Government ignores HUMA Committee call for poverty plan

03-11-11

Last November a stellar report on poverty in Canada was released by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities Committee (HUMA). Titled, “Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada“, the 300-page report highlighted 57 recommendations that would have helped to tackle obstacles to eliminating poverty such as adequate housing, Aboriginal education, childcare and early learning, and literacy.  These critical needs have all been ignored by a government who has consistently pushed poverty under the rug.

Last Friday, an official response was released from the federal government which avoided any comments on recommendations made in the HUMA report, and made no commitment to look into a poverty reduction plan.  The response lamely reiterated federal investments in key areas such as housing, social assistance, and childcare, but provided no context to their numbers and maintained a belief in jobs as the answer to poverty.  Read the government response here  in either French or English.

With over 4 million Canadians struggling in poverty according to “Bearing the Brunt”, a report released last year by Citizens for Public Justice, a coordinated effort is imperative to creating the necessary solutions to deal with this growing problem. “Federal Poverty Reduction Plan” deftly outlined targeted approaches to confront what low income Canadians defined as the most critical issues they were facing.  These recommendations were the result of years of consultation with non-profit groups, experts, and people living in poverty.

Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, which Canada Without Poverty co-leads along with Citizens for Public Justice and Make Poverty History, issued a press release on Wednesday to draw attention to this ‘non-response’ from the government.  Poverty needs to be a priority to the Canadian government, and with a potential election on the horizon concerned citizens and civil society will continue to work to ensure it is just that.