Federal action on poverty delayed once again

By Citizens for Public Justice

Poverty Reduction Act voted down in House of Commons


Ottawa, ON: December 6, 2016 — Yesterday, MPs voted down sending Bill C-245, the Poverty Reduction Act, to committee. This bill would have legislated a framework for a national poverty reduction strategy.

As co-leaders of Dignity for All: The campaign for a poverty-free Canada, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is disappointed that low-income people living in Canada must continue to wait for a comprehensive federal response to poverty.

The House of Commons has committed to ending poverty three times – in 1989 among children, and in 2009 and 2015 among all people in Canada. Since 1989, MPs have repeatedly voted down legislation that would move Canada ahead in its efforts to reduce poverty.

 “Canada needs a comprehensive national anti-poverty plan that is legislated and provides a framework for accountability, along with firm targets and timelines to reach its goals,” said CPJ’s socio-economic policy analyst, Darlene O’Leary.

“The Poverty Reduction Act would have established a rights-based framework, strengthening the effectiveness of the federal government’s Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, and ensuring that it would be less vulnerable to shifts in government.”

The Liberals claim that support for the bill would be premature, as they are waiting on the results of the study taking place presently on poverty reduction strategies at the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, and Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) committee. As well, Minister Duclos has indicated that consultations for the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy will begin early in the new year.

However, given the decision to vote down the Poverty Reduction Act, the federal government will be expected to move quickly and deliver a strong national strategy that provides at least what Bill C-245 would have offered.  

Photo Credit: Flickr/A Yee

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