Government Urged to Respond Favourably to Committee Recommendations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Ottawa, ON: Dignity for All: the Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada – a coalition of over 430 organizations from across the country – applauds the report from the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities Committee which calls for the federal government to immediately commit to a federal action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. The report, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada, is the result of an extensive three-year study on the federal role in addressing poverty.
Key components of a poverty reduction plan the committee recommends the federal government take action on include:
- Raising the Canada Child Tax Benefit and supplement to $5000 within 5 years;
- A long-term national housing and homelessness strategy;
- Measures to help the most vulnerable – a refundable Disability Tax Credit, easing EI qualifications; increasing adult literacy; increasing and indexing GIS for seniors, implementing an early learning and child care strategy; and
- Major help for Aboriginal People for housing, education and social services; including elimination of the two per cent cap on federal funding.
“Depending on the measure used between three to five million Canadians live in poverty. The situation is appalling,” says Geraldine King, of the Gull Bay First Nation and President of Canada Without Poverty. “While it is particularly acute among Aboriginal Canadians and people with disabilities, they are not alone. Millions of people in Canada are trapped in low-paying jobs without benefits. Reducing, and eventually eliminating poverty, will require much more than job creation.”
Citizens for Public Justice policy analyst and Dignity for All Coordinator, Karri Munn-Venn suggests that, "the HUMA report is noteworthy for its clarity on the need for a plan, and its focus on significant actions that can – and should – be taken immediately. We are encouraged,” she says, “not only by the content of the report, but by the collaborative approach of parliamentarians that defined much of the work that went into its completion. Now, the consensus among MPs involved in this study must be leveraged into immediate action.”
The government has 120 days to table a formal response to this report.
“It is imperative that the government response be substantive. A ‘non-response,’ such as was issued to the excellent 2009 Senate report In from the Margins, is simply unacceptable,” stresses Dennis Howlett, Coordinator of Make Poverty History. Howlett goes on to say, “A potential spring election makes it equally important that all of the parties provide a clear statement on how they intend to act on recommendations – particularly if they form the next government.”
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Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada is a national coalition of over 430 organizations and 7000 individuals co-convened by Canada Without Poverty, Citizens for Public Justice, and Make Poverty History. Together, we are calling for vigorous and sustained action by the federal government to combat the structural causes of poverty in Canada.
Canada Without Poverty is a federally incorporated, non-partisan, not-for-profit and charitable organization with a mission to eliminate poverty in Canada by promoting income and social security for all Canadians, and by promoting poverty eradication as a human rights obligation. Canada Without Poverty was founded in 1971 as the National Anti-Poverty Organization.
Citizens for Public Justice is a national organization of members inspired by faith to act for justice in Canada by shaping key public policy debates through research and analysis, publishing and public dialogue. Since 1963, CPJ has encouraged citizens, leaders in society and governments to support policies and practices which reflect God’s call for love, justice and stewardship.
The Canadian Make Poverty History campaign was launched in February 2005 with the support of a wide cross-section of public interest and faith groups, trade unions, students, academics and literary, artistic and sports leaders. Make Poverty History is part of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) a global campaign pressing for action on global poverty issues.
For more information, contact:
Rob Rainer, Canada Without Poverty, 613-314-7755
Karri Munn-Venn, Citizens for Public Justice, 613-232-0275, x.222
Dennis Howlett, Make Poverty History, 613-863-3670