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Where should we focus our efforts? Which dimensions of poverty should be a priority?

over 2 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Poverty is complex. It impacts individuals in different ways and to different degrees. For some, poverty is temporary and associated with a short-term life event such as a job loss. For others, it can last a long time due to the multiple barriers they face. In some cases, it can be so pervasive that it is generational—passed from parents to children.

The multidimensional nature of poverty means governments need to respond to both its causes and its consequences by taking action to address the various challenges that Canadians experience when living in poverty—especially in regard to income, housing, employment and health, among others.

More information on the multiple dimensions of poverty is available in chapter 2 of the discussion guide.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded

  • truenorthstrongandfree over 2 years ago
    I have been taking a course called "The Rich and the Rest: The Sociology of Wealth, Power, and Inequality." It has been an eye opener, to say the least. Societies do not benefit from having a large income and equality gap. If 2% of the population holds considerable wealth and political power, then the rest of the people, particularly the working poor, gain mistrust for their governments, communities and fellow citizens. Things like violence, poor health, and teenage pregnancy happens more often in societies that have broad spans of inequality. Look at the Scandinavian countries and look at the mental shift that has happened there. The more we treat people like people and take care of each other, the more everyone benefits. One of the most striking examples of this is in Norway's corrections system. Even criminals deserve to be treated like people, and many of those people are rehabilitated back into society and become empowered citizens. If we treat our prisoners like they are bad people, they do not feel as though they belong and will likely never conform to the society. We need to get out of our close minded ideas that investing more in social services is a waste of money... and the myth that only the poor people who "don't work hard" or "didn't make the right career/education/life choices" utilize social services. Also, the selfish idea that "I shouldn't have to pay taxes for "insert service here" because I don't need it and won't ever use it. That's not fair to me." The only thing that can happen from taking better care of each other are positives. Less of an 'us vs. them' mentality, more trust and community, less violence, less class separation and discrimination based upon incomes. I am proud of our country, but it baffles me how we have free health care that is not for everyone. If someone who is working poor has to choose between groceries for the month or a single dentist appointment, what do you think that person will choose? Will we tolerate a child having problems with their vision, or rotted teeth because they were unfortunate enough to be born to parents who could not afford these services? What does this do to a people psychologically, when they live in this great country with so many opportunities and great care systems, but the basics are still just out of reach to them. It shows that you are worth more in society if you have more money. Or rather, it shows that if you don't make a certain amount of money, you aren't worth basic health care services.Now is the time to band together and show each other we care. It's time for great ideas and taking risks. Let's invest in more services, and let's invest in more infrastructure for new jobs and living wages. Why not try a hydroponic garden center and expand our agriculture capacities in winter months? Why don't we try building Alzheimer's care facilities like the ones in Denmark, where people with Alzheimer's and their families get the support they need, and it is a relaxed, nice atmosphere for the patients to have some freedom and dignity in their final years. Let's be world leaders in green energies. Let's change the way we shop by each having glass or hard plastic containers for products and refilling them at the store, instead of purchasing new packaging for everything. Let's start doing things in bulk. The more we save our environment and think of each other, the better we will be. People like to believe the working poor and those who live in states of poverty got there because of their own faults or bad decisions. The more we allow this 'us vs. them' ignorant mentality, the worse the problem will get and the harder it will be to correct. Lets make it a priority to show the citizens of Canada that everyone is worth basic services and dignity.
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    • truenorthstrongandfree over 2 years ago
      Also, by investing in more services, we create more jobs and more support for those receiving the services. It becomes a win-win situation.
  • Pov-erty over 2 years ago
    This is what Poverty looks like!For decades a major political campaign promise, to eradicate childhood poverty have yet to be realized – sad.Instead, the problem is being systemically and systematically perpetuated. How? Canada has become a “Credit Driven” Society. How is a “Credit Driven” Society systemically and systematically perpetuating poverty?Here’s how: A single parent (woman) with two children ages six and eight with a monthly household income of roughly $1500 and the another parent (male) exploiting every loophole available to avoid paying child support.Take away from the monthly income of $1500 monthly school fees of $300 – just school feed, nothing else.How is it possible for this single parent to maintain a respectable credit history give their situation?This single parent with two school age children needs a safe, secure and clean dwelling to raise her children and is looking around for such a dwelling.This single parent is now mandated to yield their personal information such as their, Date of Birth, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and Driver’s Permit, to every Tom, Dick, Jane and Harry in order for them to perform credit worthiness check to qualify for a dwelling.Given her financial situation, her credit is obviously compromised. Compromised, not because payments are not being made, but as a result of the payments being made as per pay-check schedule. The end result: denial of decent housing to raise her children. Yet, her personal information is all over the place, in the hands of God knows who and what they are using her personal information to do. A U-Haul rental service in a grocery felt the need to make a photocopy of her Driver’s Permit and Credit Card – just in case. Now her personal information is on a piece of paper in a grocery store and who knows who have access to this information and what they are using it for? Only people living in poverty are subjected to this level of derogatory, condescending and humiliating treatment.Stop the systemic and systematic cycle and perpetuation of poverty now by removing barriers that are designed to impede a decent standard of living for thousands of Canadians.
