Thanks to you, Canada has a Poverty Reduction Strategy!

But the work to end poverty continues.

Yesterday, the federal government launched Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy! After years of calling for federal leadership in addressing poverty in Canada, supporters of CPJ and the Dignity for All campaign have made this happen!

Over a decade ago, when CPJ began mobilizing members and partners around Dignity for All: the campaign to end poverty in Canada, we knew our goal was the creation of a comprehensive, strong, and effective national anti-poverty plan that would show federal leadership in ending poverty. We also knew it would take a lot of work to make it a reality.

Now, we have a strategy we can build on!

This would not have happened without people across the country mobilizing and calling on the federal government to act. So, we want to mark this important moment by first thanking all of you for your dedication.

As far back as 2006, CPJ has been calling on the federal government to create a national anti-poverty plan and was laying the foundation with partner organizations for the creation of a national campaign. In 2009, the Dignity for All campaign, co-lead by CPJ and Canada without Poverty outlined our campaign goals of a national anti-poverty plan that is legislated and sufficiently funded, and we released our own model plan in 2015, following years of consultation.

Our message from the beginning has been one of human dignity. We are pleased to see dignity is a key pillar of the federal strategy.

We do have to recognize, however, that much more work is still needed.

The federal poverty reduction strategy is not as strong as we had hoped. There are no new policy pieces or new funding commitments included. Improvements and further investments will be needed for the plan to reach the target of reducing poverty by 50 per cent by 2030.

We also want to see the strategy respond immediately to urgent needs faced by so many struggling every day, particularly those facing multiple discriminations, such as Indigenous peoples, female-led single parent families, new immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities.

So, we will continue to hold the federal government to account for strengthening this strategy, through strong legislation that is rights-based and includes adequate accountability, and ongoing engagement with anti-poverty organizations and people with lived experience of poverty. We will also push for adequate funding and additional policy commitments to meet, and go beyond, the targets outlined in their plan.

We have achieved something significant with the creation of the federal poverty reduction strategy. Let’s keep working together to make sure it is an effective plan to end poverty in Canada.

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