The Dignity for All Campaign and Campaign 2000 welcome critical federal action on poverty in the 2019 Budget Implementation Act.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON, April 10, 2019 – A coalition of national anti-poverty organizations welcomes the inclusion of poverty legislation in the federal government’s Budget Implementation Act (BIA).
Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, co-leads of the Dignity for All Campaign, and Campaign 2000 welcome the move to table important anti-poverty legislation before the end of the current parliamentary session.
The coalitions have long called for poverty legislation, which will hold future governments accountable to Canada’s poverty reduction goals, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty by 2030.
While it is important that the legislation moves forward, the coalitions still hope for a robust study with opportunities for the adoption of their recommended amendments.
In February, the coalitions sent an open letter to Minister Jean-Yves Duclos with recommendations to strengthen Bill C-87, An Act respecting the reduction of poverty. This letter, signed by more than 500 organizations and individuals across Canada, called for the legislation to reflect Canada’s international human rights commitments, accelerate poverty reduction targets and ensure that Canada’s official poverty line genuinely reflects the experience of poverty in Canada. It also called for the government to develop strong accountability and measurement mechanisms.
“Along with Canada’s first [national] anti-poverty strategy, this legislation provides a historic opportunity for leadership… The time is now to implement anti-poverty legislation that moves us forward to a more equal Canada,” the letter read.
The coalitions are pleased that this message was received by federal leaders. However, they ask that this legislation be amended in line with recommendations in the open letter to ensure that the poverty strategy effectively seeks to eradicate poverty in Canada.
“We’re happy that the government recognized the importance of making sure poverty legislation happens today – not sometime after the next election. We know that prompt action is essential for the 5.8 million people in Canada experiencing poverty,” said Citizens for Public Justice’s Darlene O’Leary.
“Still, those millions of people need more action now. Stronger tools and resources are needed to ensure that we achieve not only a reduction but an outright end to poverty in Canada.”
As the federal election looms, the coalitions will work to ensure all people in Canada and all political parties see the elimination of poverty as an electoral priority.
“With the new federal strategy and legislation, we have just begun to take the right steps toward poverty eradication. It’s imperative we ensure this continues through the federal election campaign and beyond,” said Canada Without Poverty’s Michele Biss.
About Dignity for All
Since 2009, Dignity for All has called for a comprehensive, rights-based, and adequately-funded national anti-poverty plan. In 2015, co-leaders of the campaign Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice worked with partner organizations, community and faith groups, and people with lived experience of poverty to draft a model plan with strong targets and a human rights-based approach which was endorsed by over 12,000 people and organizations. In 2017, the DFA network made up over 75 per cent of email submissions to the government’s consultation for the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Deborah Mebude, Citizens for Public Justice, at 613-232-0275 or ac.jpc@bed