THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NATIONAL POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY IN CANADA

Brigitte Sansoucy, Member of Parliament for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and NDP Critic for Families, Children and Social Development, tabled Bill C-245 on February 26, 2016.

The Bill provides for the development of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy and seeks both to foster social inclusion and to work towards eliminating poverty. The Bill is fully compatible with human rights obligations. It will:

  1. Develop and implement a National Poverty Reduction Strategy;
  2. Establish the Office of the Poverty Reduction Commissioner;
  3. Establish the National Council on Poverty Elimination and Social Inclusion.

Objectives

  • Strengthen Canada’s social and economic safety net;
  • Promote the involvement of the general public, as well as public and private sector stakeholders, in poverty reduction;
  • To make sure everybody has access to an affordable, secure and adequate housing
  • Reflect the needs of all communities.   

Innovataive measures

The government must implement innovative measures to address the root causes and consequences of poverty and social exclusion. It must:

  • Involve federal ministers, cities, municipalities, provinces and public or private sector stakeholders, and civil society in implementing the strategy;
  • Continually monitor any policies and programmes that could affect Canadian’s income and well-being.

Poverty Indicators

The Strategy will reflect all relevant well-being, low-income and poverty measures, including the Market Basket Measure and Statistic Canada’s Low Income Measure. It will also take into consideration the following factors:

  1. The different life experiences of men and women, as understood through gender-based analysis;
  2. The specific needs of urban and rural communities;
  3. The factors that put some individuals at a higher-than-average risk of poverty, including:
  • Child-rearing and single parenthood;
  • Discrimination and racism;
  • Low-wage, precarious employment;
  • Immigration or refugee status;
  • Aboriginal status;
  •  Prolonged illness and disability;
  • Lack of education or lack of recognition of skills and credentials;
  • Occupational injury;
  • Inadequate support and services and/or limited access to support and services.

Research and Consultation

 Research and consultation are key to successfully developing and implementing the Strategy. Research will be conducted both to compile, integrate and analyze objective information on poverty and social inclusion and to share information on best practices in poverty reduction. The public consultation will ensure that the voices of those who are living, or have lived, in poverty are heard. Input will also be sought from poverty support groups and research bodies.

The role of the Poverty Reduction Commissioner

The Commissioner is responsible for preparing a report outlining progress made in reducing poverty in Canada. The report is to be submitted to the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General, with whom the Commissioner will work to ensure successful implementation of the strategy.

 

The role of the National Council on Poverty Elimination

The Council will consist of 16 members and will work with the relevant Minister on questions related to poverty and social inclusion. The Council may carry out activities to raise awareness and understanding of the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the related legislation.

Amending the Canadian Human Rights Act

The Bill amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to include « social condition » as a prohibited ground of discrimination in order both to promote equal opportunities for those living in poverty and to facilitate the implementation of measures to address their needs.

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