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Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest - March/April 2020

Posted on April 20, 2020
By Elle Richards


Welcome to our modified March/April 2020 edition of the Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest. This edition includes a section related to the initial phase of national COVID-19 news releases, policies and resources. Tune in for more updates in May as policy and responses continue to evolve and we focus on national, provincial/territorial and city updates.

Check out some top sources that are regularly updated on COVID-19 below: FCM’s resource library, the Broadbent Institute’s resource and response centre and the Canadian Urban Institute’s City Watch Canada.

Major National COVID-19 Policy Updates:

Policy Resources and Perspectives related to COVID-19:

Federation for Canadian Municipalities –

Maytree Foundation –

Broadbent Institute –

Centre for Policy Alternatives –

Canadian Urban Institute - Building Urban Resilience

  • City Watch Canada - tracking emergency response measures put in place by local governments
  • City Share Canada – real time platform for resources, tools and stories on how city builders and residents are responding

Homeless Hub –

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness –

Angus Reid –

Other recent policy news:

National Policy:

By Province and Territory: 


British Columbia:


New Brunswick:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador health spending on target but it’s not all good news

Nova Scotia:                                                                                    

  • Province’s minimum wage rising to $12.55 in April
  • Nova Scotia encouraging more doctors to practice in rural areas by providing educational opportunities in rural communities
  • Amendments proposed to Labour Standards Code to address the gender wage gap
  • Largest single investment in homelessness prevention as part of the Action Plan to Address Homelessness and amends Housing Act to gain authority to portable housing benefit to families directly, as part of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy
  • Investments in several programs and supports for seniors to age positively in the community

Northwest Territories:



Prince Edward Island:


  • The province’s minimum wage minimum wage is set to increase to $13.10/hour as of May 1st
  • Quebec reporting success in moving more under-represented people into jobs under the Employment Integration Contract as well as a reduction in social assistance recipients and increase in the employment program
  • Quebec supporting innovative solutions to help local entrepreneurs to succeed amidst changing labour market conditions
  • Grant funding announced for several projects combatting poverty across Quebec, as part of the province’s Social Initiatives Fund


Yukon Territory:

Policy Resources and Perspectives:

Federation for Canadian Municipalities

  • Federal budget an opportunity to build better lives for Canadians with investments in clean public transit, housing affordability and infrastructure for communities
  • Climate adaptation estimated to cost municipalities $5.3 annually


Centre for Policy Alternatives

Homeless Hub

United Way Canada


In the News for Cities:

  • Powell River council has authorized city to complete a regional poverty reduction plan
  • Saskatoon opens housing project for families with disabilities
  • Ottawa funding overhaul for non-profits
  • Toronto mayor acknowledges the complexity of homelessness issue in the city
  • Niagara and Hamilton poverty reduction organizations concerned over reforms to employment services in the regions
  • Oxford council adopts a 100% Housed commitment and pursues strategy to address the full continuum of housing
  • Moncton gets funding from province for affordable housing units for adults with physical disabilities
  • St John's pilot program to provide bus passes for income support recipients

Policy, policy clearing house, Elle Richards

Elle Richards

By Elle Richards

Elle has recently joined the Vibrant Communities team as Manager of Cities, Cities Reducing Poverty. Her experience spans corporate, academic, health and community environments, and working on national, regional and local programs of work, both strategically and operationally. In recent years, Elle has focused her work around issues of food security, poverty and inequalities in health.

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