On February 4 and 5, The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, was in Edmonton holding a meeting of federal–provincial/territorial ministers responsible for social services. This is the first time in 10 years that social services ministers are meeting. During these meetings in Edmonton, ministers hope to discuss issues such as a national early learning and child-care framework and the government’s Canada Child Benefit.
Dignity for All: the campaign to end poverty in Canada, co-led by Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), wrote to the federal Minister encouraging him to take this opportunity to initiate consultations about the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.
February 5, 2016
Re: Meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial social services ministers
Dear Minister Duclos,
Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada would like to join our colleagues working to end poverty in Canada in recognizing the importance of this week’s Federal-Provincial-Territorial social services ministers meeting in Edmonton, the first meeting of its kind to take place in over 10 years.
We consider this meeting to be a significant opportunity for the federal government and provincial-territorial counterparts to address the critical social policy issues, including child care and early learning, Indigenous children in care, poverty reduction and social infrastructure. We hope that it will also be an opportunity to initiate a discussion about the federal government’s commitment to a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Dignity for All, a campaign co-led by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, has worked in collaboration with social policy, anti-poverty, non-profit and faith-based organizations since 2009 to promote the development and implementation of a comprehensive national anti-poverty plan. We understand that to end poverty in Canada requires the federal government to work alongside provincial-territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments, many of which have already taken important steps to develop and implement anti-poverty strategies in regions and communities across the country.
We want to reinforce the importance of a national plan to end poverty which is based in human rights. This would involve establishing clear targets and timelines, along with a commitment for adequate resources and strong accountability mechanisms to ensure the plans full implementation and evaluation. The Dignity for All National Anti-Poverty Plan offers a model for where to start this discussion.
Each of the social policy areas you have identified as priorities for this meeting can be addressed in a comprehensive national anti-poverty plan. They reflect the key social policy areas the Dignity for All national plan has focused on: income security, health, food security, housing and homelessness, early childhood education and care, and employment. Addressing these issues comprehensively acknowledges their interconnected nature and fulfills underlying human rights obligations.
We do consider now to be the right time to begin such an important discussion with the provinces-territories about a national anti-poverty plan. The 4.9 million Canadians living in poverty are struggling each day and have waited far too long for federal action.
We ask on behalf of the 700 organizations and over 11,000 individuals who have endorsed the Dignity for All campaign that we be able to participate in the consultation process and development of the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. We would appreciate knowing the name and contact information of the staff contact person responsible for the development of the CPRS with whom we can meet. We would also like to share with our supporters how and when broader community consultation will take place.
Thank you so much for your attention, and we wish you a successful meeting in Edmonton.