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    • aswm over 2 years ago
      Its not always the woman with the children and the man exploiting the loophole to get out of paying childsupport. Speaking from personal experience and with the situations of my clients.
  • Mike_S almost 3 years ago
    Prioritize the Working Poor - Living Below the Poverty Line Group of People. The working poor, while living below the poverty level group, slip through the cracks of the system, there is very little support for them. They can't access the back to work programs, grants, training, education, employer incentives, that are available to people that are on EI, Social Assistance, disabilities or minority groups. The working poor-living below the poverty level groups, do not have access to basic non-cosmetic dentist, eye, and hearing care that people on Social Assistance, disabilities or minority groups do. I believe the working poor-living below the poverty level group of people, needs to be prioritized, and provide them with the same working and health assistance programs as people that are on EI, Social Assistance, disabilities or minority groups have. Basic non-cosmetic dentist, eye, and hearing care coverage should be added to the health care system that covers all people living below the poverty level. The cost of living for the working poor-living below the poverty line group of people can be greater then a person on EI, Social Assistance, disabilities or minority groups, because they don't have access to working and health assistance programs as people that are on EI, Social Assistance, disabilities or minority groups have. I think the working poor-living below the poverty line group of people is an under represented group, that is increasing in population.
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    • oasisburlington over 2 years ago
      Yes, and what many don't realize is that only about 30% of people living in poverty are on Social Assistance, which is the smaller group of people living in poverty.
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      • Mike_S over 2 years ago
        I've been on Social Assistance many times, as an employable person, and it's extremely tough. If you find some kind of work casual or temporary the wages are deducted dollar for dollar, at least that was the way it was and I believe it still is. A person on Social Assistance should be able to make a wage equal to a living wage without having deductions from their Social Assistance checks. Even now with talk of raising Social Assistance another $100 that in most cases only covers the rent, maybe utilities . It certainly does not cover things like food, transportation, and other cost of living, which can be another $500 dollars for basic living costs. A person on Social Assistance should be able to make at least up to $ 500 dollars without being deducted from their Social Assistance Checks, that would help cover the cost of living and bring their monthly income to $1200, $700 from Social Assistance Check + $500 wage from working before being deducted from their Social Assistance Check . Also for an employable person on Social Assistance the Education, Training and Trades programs and allowances should be expanded to cover a broader curriculum. Also basic Eye, Hearing, and Dental coverage should be increased or just added to the health care system for people living below the poverty level.
  • DMG almost 3 years ago
    There are two obvious outstanding needs in Canada, in every Province, as indicated in some of the comments here. First, Raising financial assistance rates for both temporary support and for permanent disability support.Secondly, tackling the issue of minimum wage.I think it's important that we work towards a standard. A set standard that's developed by the Government of Canada for both assistance rates and for minimum wage. A standard that is legislated in such a way as to insist that Provincial Governments comply.I'd also like to see Canada embrace the social determinants of health as a measure of societal success. The number one determinant of citizen health is income and social status:"The social determinants of health influence the health of populations. They include income and social status; social support networks; education; employment/working conditions; social environments; physical environments; personal health practices and coping skills; healthy child development; gender; and culture." http://cbpp-pcpe.phac-aspc.gc.ca/public-health-topics/social-determinants-of-health/ When our politicians speak these days, I hear a consistent message about who matters most: "The Middle-Class".Although it's honourable to believe that we might have low-income citizens who with the right supports can find their way to living as middle-class Canadians, the reality is: We do have persons permanently disabled living in Canada who might not be able to ever make it to a middle-class life. As we attempt to elevate those with low-income by way of education and job-opportunities, I think it's time for Canadians to accept that not all citizens will fit into the plan. Some disabled citizens will not be producers. For this demographic it's time we accept the facts, and it's time we work together, Federal and Provincial Governments, and establish financial supports for those permanently disabled who are legitimately unemployable that will meet needs by establishing rates of assistance that cover the actual true costs of living.Canada needs to fully adopt and implement the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities:https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html In regards to poverty and inequality generally, this report from the IMF (2015) provides some quality information that suggests a bottom-up approach to addressing poverty and inequality issues from a global perspective:"Widening income inequality is the defining challenge of our time. In advanced economies, the gap between the rich and poor is at its highest level in decades.Inequality trends have been more mixed in emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs), with some countries experiencing declining inequality, but pervasive inequities in access to education, health care, and finance remain. Not surprisingly then, the extent of inequality, its drivers, and what to do about it have become some of the most hotly debated issues by policymakers and researchers alike. Against this background, the objective of this paper is two-fold. First, we show why policymakers need to focus on the poor and the middle class. Earlier IMF work has shown that income inequality matters for growth and its sustainability. Our analysis suggests that the income distribution itself matters for growth as well. Specifically, if the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth. The poor and the middle class matter the most for growth via a number of interrelated economic, social, and political channels. Second, we investigate what explains the divergent trends in inequality developments across advanced economies and EMDCs, with a particular focus on the poor and the middle class. While most existing studies have focused on advanced countries and looked at the drivers of the Gini coefficient and the income of the rich, this study explores a more diverse group of countries and pays particular attention to the income shares of the poor and the middle class—the main engines of growth." https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1513.pdf I've been at this issue as a person with mental health disability (PTSD-Former Paramedic) now for over year. In my experience neither persons with disabilities benefits provided Provincially, nor Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits meet current needs against the costs of living.I've more to share, as I've hit every barrier erected across both Provincial and Federal Government systems and can provide a lived-experience lens to where things fail, and the outcomes when things go very wrong in a Canadian Citizen's life.For now, I'll wait for feedback on what I've shared thus far.One thing: I very much appreciate opportunities like this for Citizen Input. This is a shift in Federal Government practice.I'm very grateful for that.
