Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

ELIMINATE POVERTY IN SASKATCHEWAN

Posted by strattof on December 2, 2010

Saskatchewan is experiencing a boom and bust economy. While some residents have benefited from the province’s economic expansion, others have been disadvantaged. Just released 2008 Statistics Canada data reveal that 115,000 Saskatchewanians live in poverty.

POVERTY IN SASKATCHEWAN: MORE KEY FACTS

49,000            Number of women who live in poverty in the province.

34,000            Number of men living in poverty in the province.

20                   Per cent of children under age 6 who live in a poor household. This makes Saskatchewan the province with the highest rate of early childhood poverty.  

45                   Per cent of Aboriginal children under age 15 who live in poverty. That’s over three times the poverty rate for children in non-Aboriginal families.

30                   Per cent of single seniors in Saskatchewan who live in poverty. 12,000 of the 15,000 senior singles living in poverty are women.

46,000            Number of unattached individuals aged 15 or more who are poor. The poverty rate for individuals living alone is two and a half times that for people living in families.

37                   Per cent of poor children living in families where at least one member is working full-time and full-year. Minimum or low wages are just not enough to keep many individuals and families out of poverty.

See www.uregina.ca/spr for a November 2010 report on child and family poverty in Saskatchewan.

FEDERAL POVERTY REDUCTION PLAN

An all party committee of the Parliament of Canada has recently released a report that could change the face of poverty in Canada. The report, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada, is the result of a study of the federal role in addressing poverty by the Parliamentary Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development. (To obtain a copy, do an internet search for Federal Poverty Reduction Plan.) The report calls for the federal government to immediately commit to an action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. Here are some of the main recommendations:

  • Equity: Improve the effectiveness of employment and pay equity programs.
  • Children: Raise the Canada Child Tax Benefit and supplement to reach a minimum of $5000 per child. Implement “a national strategy on early childhood education and care, including the creation of a national public child care system.”
  • Aboriginal Peoples: Provide better support for Indigenous educational institutions. Improve access to postsecondary education for Aboriginal students. Eliminate the two per cent cap on spending increases. Provide adequate funding for social programs offering services to Aboriginal children and families. Address the housing crisis in Aboriginal communities and ensure that all Aboriginal people have access to affordable, safe, and adequate housing.   
  • Seniors: Improve the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors by increasing benefits for those living alone and indexing the exemption for employment income.
  • Working Poor: Ease EI qualifications. Increase adult literacy.  Create jobs for low-income individuals. Ensure adequate wage replacement for unemployed individuals. Increase the federal contribution to public transit. Establish programs to help the most vulnerable, including a refundable Disability Tax Credit and a basic income program for persons with disabilities.

THE FEDERAL POVERTY REDUCTION PLAN: HELP MAKE IT A REALITY

  • Send messages to Diane Finley (Finley.D@parl.gc.ca), Minis-ter of Human Resources and Skills Development, and to Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca) urging the Harper government to commit to a federal poverty reduction plan.
  • Contact your Member of Parliament, urging him to support the poverty reduction plan: Ray Boughen, Palliser: boughr@parl.gc.ca; Ralph Goodale, Wascana: goodale@sasktel.net; Tom Lukiwski, Regina-Lumsden: lukiwt@parl.gc.ca; Andrew Scheer, Regina Qu’Appelle: scheea@parl.gc.ca
  • Also encourage your MP to vote for Bill C-304, an act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible, and affordable housing.

Recently, the government ignored recommendations from similar reports on poverty from the Senate. Don’t let this happen again. We can’t let this excellent parliamentary report just be ignored and sit on a shelf to gather dust.

 Let’s work to improve economic justice by eliminating poverty!

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