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Campaign 2000 urges Liberal government to be more aggressive in tackling poverty

21 Nov 17
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A coalition of social policy advocates is urging the Liberal government to be more aggressive in tackling poverty, releasing a comprehensive report Tuesday with particular actions they expect to see from the 2018 budget along with the guaranteed national poverty reduction plan that will follow.

Campaign 2000 was formed in the early 1990s to advocate authorities to deliver on an all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty by the turn of this millennium. Nearly three years later, the coalition says that there are still 1.2 million families and children in poverty.

However, the campaign’s national manager, Anita Khanna, is optimistic that there’s a rare window of opportunity for government action on a few of the suggestions advocates have long called for.

“We welcome the government’s focus on poverty issues and we have known for a poverty reduction strategy for Canada for decades, actually, and this is the first time a government had made a commitment and is growing one,” she said. “We want to be certain there’s a follow-through with a considerable policy change that could really make a huge difference.”

The first test of the optimism will come Wednesday, when Jean-Yves Duclos, the national Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, will launch the government’s National Housing Strategy. The minister has stated the housing plan, which will include new measures related to social and affordable housing, is regarded as a vital element of the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, for which he’s also responsible for and will discharge following the 2018 budget.

The latest global rankings of 41 developed countries shows Canada lags behind its peers in a number of areas related to poverty reduction. The UNICEF report put Canada near the bottom concerning international aims to end poverty in all its forms and end hunger.

Statistics Canada’s most current census data revealed that 1.2 million Canadian children lived in a non existent family in 2015, representing 17 percent of all children. Statistics Canada uses the after-tax low-income measure, which in 2015 was $22,133 for one-person families and $44,266 for a four-member household.

The five cities with the greatest rates of children living in low-income households were Windsor, Ont., Saint John, London, Winnipeg and St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont.

The Liberal government won praise from anti-poverty advocates in October when the autumn fiscal update declared that the Canada Child Benefit will be indexed to inflation sooner than previously planned.

The authorities owes federal child benefit programs in 2016 to make the new payment, which is geared to income and given to families based on the amount of kids they have and how old they are.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said in October that the coming of the benefit had a “pretty significant” impact on Canadian economic growth, in part by allowing some stay-at-home parents to return to the workforce because they could afford day care.

The Liberal government’s fall upgrade said economic growth is anticipated to come in at 3.1 percent for 201 up from the anticipated 2 percent increase that was projected in the March budget.

Campaign 2000 points to Mr. Poloz’s remarks when asked how Ottawa might cover the extensive list of policy recommendations. The report indicates some Canadians may have to pay higher taxes as well as the coalition supports the government’s small business tax reforms aimed at high-income Canadians.

Campaign 2000 is a coalition of 120 national, provincial and community organizations, including private and public sector unions, religious organizations and groups representing social workers and food banks.

An advance copy of this report was provided to the Globe and Mail.

Concerning specific recommendations for a national poverty reduction strategy, Tuesday’s report touches on a broad selection of areas. It calls for a further enhancement of the Canada Child Benefit; an early childhood education and care plan; enhanced social transfers to the states; an rise in the Working Income Tax Benefit; a particular focus on eradicating poverty in Indigenous communities; improved Employment Insurance benefits; executing a national minimum wage of $15 an hour and raising the EI sickness benefit to 26 weeks in the present 15 to deal with the fact that fewer employees have workplace disability programs.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette is scheduled to release a report Tuesday assessing the effects of various federal programs for low-income people and households.

Ms. Khanna said the Liberal moves on the child benefit have been positive, however, the report shows there’s much more that Ottawa could be doing to deal with poverty problems.

“There has been a few really good down payments concerning the CCB, which is a really monumental policy, in addition to the indexation,” she said. “But that is not a stopping point. I expect we accelerate.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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