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    • DLSchwartz over 2 years ago
      The statement you made: "Although it's honourable to believe that we might have low-income citizens who with the right supports can find their way to living as middle-class Canadians, the reality is: We do have persons permanently disabled living in Canada who might not be able to ever make it to a middle-class life. As we attempt to elevate those with low-income by way of education and job-opportunities, I think it's time for Canadians to accept that not all citizens will fit into the plan." ...needs to be heard loud and clear in the correct ears. Also, for some people with mental illness though they can not work in the 'work force' can potentially work from home - as this is the age of the internet. There are no provisions in the current policies of IA that allow a person to keep any earnings unless they are receiving 'wages' from a job 'outside the home. I strongly believe that the policies need to change and the policy writers need to hear from the people in receipt of income assistance on any level.
    • oasisburlington over 2 years ago
      I also agree with the statement you made: "Although it's honourable to believe that we might have low-income citizens who with the right supports can find their way to living as middle-class Canadians, the reality is: We do have persons permanently disabled living in Canada who might not be able to ever make it to a middle-class life. As we attempt to elevate those with low-income by way of education and job-opportunities, I think it's time for Canadians to accept that not all citizens will fit into the plan." And that this needs to be repeated loud and clear over and over again to every Canadian, not just to those of privilege and power but to those in poverty to validate their situation.I too advocate for others, and have PTSD which has left me on CPP Disability and in Poverty. I had long term disability through my Engineering Company ( I am a Civil Engineering Technologist) but was fired due to the inability to return to work and the psychiatrists insistence I go back to school and retrain for another career. Before midterms of the first semester I was back in hospital in psychosis. The insurance company recommended I be fired as if I could attend school I work, and I received to assistance with retraining. At the age of 30 I lost my house, my health, and my financial security. Like the above person, I live in deep poverty with no extended medical; OHIP only which really only covers hospital and doctors visits. I even pay to have my disability papers filled out. I pay a drug deductible, and out of pocket for all other health services. CPP-D benefits are non-refundable tax credits... useless for anyone with a low income. I don't see the government as a barrier I see then as holes, or cracks... and I fall into every crack in the system. You think you are finally about to climb out of the crack you fell into and bam!!! You fall into another one. The cracks are never ending, you can't climb out.
  • Lisa Zigler almost 3 years ago
    Poverty affects all aspects of someone's life. This was clearly identified in the discussion paper that was developed as part of this consultation process. I was however surprised to not see any discussion about the connection between poverty and mental health issues. The section on disabilities did not name mental health directly. I oversee an initiative (NAVNET) in St. John's that coordinates our systems response for individuals who have "complex needs". Although we use this term to refer to folks who are high service users, often have mental health issues, have periods of housing instability and homelessness, periods of incarceration etc. I have come to understand that "complexity" is also found in the Government Departments and Community Organizations that make it difficult for this population to find out about their services, qualify for assistance and engage with them in meaningful ways. When thinking about poverty and how governments need to respond, we need to first ensure that those with lived experience are at the decision making table. Not a token person here and there but an integration of those with lived experience in the process itself. We need to listen and to hear their stories. We need to talk to them about gaps and barriers and how we can address these so they are able to get the assistance they need. I have been a social worker for 25+ years, and a Manager within the Mental Health and Addictions program at Eastern Health in St. John's, NL for almost 10 years. I also have close friends and family members who have mental health issues and who have lived for periods of time, in poverty. In my personal and professional opinion, the approach to the complexities of addressing poverty in Canada is indeed multifold. As mentioned about, on the micro level, we need to bring together those with lived experience and their family members and listen and learn from them. We need to make sure that there is a range community organizations that offer various support. We need to offer this support under a practice of "no wrong door". That is to say, that if one organization cannot provide the support/services needed, they will make sure that people approaching them for help, find and connect with another appropriate service. Connected to this is accountability. I have worked with organizations that choose not to work with clients with "complex needs". In the kind of system that I would like to see, we need to make our services available to anyone that meets our organizational mandate. On the more macro side of things, we need to use an anti-poverty lens when developing policies. That is to say, we need to always remember that when we make policies and/or legislation, this may lead to further poverty instead of reduced poverty. In some cases, a person might qualify for one particular program that pays a certain amount of money to them but then finds that this extra money is cancelled out by a reduction in their income support. We need to make sure that these policies do not cancel one another out. We need to make sure that there are no disincentives for those who are moving from income support to employment. Would someone loose a dental card? transportation assistance? What about child care subsides? All of these factors need to be kept in mind and considered in a macro response to poverty. Here in NL, we have had a Poverty Reduction Approach for a number of years. We have seen an overall reduction in poverty for certain populations. Part of our response needs to be a jurisdictional scan. What is happening around poverty reduction across Canada? What about other counties? Can we learn from these experiences? We need to consider all the social determents of health. Income support levels have not changed significantly in many years. It is not uncommon for a single person on income support to have less then $150 for meals, transportation, child care and anything else they need on a monthly basis. The amount that people receive for housing has also not kept up with the cost of housing. Any response to poverty needs to be connected to the issue of safe and affordable housing. When it comes to the clients that I work with, we need a continuum of housing options. Not everyone can live independently in an apartment. Many want and would benefit from a range of support. We know the Mental Health Commission of Canada found this as well. We need to make sure that services are also regionally located. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador, the majority of services are located in St. John's. This means that people living outside the city center, have to leave their communities and come to the city to get the assistance they need. A response to poverty then must use a rural lens as well. With regards to health care, I imagine the issue of waiting lists is a common theme across the Country. In many regions outside of St. John's, it is very difficult if not impossible to find a family doctor. This means one of two things. Either people do not access health care because it is not available to them, or they use the emergency units for primary care. A health care response to poverty would be to bring health care services out to communities where people live. How does someone access health care if they have no transportation, no funds for transportation or no child care? A response could be small, community based health centers located outside of larger urban cities. In other province's, community health centers exist. These centers offer a range of health care including those of a preventative nature. The use of Nurse Practitioners and licensed midwives would free up the time that Physicians spend on these issues. On the funding side of things, we need to make it easier and less complicated to apply for and to receive funding for a range of community support. Funding for well staffed (sometimes 24/7 housing models) are required a part of our larger response. I welcome these consultations but I hope that what is learned is properly resourced and implemented.
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    • Lolara almost 3 years ago
      I agree with so many things you touched on - the one thing that I would like to see if that instead of just providing incentives for affordable housing the CMHC and housing organizations need to provide affordable supportive housing for people who have mental health issues or disabilities. If we can't find our clients we can't support them. If we can't support them they will lose the affordable housing because they can't manage the hoops to get it and if they do get it they can't manage to follow the rules to keep it. If they have nowhere to live they get sick and burden the system. The most vulnerable are still left to seek shelters and hospitals. The incentives thus far available from CMHC have not addressed the need for construction financing for developers to build any sort of housing let alone those that have innovative ideas for affordable or supportive housing. CMHC must get on board and stop demanding unrealistic "innovative" criteria to be awarded grants or loans.
    • Brennan almost 3 years ago
      Very well said. In my world poverty and mental health issues go hand in hand. Both need to be addressed. The comments you made about rural needs are right on the money. I see the same thing here.
    • Samie 55 almost 3 years ago
      Fantastic Response i think you covered it all so many people just lose themselves and give up on life because they lose hope into ever being capable of providing for their basic needs. This definetely affects ones mental health in a massive way .People turn to drugs suicide etc especially the younger groups as they just dont see life possible for them to afford even if they are working.
    • DLSchwartz over 2 years ago
      Thank you! It is refreshing to hear a social worker, who deals with clients living in poverty expressing the reality of what it is like. I appreciate your understanding of the obstacles people with mental illness on income assistance face. All in all what you shared is reassuring as it lets me know that there is someone out there who is aware of the overwhelming problems people in poverty face.
  • DLSchwartz over 2 years ago
    After reading some of the comments I have to add a little tidbit. In my opinion the government pays it's political members far too much money and allows them large expense accounts. I think if cuts were made to the politicians incomes/expense accounts would free up some money to provide more money to help lift people out of poverty. In case some people may not know - some people with illnesses/disabilities that are not able to work in the regular work force or in an at home job are in receipt of income assistance. The amount they receive is approximately $6000 to $9000 a year depending on the province they live in. Some may try to work and they can only keep $150 a month of their income. This does not really help as often working exasperates their illness. Many with mental illnesses that can not work in the work force do not qualify for the Disability programs. So there is a large number of people in receipt of income assistance living well below an acceptable amount of income. Many of them due to inadequate food only reach a low level of wellness. Even with medication - not having proper nutrition makes reaching a greater level of wellness difficult. So it seems that inadequate nutrition is a large problem. Often times a mere $200 more a month would make a significant difference. Regarding nutrition for children - when a family lives in poverty it impacts everyone. The high cost of living of our times is overwhelming. The cost of groceries is overwhelming for families struggling to put a nutritious meal on the table. Therefore people, families, children living in poverty do not have enough money to live on. When a bill needs to be paid the money comes from the grocery money. I think the Basic Income for All Canadians would be a good place to start. It will provide people with enough money to modestly live on. They would have a higher incentive to work. A positive step in the right direction. Having more money (in this money driven society) would allow for more nutritious food, more social inclusion, less isolation, healthier people.
