CWP named winner of Progress Prize

03-29-19

This morning, the Broadbent Institute honoured Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and Leilani Farha, CWP’s Executive Director, with the 2018 Jack Layton Progress Prize.

This high-profile prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to a campaign that executes progressive/social democratic values and movement. It was presented to CWP during the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit held in Ottawa, March 27-29.

The Broadbent Institute recognized Leilani for her human rights work on poverty related issues and commended CWP for leadership in bringing forward a Charter challenge to Canada’s charities laws under the Federal Income Tax Act.  In that case Justice Ed Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court, declared the restrictions in the Income Tax Act on non-partisan political activities of charities to be in violation of the right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was seen as a huge victory for people living in poverty and for the charitable sector as a whole.

“CWP has always been led by a Board of Directors with lived experience of poverty,” said Board President Laura Cattari. “For decades, CWP has been the conduit for our participation in public dialogue and democracy—and this decision affirmed that. Free expression for people living in poverty isn’t optional, it’s now a right.”

The long-term impact of this case for Canadian democracy and particularly for people living in poverty is transformative. The case has had an enormous impact on charities pursuing the relief of poverty, as well as on the rights of low-income persons to participate in democratic processes and decision-making.

“CWP’s Charter challenge is a huge victory and transformative – not just for people living in poverty but also for participatory democracy in Canada,” said Leilani Farha. “I am grateful for the Broadbent Institute’s recognition of our important work. I also wish to acknowledge that our legal win was only possible because of the work and vision of Bruce Porter, Executive Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, as well as the legal team at McCarthy Tétrault for their probono representation. It is because of their commitment that we have been able to change the charitable sector in Canada.”

The Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit is the largest annual progressive politics conference in Canada.  The three-day summit brings together, in Ottawa, elected officials, thought leaders, movement builders and frontline activists to help shape the understanding of the current political landscape, and highlight priorities at the federal level. The Jack Layton Progress Award celebrates Canadians whose contributions help build a better Canada.