Federal budget delivers on some important first steps
For immediate release
OTTAWA (22 March 2016) – Today’s federal budget has brought forward some key measures to address poverty, including investments in income support and access to justice programs. However, Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is concerned that a number of important poverty issues have been left by the way-side, including measures to address food insecurity, and funding for the proposed national anti-poverty plan.
During pre-budget consultations, CWP called on the government to uphold its international human rights obligations by investing the maximum available resources in social programs to address poverty. Prior to the budget release, Canada had been on a downward trend with spending on social programs as a percentage of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product at its lowest point since 1949.
Leilani Farha, CWP’s Executive Director, pointed to recent recommendations from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. “The committee stated unequivocally: all financial and policy commitments must be made in light of our legal human rights obligations. We cannot solve poverty through a piecemeal approach of investments in affordable housing and child care tax breaks. It will require a holistic approach that addresses all aspects of an adequate standard of living.”
CWP’s President Harriett McLachlan added, “We applaud the new Canada Child Benefit program, but are concerned with lack of clarity around how the program will interact with those receiving social assistance. We are hopeful that the federal government will work with regional counterparts to ensure those most in need can access supports. We cannot take one step forward but two steps back.”
Poverty costs the Canadian economy between 72-84 billion dollars annually. While this budget aims to reduce those numbers, further investments and commitments to human rights are required to lift the almost 5 million people out of poverty.
For more information:
Communication and Development Coordinator