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Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest: March 2019

Posted on March 17, 2019
By Kirsti Battista

This is the March 2019 edition of the Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest,Parliament-Hill-718135-edited-234996-edited which aims to provide you with timely poverty-related policy updates and resources from across Canada.

Key highlights include significant federal and provincial achievements in poverty reduction based on data released by Statistics Canada from the 2017 Canadian Income Survey, Manitoba’s renewed poverty reduction strategy, and British Columbia’s 2019 budget investments for poverty reduction.

National Policy Updates:

  • On March 7th, ESDC reported that Canada’s current poverty rate of 9.5 percent is the lowest in history based on Canada’s Official Poverty Line. With the help of programs such as the Canada Child Benefit and the top-up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement, there were 825,000 fewer Canadians living in poverty in 2017 than there were in 2015.

Updates by Province and Territory:


  • On Feb 27, the Government of Alberta issued a release that Stats Canada figures show that the child poverty rate dropped by 50 per cent between 2015 and 2017 in Alberta, from 10 per cent to five per cent, thanks to the Alberta Child Benefit and other poverty-reduction strategies.

British Columbia:

  • Budget 2019 is creating opportunities for all British Columbians by delivering a new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit for kids up to the age of 18, removing interest from B.C. student loans, investing in a homelessness action plan, increasing social assistance rates and more.


New Brunswick:

  • The Government of New Brunswick’s Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation (ESIC) has launched public consultations from February-April 2019 to update their poverty reduction strategy, Overcoming Poverty Together The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Nova Scotia:

  • Employment in Nova Scotia reached a new high of 466,500 this February according to Statistics Canada. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell to 6.4 per cent, its lowest recorded level since modern labour force surveys began in 1976.
  • Children and families will have improved access to child care from a $2.4 million investment that will create more than 750 new spaces. Funding for these spaces and other investments come from a three-year, $35 million early learning and child care funding agreement with the federal government that was signed in January 2018.

Northwest Territories:

  • National Housing Strategy Co-Investment funding “carve off” of $60 million has the potential to bring in significant investments help address all aspects of housing in the Northwest Territories, from homelessness to affordable homeownership.



Prince Edward Island:

  • The provincial and federal governments are jointly making a multi-million dollar investment to construct new supportive housing units in Charlottetown.


  • Employment rose by 14,900 in Quebec (+ 0.3%) in February 2019 compared to January 2019. The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point and fixed at 5.3%.


  • Nearly 130 more licensed child care centre spaces have been allocated in Saskatoon, Delisle, Regina, Moose Jaw and Humboldt. Funding is being provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement.

Yukon Territory:

  • Budget 2019 focuses on affordable housing, effective health and social services, quality education, and reliable community infrastructure.

The Latest Policy Resources and Perspectives:

Cities Reducing Poverty, policy clearing house

Kirsti Battista

By Kirsti Battista

Kirsti works with the VC team as the Manager of the Cities Reducing Poverty initiative. Previous to this position she was a Community Animator for the Tamarack CCI learning community and the coordinator of Tamarack's multi-day learning events such as Champions for Change, Evaluating Community Impact and the first ever Collective Impact Summit.

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