#ReducePoverty in Canada Contest


Thank you to everyone who submitted their creative ideas to help us #ReducePoverty in Canada!

Congratulations to the youth whose submissions were chosen for the #ReducePoverty in Canada Contest!

These young people had the opportunity to showcase their ideas at the National Poverty Conference on September 28, 2017. You can view the selected submissions below.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to send in their innovative ideas to make our communities a better place.

Congratulations to the youth whose submissions were chosen for the #ReducePoverty in Canada Contest!

These young people had the opportunity to showcase their ideas at the National Poverty Conference on September 28, 2017. You can view the selected submissions below.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to send in their innovative ideas to make our communities a better place.


Thank you to everyone who submitted their creative ideas to help us #ReducePoverty in Canada!
  • The Solution: Working Together

    By Donia Arfaoui
    Category: 18 to 24 years old

    (Translated from French text)

    Our country bases its hopes on youth, but that doesn’t mean it leaves out older people. In fact, the opposite is true, because they are the ones who have experience and can train us youth to continue what they started, because they also continued what their predecessors started. By working together, we can develop a solution to reduce poverty in Canada. Young and old people alike must work together to address this scourge. That is why the plan I am proposing to reduce poverty in Canada calls for people of all generations to participate and is made up of three components. First, we must raise awareness among youth. To do this, I suggest holding interactive conferences and awareness workshops in schools across Canada to empower youth. Youth have to understand that the passion and motivation to get out of poverty have to come from themselves. Most of all, youth have to realize their full potential, because when they believe in themselves, they are willing and able to get out of poverty. Second, we need to provide youth with training and work experience. Youth should be offered paid internships regardless of their past or present so they can have a better future. Many youth are afraid to look for a job because of events in their personal life that deeply affected them either physically or psychologically. So they fear that these events or their lasting effects will jeopardize their work. If we give youth more opportunity to learn and gain experience in the workplace, poverty will decline because youth are the future of our country. Third, we must recognize immigrants’ diplomas. When they arrive in Canada, many immigrants are unable to work in the same field they did at home because their diplomas are not recognized. They have to spend a long time doing training or completely redo their education, but without the time or money to do this, they work low-paying jobs and live in poor neighbourhoods. To fix this, we should recognize their diplomas or equivalencies to reduce the time and cost of their training, which would allow them to earn higher salaries and reduce poverty in Canada. In closing, to reduce poverty in Canada, we must all work together and believe in the potential of every one of us.

  • The HelpingHubs

    By Ritika Arora
    Category: 18 to 24 years old

    Watch the Prezi!

    Text from Presentation:

    Poverty in Canada

    • No official/ absolute definition
    • Detected via indicators such as low income, inability to meet basic needs etc.
    • Fluctuates from person to person (i.e. some are at a higher degree of poverty than others)
    • Specific populations/ groups at higher risk of experiencing a state of poverty
    • Gives rise to a myriad of physical and mental health conditions
    • Complex and variable

    The Idea
    • Establish all-in-one hubs that cater to the specific socio-economic determinants of health within various poverty-dense communities
    • Implement local advocacy initiatives
    • Execute small-scale informative programming in community centres and libraries

    What are HelpingHubs?

    • Facilities that provide a variety of health care services, on-site educational programming, employment programs, residential/ housing support, specialized support groups (e.g. recovery programs for abuse/neglect, rehabilitation services, LGBTQ supports etc. )
    • Allow individuals experiencing poverty to full fill their needs all under one roof
    • Each HelpingHub facility would be specially tailored to the surrounding community, in order to deliver culturally contextualized support to Indigenous communities and various ethnic minorities; this would be accomplished through culture-specific training of youth workers and incorporation of spiritual and traditional practices ( e.g. Sweat Lodges to facilitate wellbeing and healing)
    • A health care/ community setting solely devoted to aiding this population may also foster a sense of community and collective supportive, which may decrease the negative stigma and psychological feedback that is commonly experienced by such individuals


    • Covenant House Toronto (CHT) is Canada’s largest homeless youth agency
    • Serves about 250 youth/ day and provides all-in-one support (similar to the potential HelpingHubs)
    • 80% of operating budget comes from donors = proves feasibility of potential HelpingHubs
    • More here: http://home.blnkpage.org/health-science/tackling-homelessness-health-roots/
    • Thus, the nationwide poverty reduction strategy should mirror the work of CHT to some extent, as it has been very effective in holistically alleviating the stressors experienced by homeless youth


    • To educate the public regarding the realities of those experiencing poverty, in order to reduce stigma and detrimental attitudes/behaviours towards such individuals
    • Local outdoor events such as runs/walks & kite-flying events are very effective at gathering community members to support a specific cause
    • Their ability to engage large amounts of community members can also be used to crowdsource funds for the HelpingHubs

