Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest. The Digest aims to provide you with timely poverty-related policy updates and resources from across Canada.
National Policy Updates:
- As part of its National Housing Strategy, the Government of Canada recently announced details of the $13.2 billion National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), which will support construction of up to 60,000 new affordable units and repair up to 240,000 affordable and community units over the next ten years.
- The Government of Canada plans to amend the Income Tax Act so that grandparents and other caregivers will continue to receive the full Canada Child Benefit.
- The Parliamentary Budget Officer has pegged the cost of a National Guaranteed Basic Income at between $76 and $79.5 billion.
Provincial and Territorial Policy Updates:Alberta:
- On October 1, Alberta’s general minimum wage will rise $1.40 to $15 per hour, which will be the highest minimum wage in Canada.
- The Government of Alberta recently announced that it will soon add 6,000 $25-a-day child care spaces, and 100 additional Early Learning and Child Care Centres. Learn more about the Government of Alberta’s actions to prevent and reduce poverty in the province.
- The Government of British Columbia is currently developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy and plans to release a “What We Heard” report in June 2018. Read the blog on poverty reduction progress in BC from Revelstoke’s Jill Zacharias.
- Read the Manitoba Government’s recent budget paper, Reducing Poverty and Promoting Community Involvement. The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s submission to the poverty reduction strategy included a proposal for a five-year minimum income pilot.
- The Government of New Brunswick’s Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation released its progress report earlier this year on Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan, 2014-2019. A notable highlight from the progress report is a reduction of between 12 and 43% – depending on the measure of low income used – of the number of female lone-parent families living in poverty between 2009 and 2015.
- Applications for the Government of New Brunswick’s $400 Low-Income Seniors’ Benefit are now available. Read the news release.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Budget 2018 includes investments of $56 million for the Seniors’ Benefit and $65 million for the Income Supplement. In 2017, 47,000 seniors received the Seniors’ Benefit and 155,000 families received the Income Supplement. Budget 2018 also included an additional $2 million toward the Rent Supplement Program, and over $10 million for maintenance, repair and upkeep of public housing.
- In its Budget 2018-19, the Government of Nova Scotia announced $4 million for initiatives under the Blueprint to End Poverty. It also announced that it will double the poverty reduction credit from $250 to $500.
- The Halifax Regional Municipality and United Way Halifax have released a community report, Building Poverty Solutions: Ideas for Action, which contains 129 short- and long-term actions that can be taken on poverty.
- Recipients of the Northwest Territories Anti-Poverty Fund were recently announced. For more on the Territorial Anti-Poverty Initiative, read A Strategic Framework toward the Elimination of Poverty in the NWT.
- The Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction recently held its Annual Meeting in Rankin Inlet to discuss the implementation of Nunavut Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
- Ontario recently released its 2017 Poverty Reduction Strategy Annual Report, which includes significant progress on child poverty. The province also announced that it is moving ahead with five new Community Benefit projects, which include poverty reduction measures.
- Ontario’s Basic Income pilot was recently featured on PBS News Hour. The segment featured recipients from Hamilton and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction’s Tom Cooper.
Prince Edward Island:
- Prince Edward Island’s new Poverty Reduction Advisory Council will advise the Government as it develops a Poverty Reduction Action Plan for the province. Read more on the Advisory Council in the blog by Tamarack’s Justin Williams. Read the province’s discussion paper on poverty reduction.
- On May 1, Québec’s minimum wage rose by 75 cents, bringing it up to $12 per hour. The Government of Québec, through its Action Plan to Foster Economic Inclusion and Social Participation, also includes plans to offer a basic income to 84,000 Québecers.
- Saskatchewan’s provincial budget, released in April, includes increased spending on social services and health. As of July 1, however, the province will stop taking applications for the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement, as it plans to replace it by a program co-developed with the federal government. Clients enrolled prior to July 1, 2018 will continue to receive benefits.
- Yukon Territory’s Employment Standards Board is currently conducting a review of Yukon’s minimum wage, which is currently $11.51 per hour. Yukon’s Employment Standards Board is expected to make their recommendations to the Minister of Community Services in Fall 2018. The last review of Yukon’s minimum wage took place in 2012.
- Check out the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition’s infographic on the cost of healthy eating.
Policy Reports and Resources:
- Maytree’s latest Social Assistance Summaries report details the number of people receiving social assistance across Canada. Here are the reports for individual provinces and territories: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory.