Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

ELIMINATE POVERTY IN SASKATCHEWAN

Posted by strattof on November 21, 2009

ELIMINATE POVERTY IN SASKATCHEWAN

The provincial economy has expanded rapidly in the last five years, but many individuals, children, and families in Saskatchewan remain in poverty. The most recent Statistics Canada data, from 2007, indicate that:
• 47,000 Saskatchewan women live in poverty. That’s 13% of all women in the province.
• 35,000 Saskatchewan men live in poverty. That’s 9% of all men in the province.
• 35,000 Saskatchewan children live in poverty. That’s 17% of all children, the third highest child poverty rate among Canadian provinces. (Only British Columbia and Manitoba are higher.)
• 24 per cent of single seniors in Saskatchewan live in poverty.
• Low-income families are often deeply in poverty. Poor Saskatchewan families of two or more have incomes that average $9,300 below the poverty line.

Eliminating poverty would
Improve health. Poor people have more physical and mental health problems than those with higher incomes. A recent study of a government funded social experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba demonstrates the positive effects of eliminating poverty. From 1974 to 1978, each household was guaranteed an annual income supplement to ensure that its income did not fall below the poverty line. Researchers found that hospitalization rates fell, especially for accidents and injuries. Hospitalization rates for mental health issues also declined. Dr. Evelyn Forget, of the Canadian Institute for Health Research, stated that poverty is related to stress and people appear to live healthier lives when they don’t have to worry about poverty.
Help prepare children for school and life. Investment in early childhood development helps children prepare for success at school and as citizens. In Saskatchewan, only 5.9 per cent of children under age 12 have access to regulated child care spaces – the lowest rate in the country. Studies show that early childhood education and care have a strong relationship with improved school performance, diminish the need for remediation in the school years, result in improved adult productivity, and reduce anti-social behaviour among high-risk populations. The Dauphin, Manitoba study found that teenagers stayed in school longer as a result of the guaranteed minimum income.
Benefit all households. Investment in eliminating poverty would be good for the economy, for taxpayers, and all households, in addition to helping those who are poor. A 2008 study for the Ontario Association of Food Banks found that poverty cost each Ontario household around $2,500 each year. A 2009 study by the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada found that dollars invested in child care could result in more jobs than current federal programs giving tax credits for home renovations. Over the long term, every dollar invested in quality child care programs returns $2.54 in benefits to society.
(For sources of data and research studies, email paul.gingrich@uregina.ca)

Show your support for eliminating poverty
• Sign the Petition in Support of Eliminating Poverty in Saskatchewan. Just ask one of us about it. We also have extra copies of the petition if you would like some to take home or to your work place for signatures. On December 1, the petition will be presented to the provincial government by the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition.
• Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada calls for a vigorous and sustained action by the federal government to combat the structural causes of poverty in Canada. Sign and return the postcard that is tucked inside this leaflet. You can also submit your name electronically at http://www.dignityforall.ca
Let’s work to improve economic justice by eliminating poverty!

MAKING PEACE VIGIL November 19, 2009

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