    Additional programming

    • Consists of small-scale community programming such as workshops, information sessions and conversation circles
    • Currently, there is a lack of widespread knowledge regarding community tools, resources and support networks for individuals at the brink of poverty
    • Drop-in programming led by local libraries and community centres would allow such individuals to acquire resources, knowledge and support from professionals and various experts in the field
    • Examples of workshop themes: employment services, housing support, finance management support, investment programs

    In summary, the national poverty reduction strategy should incorporate the following elements:

    • HelpingHubs fr individuals experiencing poverty
    • Advocacy to educate individuals about poverty
    • Additional Programming for individuals at the brink of poverty

  • Words of Wisdom (Ending Poverty)

    By Cheyenne Hardy
    Category: 12 to 17 years old

    Once when I was a little girl,
    I heard my mother say,
    If you give a man a fish to eat,
    He will have food for just one day.

    But if you TEACH a man to fish,
    Hungry, he will be no more,
    With words of wisdom such as these,
    I often wonder, why do we still have poor?

    I volunteer at a Food Bank
    It is open every week.
    Our clients come for food and clothing,
    But is there something more they seek?

    Maybe they seek a solution
    To end this cycle of poverty.
    Every week over and over we do the same thing,
    Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    When someone lives in Poverty,
    The most likely have bad health,
    Poor health can mean no education,
    No education means no wealth.
    Everything in life is connected,
    Poor wages, no transit, no job, understand?
    And just one little thing can throw you off course,
    Like sickness or injury, not part of the plan.
    Poverty means making tough decisions
    Putting food on the table, or paying rent?
    Medications? Utilities? Forget about those
    The money’s already been spent.

    Poverty is a complex issue
    It affects us all in different ways and degrees
    Its multi dimensional nature
    Affects the strength of our communities.

    So listen up Governments...
    It’s time for us ALL to think,
    Because poverty reduction and economic growth,
    It’s all intrinsically linked.

    Canada, we can do better,
    We need to work hand in hand,
    Our leaders, our citizens, the wealthy and poor
    It’s time to make a stand.
    Together “hope” can be restored
    But UNITY is essential
    Together we can ensure all Canadians
    Have opportunities to meet their potential.
    Let’s start with Education, and affordable housing,

    Maybe higher wages and lower day care fees?
    Let’s stop treating the symptoms of poverty,
    But instead, find a cure for the disease!

    And this brings me back to my mother’s words
    Because essentially this is my wish
    Let’s stop feeding our hungry for just one day
    By teaching this country to fish!

  • Thumbs Down To Poverty

    By Mehr Saini
    Category: 12 to 17 years old

    Watch the video!

  • We CAN eliminate poverty!

    By Seanna Strassburger
    Category: 12 to 17 years old

    My idea is for the government to provide safe and free housing for qualifying families in Canada. This housing can be in the format of communal living, where individual families have their own family space, but cooking and common areas would be communal living. This would benefit the families involved in many ways mainly it would help create a sense of neighborhood and community again. Everyone in the home would be expected to contribute to the running of it, and use their skills to assist and help other if possible. It would allow those in the communal living areas to pass on and teach their skills to others living in the area. Whether it be cooking, cleaning or handyman skills to maintain living quarters, yard work, car- pooling, etc.

    This housing should be free for families who make below a certain threshold, as those families become financially stable and are making more money their rent will move to the second stage – rent geared to income. Once families make enough to not qualify for rent geared to income they would then move to full market rent. This program is intended to give families’ struggling financially an opportunity to provide themselves and their families safe and secure housing while tackling other aspects of living in poverty.

    The goal is that the people who have very little money will be able to use what money they do have to help with training, going back to school and providing for their families. By eliminating / reducing the housing costs, -these families will have the opportunity to work and use their income for services necessary to improve their quality of life – such as better food, better education, increased access to health services and an opportunity to save money. The hope is that children grow up seeing successful family’s members and members of their community and choose to improve their own career opportunities by being more successful in school, therefore attending post-secondary education, and hopefully eliminating cycle of generations relying on social assistance. These youth will also be more proactive in their own and others health, which will create a healthier population, which will eventually ease the burden of increased healthcare costs on the government.

    If all Canadians had access to safe affordable / free housing, there would be a decrease in poverty, which indirectly creates a safer environment. There is a direct link between poverty and high rates of incarceration, which costs the tax payer and government a significant amount of money per year.

    There would be a decrease in social assistance payments. Estimates place the monetary value at $720M/YR at the provincial level.

    This idea wouldn’t be cheap. It would cost the government a lot of money up front and taxes would increase, but in the end the gov’t would save on costs such as welfare, health care, bankruptcy’s etc. Once the buildings are paid off with tenants doing repairs etc. the costs to tax payers will diminish, therefore taxes could even go down.