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As seen in the ministerial mandate
letters (November 2015), the Speech from the Throne (December 2015) and Budget
2016 (March 2016), the Government of Canada has already announced several
initiatives that will help reduce poverty in Canada.
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
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.
Government of Canada recognizes that accountability matters in its commitment
to reduce poverty in Canada. To meet this commitment, it will be important to
build partnerships, establish clear targets, report on progress and identify
what is successful and what is not.
poverty reduction target could be chosen using one of Statistics Canada’s
existing low-income measures, Canada could explore improving the existing
measures to make them more accurate or introduce a completely new measure.
One challenge in determining a target for the Poverty
Reduction Strategy is that Canada does not have an “official definition” of
poverty or a consistent way to measure it. In fact, many countries do not. It is
difficult to define poverty as it is such a personal experience. For one
person, it may be a lack of income, while another may experience poverty because
they face barriers to their inclusion in society.