that was easy to access and allowed people to share their connections to poverty and their recommendations for what the strategy should include. Through our form, over 860 submissions were made directly to ESDC!
From these e-form submissions there were several points that we heard loud and clear. In particular, we learned that people in Canada want an anti-poverty strategy that:
- is human rights-based;
- ensures Indigenous communities have safe housing, infrastructure development, and food security, health and child welfare supports, through supporting Indigenous leadership and social enterprise;
- provides income security for all, including working-age adults and people with disabilities, through targeted benefits and a living wage;
- includes a National Housing Strategy with funding for immediate investments in safe, affordable housing and social housing;
- includes a National Food Policy that addresses food insecurity, particularly for children and Northern Indigenous communities;
- provides universal pharmacare and increased investments in addictions and mental health programs;
- provides affordable, universal, high quality early childhood education and care; and
- ends child poverty in Canada.
Now, we want the federal government to hear your voices and act!
Chew on This!
On October 17th Dignity for All will hold our annual Chew on This! campaign in communities across Canada. For our fifth anniversary, we are eager to ensure that the federal government clearly hears the voices of people calling for a comprehensive, rights-based strategy.
Help us make this year’s Chew on This! something to remember – a call to action for the federal government to create a rights-based CPRS and include designated funding for it in Budget 2018. Millions of people living in poverty have waited long enough – it’s time to act!
Sign-up today to organize a Chew on This! event in your community.
Let’s make this happen!