  • EBoileau over 2 years ago
    We should focus on the early years of life. Much research shows that early experiences shape ones life and have important repercussions on health outcomes later in life. We know that there are higher incidences of hospitalization and health issues in the first 1-2 years of life when children live in poverty, then the signs seems to disappear for a few years during elementary school, and the impacts is later seen in teenage years with less years of schooling, higher pregnancy rate, etc. Living in poverty in the first 5 years of life, even if it is temporary, should never happen in Canada, because these experiences literally shape the developing brain (or fail to due to lack of proper nutrition). The Ontario Early Years Centres are doing a great job of providing opportunities for stimulating a young child like toy libraries, and other free programs. I lived in Manitoba for 2 years and was surprised that this type of community hub does not exist. This exacerbates the social isolation that many families may be feeling, especially if they are teen parents that stay at home with their child. On the topic of teen parents, more funding/grants should be allocated to existing programs that providing teens parents with an opportunity to finish high school and complete college education while their child has free child care in the same building. This can be effective in breaking the cycle of poverty and giving a change for decent employment of the parent. Of course, child care needs to be universally available in Canada, the announcement this week is a step in the right direction and hopefully more will be done. As stated in a press release by the Canadian Child Care Federation, "We would never think to offer elementary school or health care to only those in greater need. This is a public good for the well-being of all Canadians." Helping those in greatest need, however, is crucial and I am hopeful that these new childcare spots will help. Further, in Quebec, there is a program a certain percentage of CPE spots are reserved for children referred by social services. This is a great program. For children living in poverty and not attending any form of preschool program it is very challenging to start school and they are already at a disadvantage. There are so many reasons, as demonstrated by research, why focusing on the early years of life should be a priority. I would like to see funding allocated to community hub programs which support all families (not just those in poverty), programs which assist teen parents in continuing their schooling, and of course free access to child care. Although I thought the discussion report was comprehensive, I was surprised to read this:"The Canada Child Benefit provides additional support to those who need it more. This will result in a reduction of about 40% in overall child poverty"I think it is clear from the rest of the report that poverty is complex and embedded in social determinants. How providing extra annual money to families will reduce poverty by 40% eludes me. Recipients of this funding do not necessarily have the tools to get themselves out of poverty. I would like to know more about this 40% and where it comes from....
  • dahart55 over 2 years ago
    BUC Response to Canadian Poverty Reduction StrategyMay 22, 2017Members of Bedford United Church in Bedford, Nova Scotia have developed a response to the Federal Government’s questions about a poverty reduction strategy for Canada. Where should we focus our efforts? What dimensions of poverty should be our priorities? We will post the following summary on http://esdc-consultations.canada.ca/poverty-reduction-strategy First and foremost, BUC members believe that Canadians need to prevent poverty from happening. They also believe that government programs and services are needed to lift people from poverty. Education, income and affordable housing are high priority areas. Education was a dominant theme, including early childhood education, affordable childcare and access to post-secondary education and job training together with the supports necessary to achieve this. Government programs and services such as a basic income guarantee, affordable housing and support for mental health programs are also necessary. More paid positions for navigators need to be created to help those experiencing poverty find appropriate supports. Food security continues to be recognized as an important issue that needs to be addressed. The main priority areas put forth by members of Bedford United Church are listed below and include specific actions to address poverty. Priority areas are: Education, Income, Affordable Housing, Mental Health and Addictions, Health, Food Security, Job Training, Children and Youth, Seniors and other vulnerable populations.Education... affordable & accessible post-secondary education...early childhood education and child care…keeping youth in school, mentorship...financial literacy...more emphasis on trades...the cost of povertyIncome…living wage…basic income guarantee that allows people to work and/or operate home businesses, contribute, & keep a portion of their work-related income...minimum wage reform...higher corporate tax...fair taxing...redistribution of wealth...full time jobs…wage equality…cost of living increases immediately for the Canada Child BenefitAffordable Housing...rent subsides...mixed housing ...rent controlsMental Health and Addictions...recognition and more funding...support for homeless, including food, health, social ...identifying and supporting mental health issues earlier in lifeHealth/ Food Security…increase shelter allowance so people on income assistance have more money for food…prescription drug coverage, dental & vision care for all …community health centres...family planning...share excess food from stores that would otherwise be discardedJob Training...free educational opportunities ...better promo of programs...more emphasis on trades...low interest loan and grantsSeniors...elder care at home...single seniors more vulnerable In summary, the members of Bedford United Church said that the Canadian Government has responsibility to enhance the safety net and fund poverty reduction through taxation and responsible distribution and use of taxes. Suggestions included legislating poverty reduction with a percentage of the GDP, increased taxes for higher incomes and corporations, a flat tax, closing loopholes and directing new marijuana taxes to poverty reduction. We also recognize that communities are part of poverty reduction. Society needs to understand the cost of poverty and give more incentives to address poverty. We need to look at success stories as models, for example: Newfoundland has a poverty plan with measurable goals, and New Brunswick’s provincial government Economic & Social Inclusion Corporation focuses on poverty reduction and involves government, business, non-profits, and people experiencing poverty. We think it is important that all governments understand that citizens are concerned about poverty and that action to reduce poverty is expected by Canadians, even though the issues are complex and the work is challenging. It is imperative that we find ways to work together across all levels of government and build partnerships in communities that support multiple actions to eliminate poverty.
  • Catherine Staal over 2 years ago
    We would love to see our government invest in providing all children in Elementary Schools with a funded National Nutritional School Lunch Program on a daily basis. We know that the biggest obstacle to good nutrition is poverty. We know that if kids don’t get a healthy diet they have fewer opportunities to succeed. We know that four pillars of sustainability are economic, cultural, environmental and social, and food is the huge partner in all of them. The discussion paper is very well done and covers all that we know.It’s time to take care of all our children so that they can succeed. Taking care of all of them will help reduce poverty, better health, create jobs, etc., and will break cycles of generational dependency of ending up living in poverty and being stigmatized.We want our government to address these issues that are connected (poverty, job creation, health, education, children-our future) through the taxes we pay. You have the power to make this happen. The return on this investment can’t be defined just by a dollar sign as the return (abundance) will be seen in so many other ways as well, that money can’t buy!Providing a funded national nutritional school lunch program will give “hope, opportunity & abundance” We believe and know this is where the focus should be and the #1 priority of this government!
