In the past ten years, Saskatchewan’s economic expansion has benefited the province in many ways. But some people in the province have been left out and every day must scrounge to obtain food, clothing, and shelter. Increased shelter costs have made life very difficult and unhealthy for those with low incomes.
There is no sound reason why the benefits of economic expansion cannot be shared by all. Let’s work together to ensure this happens and make Saskatchewan a model of how poverty can be eliminated.
KEY POVERTY FACTS
- 128,000 Saskatchewan residents live below the low income or poverty line. That’s 13 per cent of the province’s population.
- In Regina, 26,000 persons, 9 per cent of the city’s population, live below the poverty line.
- 9,000 Regina children, 1 in 5, are in poverty. In Prince Albert, North Battleford, and in rural areas, towns, and the North, as many as 1 in 3 children live in poor households.
- Living alone increases vulnerability to low income. In Regina, 1 in 5 unattached individuals live in poverty.
- The Aboriginal low income rate is 30 per cent in Regina, much greater than the 10 per cent rate for non-Aboriginal persons. Across the province, 1 in 3 persons with Aboriginal identity live in low income households.
- In 2011, 24 per cent of Canadians with disabilities lived in low income households.
- Recent immigrants to Regina have a poverty rate of 30 per cent.
- In 2012, over 40 per cent of persons living in female lone-parent families in the province were in poverty.
- Employment at a minimum wage job means a worker is in poverty. In 2012, full time work at minimum wage meant an income of $19,760 or $1,000 less than the poverty level for a single person.
- Since 2007, Regina food and rent costs increased by 45 per cent, while the minimum wage increased by only 28 per cent.
- In 2012, the low income line was $20,784 for a single person and $41,568 for a family of four, using the Low Income Measure – After Tax.
3 EFFECTS OF POVERTY
- We know that poverty hurts families and children in low income households. But we don’t always know that it costs everyone – in lost economic potential and health care costs. Saskatoon’s Poverty Costs campaign estimates that poverty cost Saskatchewan $3.8 billion in heightened service use and lost opportunities in 2010. That’s 5 per cent of our gross domestic product. Among the costs are $420 million in increased health care usage and over $50 million in criminal justice system costs. See povertycosts.ca for the full report.
- Studies show that people living in poverty are more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, injury and/or poisoning, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and mental health concerns than those with secure incomes. Poor diets and housing not only cause stress but can create health problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
- We know that child poverty can have long term effects – impairing the health of children and making education and success in life more difficult to achieve. It hurts all of us.
POVERTY IS WRONG
Let’s eliminate poverty because it’s wrong that some Saskatchewan residents don’t have enough to live in dignity.
Here are some of the ways that poverty and its ill effects could be eliminated:
- A guaranteed basic income for all – an income enough to make sure that no child or family is in poverty.
- A universal and accessible child care program.
- Adequate and affordable housing for all.
- Employment that pays a Living Wage.
WE CAN ELIMINATE POVERTY
Saskatchewan’s poverty rate has declined since 2005. This shows that progress can be made in reducing poverty and that there need not always be poor among us. While these last ten years of economic expansion have led to a decline in provincial poverty rates, there is still a long way to go. Let’s get the poverty rate down to 0.
Make your views on poverty elimination known. In the October 2014 Speech from the Throne, the provincial government announced a Poverty Reduction Strategy. To make suggestions to the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction, suggesting ways to eliminate poverty, email