Government of Canada introduces legislation to take concrete action to reduce poverty in Canada
Ottawa: In a country as prosperous as Canada, all Canadians should have a real and fair chance to succeed. The Government of Canada is focused on growth that benefits all Canadians and on investments that help grow the middle class and reduce poverty. When people are able to meet their most basic needs and can achieve a modest standard of living in their communities, they also contribute to a strong, growing economy.
Today, the Honourable Jean-yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, tabled legislation as part of Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy which was launched in August.
The Bill proposes to entrench into legislation ambitious and concrete poverty reduction targets; a 20 % reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50 % reduction in poverty by 2030, relative to 2015 levels. These targets will lead to the lowest poverty rate in Canada’s history.
Also for the first time in Canada’s history, the Bill proposes to entrench into legislation an official measure of poverty: Canada’s Official Poverty Line. Formerly known as the Market Basket Measure, Canada’s Official Poverty Line would be based on the cost of a basket of goods and services that individuals and families require to meet their basic needs and achieve a modest standard of living in communities across the country. Finally, the Bill proposes to entrench into legislation an arms-length National Advisory Council on Poverty which would provide advice to the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development and include a dedicated advisor on children’s issue, continue a national dialogue with Canadians, and produce a public report each year on progress made towards the poverty reduction targets.
The Government of Canada has worked hard to lift Canadians out of poverty and strengthen the economy through record investments totalling $22 billion since 2015 to help grow the middle class and the people working hard to join it. With the help of programs such as the Canada Child Benefit, the top up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Workers Benefit, Government investments are expected to help lift 650,000 Canadians out of poverty by 2019.
Jean-yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development said: “Opportunity for All - Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy aims to cut poverty in Canada in half. By tabling legislation with real and measurable poverty reduction targets, Canada’s Official Poverty Line, and a National Advisory Council on Poverty we are taking concrete action to reduce poverty in Canada. Our government is committed to making sure that, wherever you live or wherever you come from, you have a real and fair chance at success.”
• On August 21, 2018, the Government of Canada released Opportunity for All -Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy.
• Opportunity for All offers a bold vision for Canada as a world leader in the eradication of poverty, with progress validated in terms of its alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ending poverty.
• In 2015, there were 4.2 million Canadians living in poverty, or 12.1 percent. By 2016, this number dropped to 3.7 million Canadians, or 10.6 percent - a decrease of half a million people.
• The What we heard about poverty so far report, a summary of the feedback gathered during the engagement process that took place with Canadians, including people with lived experience of poverty, communityand national-level organizations, Indigenous partners as well as provinces and territories, was released on February 20, 2018.