  • 501130 over 2 years ago
    Focus on the social determinants of health. Personally I live in poverty and am a CPPD recipient. Mostly I manage well on my $900 income, I even put $100 a month in savings. Then it's there if I need it which is more often than not. I really struggled when my CPPD was only $700, that shows you how long I've been in the program... a long time. I live within my means. I don't buy Tim Hortons, or Starbucks coffee I don't eat out, I don't get my hair done in a salon, and I don't buy new clothes. I still wear clothes that are 20 years old. None of these are necessities.Rent, Food, my vehicle, my service dog (cost $16,000) insurance, volunteering, medical, hydro, internet, these are necessities. I spend more in dog food in a month than I do on food for myself.CPP-D offers non-refundable tax credits on medical expenses, why? I am single and will never have enough income to benefit from a non refundable tax credit on all of my medical expenses. (Drug deductible, chiropractor, physio, massage/osteopath, dental, eye glasses, B-12, service animal, etc...) If in the strategy Canada focused on extended healthcare program for persons with disabilities my whole existence would change. Not just National Pharmacare but extended benefits it would open up new possibilities for me; like trying one of those fancy latte frappa capa chai thingies.
  • lisav almost 3 years ago
    Training, training, training. Poverty reduction should start by equipping everyone in society with the tools to adapt to changing employment opportunities, so that we can all be flexible, adaptable and able to seek and find employment in a variety of different areas. This should start in high school with placements with employers, mini apprenticeships every year as part of the school year, so that students gain work experience as well as knowledge of where their interests and abilities lie. Canada should model itself after the European nations where young people gain valuable work experience and training at a young age. High school should place more emphasis on preparing young people for the workplace and less emphasis on studying Shakespeare. My own opinion is that William Shakespeare is best appreciated with some life experience and maturity on hand. Young people want to start their lives, start earning income, learning what it means to become an adult. The investment we make in young people in terms of giving them job skills, self knowledge and self-confidence before graduation will pay off over their entire lifetime. It sure would have helped me! I lacked self confidence and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after high school and it took me many years and many mistakes to learn anything. I was shy and the only way I learned to talk to people was when I got a job and had no choice but to talk to my coworkers. Practical experience and job skills would have helped my self confidence enormously when I was young, and I think we are missing the opportunity to really give our young students a good start by ignoring this when they need it the most.
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    • jorge almost 3 years ago
      What you are asking for it's being done https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2017/02/canada_and_p_e_iinvestininfrastructureathollandcollege.htmlIt is necessary to provide jobs but always remember lessons from the past where additional steps are necessary to prevent global economics from stagnating the middle class. Skills have taken the blame for poverty during the economic crisis yet it was not the real reason. In a fair labor market what you said would apply, but we are no longer in a fair labor market as unregulated global economics drive wages down while increasing the cost of education where job experience is no longer relevant. You will find many jobs that were used to be filled by workers with high school diploma, now being done by university graduated workers for the same wage. On top of this you will also find employers have an internal culture of disposable employees. This is the usual seasonal job employer which its labor was completely adapted to high turnover of workers where experience is not desired. It would be easier to name employers currently not doing this practice than naming employers with this practice. The only employer with job security is government. One example is the economic downturn of Detroit. Workers were told they needed more skills, that welding iron was no longer needed but welding aluminum. Many went to update theirs skills to modern welding or even IT which was supposed to be integrated to the industry. Welding is now done by robots whose programming IT job is outsourced and its engineering is from Europe as its regulations required high fuel efficiency. The downturn was caused by investment banks socializing losses into oil pricing. Now this initiatives on innovations driven by the youth might payoff with solutions decoupled of oil pricing or identifying practices that would create an economic crisis. In a social media era many workers should have not lost money on training that ended up done by machines but it happened anyways. This means youth ideas are as important as experienced ideas.
    • 501130 over 2 years ago
      The education system can't be expected to you everything parents and guardians also have responsibilities for your life skills education.
  • Kinz Alabi almost 3 years ago
    The primary cause of poverty is privilege. Efforts must be focussed (please excuse my Canadian spelling) on reducing the unfair advantage that privilege creates.
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    • 501130 over 2 years ago
      I don't think privilege causes poverty. I think it's attitude or how you define privilege.I live in poverty, I have mental illness and chronic pain, I was forced into poverty by a doctors bad decisions, lost my job as an engineer, lost my long term disability, and lost my house all by the age of 30. 15 years later I live in poverty and I am privileged. I advocate for those who do not have a voice, I volunteer, I have RGI housing, I have transportation, I receive free training and opportunities by community services for my volunteer work, I speak publicly, and I participate in community. I am more privileged now than when I owned a home and made lots of money... What I think you may mean is Poverty is caused by Greed and the Economic Gap NOT Privilege.
  • f.koziar almost 3 years ago
    I think housing, and a higher minimum for social assistance, should be the top priorities here. On welfare in Ontario (OW) you have to choose between housing and food, and no one should have to make that choice. Part of this is because welfare is immorally low (max 681/month for an individual). I would like to see the amount currently given for disabled people (about $13k/yr) as the minimum for social assistance, so that at least if you're good at budgeting you can afford some sort of life. However, how awful social assistance rules are and how low the rent allotment is (only $480/m for disabled people, $300-something for welfare - if you somehow manage lower rent you actually get less money) is enough to give people depression if they didn't already arrive to the social assistance scene with a mental illness. We can't help people at the bottom if we're forcing them to beg on the streets, and if we tell them every day that they aren't worth feeding, that they aren't worth as much as other people.
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    • Leah.Godin almost 3 years ago
      Agreed, in Alberta a single individual on income support receives $627/month. ($323 for core shelter). If you are on income support, you do not qualify for subsidized housing or subsidy and the wait if you do qualify is anywhere from 1-5 years. Because of the economy rent fluctuates. When I moved to Grande Prairie, AB I was paying $1300/month for a room in a shared house. There are no rent caps. Now a house is about $1600/month plus utilities. Charges for utilities are outrageous, and the distribution charges are often 3 times that of your actual usage cost. You can't eliminate poverty or homelessness without the two working together.
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      • 501130 over 2 years ago
        Also agreed, GTHA is the same. 1 bedroom apartment averages $1200 to $1500. I am fortunate enough to have a $1300 RGI apartment. 75% of my hydro bill is for distribution my actual usage is $6 to $10. ODSP total = $1080, I am CPP-D recipient receiving $900, my RGI is less but also have cost of drug deductible, dental, glasses, etc... no benefits of the provincial programs.
  • 16woodsequ almost 3 years ago
    First Nation reserves have been compared to live in 3rd world countries. Adequate housing, education and basics such as clean water should be addressed.
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    • Janet Barry over 2 years ago
      As a Canadian, I am so embarrassed about the conditions on First Nations reserves! We need to do much better on this front and the response should be a priority.
  • Coralyak over 2 years ago
    Education with supports supplied for adults and the children in poverty to change the vision or feelings of being stuck in poverty forever have to be dealt with early. By supplying opportunity ie community clubs meeting places, early education centers focused on providing education on how to live with little means as well as education to get a job that is more than minimum wage. Minimum wage doesn't support one person in a safe home let alone adding children to the mix. Encouragement including social work and strategies for finding the right fit job with support for childcare while this happens. I have seen so many people struggle and be stuck in poverty from being young children to adults as they don't have the motivation to go further. Motivation is the key and this could be developed at a young age as introduced in the school system as well. Continue with the breakfast programs at inner city schools to provide brain food for the day.
  • michael kerr over 2 years ago
    Any national effort, any strategy, any plan, any policy or any program developed to deal with poverty and its reduction or elimination - has to take a differentiated approach. It must acknowledge and specifically address the unique and different circumstances and lived realities of each of the historically disadvantaged and systematically marginalized groups in Canada - First Peoples, peoples of colour, single mothers, persons with (dis)abilities, LGBTQ community members, single adults, and youth - and the intersections of these ! So any federal initiative need track each of these groups over time - with appropriate data capture tools, techniques and templates - in order to determine and best ensure that all groups of people are in fact benefiting from any and all of the interventions - and doing do equitably !!
  • Samie 55 almost 3 years ago
    I think the focus should be on AFFORDABILITY for the people of this country. Once things are affordable then life will be tolerable for the people of this country. eg .Rent should be regulated according to ones income. There is no way a person making $11 an hour single without a second income in their household can afford a rent of $1100 a month rent . I a person is on social assistance there is no way that person can afford to pay any rent at all with 435 a month until they get themselves back on their feet. If our basic needs was affordable most importantly HOUSING then less people would be on Social Assistance. Rent is just too high
  • Slee almost 3 years ago
    Temporary poverty is something that although it might leave one disillusioned, frustrated and anxiety ridden, is just that - temporary. It is not to lessen the blow of losing a job or facing challenges that cause an impoverished state, however, if a person is an adult facing a temporary situation, the long term effects may not be as detrimental to long term health as someone born into poverty. A child born into poverty, whether or not single family, working poor etc, faces constant and difficult challenges daily. These include often lower standards of housing - perhaps unsafe and crowded; less food security; shame by peers for where they live or how they dress; shame by education systems that may force parents to sign children up for food programs based on poverty and subject to scrutiny by other students, parents, educators; they will often face less stable home environments, less opportunity to engage in school activities; more pressure to leave school to help out with either work for pay, parental care or sibling care.Many people see young teen girls becoming pregnant - young women who often lack life experience that has given them the opportunity to make different choices. We set them up with funds to live but what do we expect from them and/or what do we offer them as a way to become independent and raise a healthy family? Do we insist they take nutritional classes so they know how to shop? Or teach them how to budget? Do we help them transition from high school into parenthood or just deposit a payment in the bank monthly for the next ten years? I think tackling teen pregnancy is one place to start however one of the highest priorities should be housing because allowing sufficient funds for housing, means fewer single mothers may feel desperate enough to take in others to help pay the rent. We should address the issue of parents who do not work or are of low income, by providing mentoring, guidance, counselling and educational opportunities including funding for training, co-op and apprenticeship positions to those who are interested. Perhaps a move in the educational system back to 2 year tech courses and apprenticeship programs would motivate students and provide them with opportunity for a future they can believe in. Not everyone can be a nurse. Or a lawyer. Or a computer geek. By offering students who feel that college or university is not for them - courses in mechanics, salon, personal support workers, hospitality, massage and so on, would make them feel like they had choices they could make in a more doable period of time. For all people, housing is the biggest basic challenge.The government by virtue of it's own guidelines for social housing, sets the rate of payment for housing at 30%. Yet - our governments do nothing to help low income people - seniors, adults fallen on hard times through loss of employment, illness or other challenges etc, when they are forced to pay far more than 30% of net income on shelter costs - people who remain trapped in poverty through increasing rent/shelter costs. The government could immediately improve the lives of millions of poor by simply providing rent subsidies instead pushing people on to government housing lists that contain thousands of people waiting years for a place to live.
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    • Lolara almost 3 years ago
      Rent subsidies donʼt do anything but provide a bandaid. Affordable housing is the only way to help. It has to be created. The gov and banks need to start providing loan to developers to create the housing. Developers are willing to build rental housing but itʼs impossible to find financing. Developers are also willing to build homes for people to purchase but again there has to be financing. Even housing organizations are wasting their money on subsidies and incentives that do nothing to help the poor by perpetuating poverty. There is no point in helping someone pay their rent if they have to stay under the poverty threshold to get assistance the only way to help is to help people purchase their own homes and eventually get away from reliance on subsidies or landlords whims.
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      • jorge almost 3 years ago
        I do believe in the creation of a comprehensive environment where people is able to meet all basic needs. A loan is not a house, it is a debt and an additional cost to people who already can't make ends meet. A developer needs materials, land and workers. Many places have adopted with limited success programs where the developer and workers are the very same people needing housing in which government provides land and materials. This is the cheapest way to provide housing and it actually works out. What limits it, is the fact that many of this initiatives are done in remote locations with little to no access to good paying jobs or lacks an infrastructure meant to lift people out of poverty. Technology could overcome those limitations.
  • Dietitians of Canada almost 3 years ago
    Some individuals in Canada are disproportionately at greater risk for low income and financial constraints, and food insecurity within their households – risks related to certain life stages, sex and gender, racialized identity and chronic health conditions and/or disabilities. Women, lone parents, especially lone female parents, unattached single people, people who have a disability and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations disproportionately experience a higher prevalence or risk of household food insecurity. Other population groups in Canada with higher prevalence rates of individual or household food insecurity include Indigenous Peoples, those who are precariously housed or homeless, those who rent their homes and some new immigrants/refugees.The key critical social determinant of health for food insecurity is the “inadequate or insecure access to adequate food due to financial constraints” (6). Income and other social determinants of health such as education and housing may interact and intensify food insecurity. The source of a household’s income is strongly related to the likelihood that a household will report they have experienced food insecurity in the past year, since the source often dictates the level and/or stability of income. Among food insecure households in Canada, almost two thirds (62.2% in 2012)) relied on employment (from wages and salaries) for their main source of income (6). These employment incomes may be inadequate to pay for basic needs due to low rates of hourly pay, low number of hours available for paid work, or only one earner in a household (7). If incomes from wages and salaries were sufficient for all households relying on employment income, the number of food insecure households in Canada might be reduced by almost two thirds. In 2012, this group of employed but food insecure households comprised 11.2% of all households reliant on income from wages and salaries (6). Compared to households in Canada with income from wages and salaries, households whose main income source is from government benefits are much more likely to experience food insecurity (6-8, 69, 80-82). In 2012, 69.5% of households reliant on social assistance (i.e., welfare and disability support programs) experienced food insecurity, although this rate varied greatly – from more than 75% in the west and in Nunavut and Yukon Territories to 46.2% in Newfoundland and Labrador, indicating differences in social assistance policy, which is largely determined at the provincial/territorial level. Among households reliant on income from Employment Insurance or Workers’ Compensation, the rate of food insecurity was 38.4% (6). Based on these results, the likelihood of a household experiencing food insecurity in Canada is about four to six times greater (e.g., 38.4% and 69.5% compared to 11.2% of wage/salary earning households) when the main source of income is from government-administered programs. While their unique income guarantee is government-sourced, seniors (over age 65 years) in Canada experience the lowest rate of household food insecurity – the combination of Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and benefits such as pharmacare, are described later in this discussion paper. In 2012, among the Canadian households experiencing food insecurity (a total of more than 1.6 million households), the number of households reliant on government-administered incomes was less than a third (306,800 households) compared to the number of households reliant on wage or salaried incomes (1,000,600 households). Of the more than 300 thousand food insecure households reliant on government-administered incomes, the majority (258,800) received income from social assistance (6). - As cited in Dietitians of Canada's background paper on Prevalence, Severity and Impact of Household Food Insecurity: A Serious Public Health Issue www.dietitians.ca/foodinsecurity
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    • jorge almost 3 years ago
      I do see an opportunity to bring people together with food diplomacy. Everyone needs food, it helps bridge ethics, it's an art and a science.