This is the November 2018 edition of the Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest, which aims to provide you with timely poverty-related policy updates and resources from across Canada.
Key highlights include the tabling of poverty reduction legislation at the federal level and in BC.
National Policy Updates:
- On November 6, the Government of Canada tabled the Poverty Reduction Act, which would entrench into legislation the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy’s targets, Canada’s Official Poverty Line, and an arms-length National Advisory Council on Poverty.
- Statistics Canada is consulting with Canadians on the Market Basket Measure, which will be used as Canada’s first official poverty line.
- Minister Duclos has released new details on Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, which aims to reduce chronic homelessness by 50% over 10 years.
Updates by Province and Territory:
- On October 1, Alberta’s Minimum Wage rose to $15 an hour, making it the province with the highest minimum wage in Canada.
- The Alberta Government has tabled legislation that would boost the rates for Alberta’s Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program, index it to inflation, and increase the asset limit to access to the AISH child allowance.
- BC’s new Poverty Reduction Strategy Act commits the BC Government to reduce the province’s overall poverty rate by 25% and child poverty rate by 50% in the next five years. The provincial strategy will be released by March 31, 2019. Read the news release.
- The BC Government is going ahead with 53 prototype projects to deliver child care that will cost families no more than $200 per month per child. Roughly 2,500 children are expected to benefit from the projects.
- Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who was re-elected on October 24, had pledged during the campaign to create a low-income transit pass. The CCPA Manitoba offers commentary on how to make this initiative work.
- The Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council’s TRC 92: Youth Employment initiative was recently featured in a Winnipeg Free Press article.
- A University of New Brunswick PhD student has received $25,000, through Enterprise St. John’s Smart and Connected Data Project’s Innovation Challenge, to assist food banks with resource and data management. Read more.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
- On November 1, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador eliminated liquid asset testing for those applying for long-term care and community supports. Starting February 1, 2019, income testing will be expanded to all services offered by the regional health authorities. Read more about these changes.
- Common Front NL has launched a $15 and Fairness campaign. The province’s minimum wage is currently $11.15 an hour.
- The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Mobile Food Market, currently operating in 12 sites, received $250,000 to expand the program. The travelling food market brings healthy, high-quality, affordable food to those facing barriers to accessing fresh food. Read the Government of Nova Scotia’s news release.
- The 6th Northwest Territories Anti-Poverty Roundtable was held November 6-7 in Hay River. Read the agenda.
- Alternatives North has released its NWT Poverty Update, which shows a 19% increase in the number of households on income assistance between 2009 and 2016.
- The Nunavut Government has announced a property tax relief program for people 65 or older or with a disability.
- The Nunavut Housing Corporation held a roundtable with industry in September to discuss solutions to the housing crisis.
- The Ontario Government’s proposed Making Ontario Open for Business Act is set to reverse several amendments that were contained in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148). These include cancelling the planned minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, which would have taken effect in 2019. Read more.
Prince Edward Island:
- The PEI Government announced several new initiatives related to the Housing Action Plan, including the funding of more than 175 new affordable housing units.
- The Government of PEI recently announced child-care subsidy increases that will benefit more than 200 children. Read more.
- Organizers of the Night of the Homeless, held in 40 cities across Québec, called on Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government to tackle poverty and homelessness. Read the Montreal Gazette article.
- Edwards Manor, a new 23-unit affordable and supportive housing project, has opened in Saskatoon to address chronic and episodic homelessness.
- The Yukon Housing Corporation’s rent supplement program will receive $200,000 more from the Government of Canada’s $2.4 million Northern Housing Fund. Read the release.
- The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition held several events for Poverty and Homelessness Action Week (October 15-19). The theme was “Lived Experience, What’s YOUR Story?”
The Latest Policy Resources and Perspectives:
- Maytree’s Welfare in Canada, 2017 report is now available. The report explores the total incomes available to those relying on social assistance.
- See photos and updates from Dignity for All’s 2018 Chew on This! campaign, which was held on October 17 to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
- Read Noah Zon’s take on the federal Poverty Reduction Act in Policy Options.
- BC Food Systems Network has released Working with Local Government on Food Policy: A Toolkit for Civil Society.