This is the September 2018 edition of the Cities Reducing Poverty Policy Digest which aims to provide timely poverty-related policy updates and resources from across Canada.
National Policy Updates:
- On August 21, the Government of Canada released Opportunity For All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy, which commits to reducing poverty by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2050. For a summary of what’s included in the Strategy, as well as a roundup of the reactions to it, check out Alison Homer’s blog.
- Have an opinion on a National Pharmacare program? You can have your say using the online consultation. For more background, read the Discussion Paper.
- The Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group has released its recommendations to the Government of Canada.
- The Government of Canada, which is in the process of modernizing federal labour standards, recently published a What We Heard Report on its consultations.
Updates by Province and Territory:
- Fort Saskatchewan City Council has unanimously approved a low-income transit initiative that will reduce public transit costs by 50%. Read more.
- EndPovertyEdmonton has released its Year One Progress Report 2017-2018, which highlights progress made across its Game Changer areas.
- Vibrant Communities Calgary’s Franco Savoia weighed in, via Global News, on the implications of the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy’s Official Poverty Line.
- A report on the 2018 Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness for Alberta’s seven largest cities has been released. 5,735 people experiencing homelessness were counted. Read an overview of the key findings or the more detailed technical report.
- The BC Government has released its What We Heard About Poverty in BC report, which reflects the input received from an extensive public engagement process. For a summary of the report, check out my blog.
- Co: Here Housing Community, operated by Salsbury Community Society, is taking a community building approach to addressing homelessness in Vancouver. The 26-unit building includes 18 units for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and 8 units for low-to-moderate-income individuals, couples and families. Read more about this initiative, which is supported through municipal, provincial, and federal funding.
- Effective September 1, 2018, BC’s Affordable Child Care Benefit replaced the Child Care Subsidy. The BC Government’s website includes an online calculator to estimate funding and information on how to apply.
- Municipal, provincial, and federal governments celebrated the grand opening of a new 63-unit affordable housing building for seniors in Brandon. The housing project, which includes 48 affordable units and 15 market-rate rental units, will be managed by Western Manitoba Seniors Non-Profit Housing Co-op Ltd. Read the news release.
- The Government of Manitoba has announced the latest Community Places Program grant recipients. Here is the full list of recipients.
- The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba released a report on Winnipeg’s WestEnd Commons, which is an innovative 26-unit social and affordable housing complex.
- New Brunswick’s election campaign has involved several promises related to minimum wage, which is currently $11.25 an hour. The Green Party has pledged an increase to $15.25 an hour by 2022, the Liberal Party has committed to $14 an hour by 2022, the New Democratic Party has promised an increase to $15 an hour by 2022, and the Progressive Conservative Party would establish a framework for predictable annual increases based on inflation and wage growth. The provincial election takes place on September 24, 2018.
- As of September 1, 2018, the New Brunswick’s Employment Standards Act includes regulations to allow workplace leave for those who experience domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence. Read the news release.
- Restigouche CBDC is receiving over $300,000 in federal funding for a 3-year project that will provide sustainable employment opportunities for women who have experienced domestic violence. Learn more.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
- Access the full list of Newfoundland and Labrador poverty reduction initiatives for 2018-2019.
- The Gathering Place is opening a free dentist’s office for those experiencing poverty. The Gathering Place already offers a medical clinic that allows clients to see a doctor, nurse, or social worker. Read the CBC news article.
- At least 165 people were experiencing homelessness in St. John’s on April 11, 2018, when the Point-in-Time count took place. Read the report.
- The Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network is receiving more than $385,000 in provincial funding for a new bus service demonstration project. Through the project, Maritime Bus service will connect Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, and Bridgewater to Halifax. Read more.
- In other transportation-related news, several organizations and municipalities have received funding through the Community Transportation Assistance Program. The funding supports community-based inclusive transportation service for people with disabilities, older adults, and those earning low-income.
- The Government of Canada has announced that it is providing $200,000 to the Native Women’s Association of Northwest Territories (NWA NWT) to carry out a three-year project entitled “Poverty Prevention: Keeping Women Housed”. The project aims to increase the NWA NWT’s capacity, connections, and knowledge to better represent Indigenous women’s needs and voices. Read the backgrounder.
- The Government of Canada has provided Nunavut with $8.5 million, the first of two annual instalments of the federal Gas Tax Fund. The funding will support projects to improve roads, drinking water, and community energy systems. Read more.
- The Government of Nunavut is holding territory-wide consultations to generate ideas for improving the education system. Read more about the consultations.
- A report on children’s health finds that infant mortality rates in Nunavut are three times the national average.
- The Ontario Government has announced that it will end the Basic Income Pilot on March 31, 2019. The plan to end the pilot was initially mentioned as part of the Government’s 100-day review of social assistance.
- In a joint letter, mayors of the four communities involved in the Basic Income Pilot have asked the federal government to assume oversight of the Pilot. Read the latest efforts to save the pilot from the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.
- Chatham-Kent has adopted new rules to regulate the payday loan industry. The number of lenders will be capped at six, licensing fees will be established, and lenders will be required to provide additional information to customers. Read the Chatham Daily News, which quotes Phillip Mock of the Chatham-Kent Prosperity Roundtable.
Prince Edward Island:
- The PEI Government has developed a provincial Housing Action Plan, which includes a commitment to create 1000 new affordable units over four years.
- It is expected that the PEI Government will release its Poverty Reduction Action Plan sometime this Fall. Here are the Preliminary Findings from PEI’s Public Engagement Activities.
- The Cote-des-Neiges/NDG Roundtable on Poverty Reduction tabled a 5-year action plan on poverty to the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The plan, which will come into effect in April 2019, address housing, transportation, income and food security. Proposals include requiring developers to make 15% of new housing units affordable and providing a 40% discount on public transit for those earning low-income. Read the Global News story.
- Québec solidaire has said that, if elected, it would launch a basic income pilot in its first term and expand it throughout Québec in its second term. Quebecers go to the polls on October 1.
- As part of the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, the Government of Saskatchewan has allocated 447 licensed child care centre spaces across Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Beauval, and Vonda. Read more.
- Construction has begun on new housing projects in Melfort, North Battleford, and Prince Albert. The projects are part of the National Housing Strategy.
- The Saskatoon Tribal Council’s Child and Family Services Agency will receive more than $50 million over 5 years from the federal government. The funding will go toward developing prevention services and programs. Read the news release.
- The results of Whitehorse’s 2018 Point-in-Time Count show that at least 195 people experienced homelessness on April 17, 2018, when the count took place. Access the report.
- Selkirk First Nation, Minto Explorations Ltd. and the Government of Yukon have released the 2015 Minto Mine Socio-Economic Monitoring Program Annual Report. The report provides socio-economic and socio-cultural information collected since the mine’s inception in 2005. Read the executive summary.
- The Canadian Poverty Institute is researching how the new economy in Canada is impacting poverty. To help with this research, organizations and companies are being asked to fill out a brief (5-10 minute) survey.
- Advocates have penned an open letter, signed by over 170 individuals and organizations, calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to legislate the right to housing. Read more.
- Canada Without Poverty has created a template letter for the National Pharmacare Consultation, which is accepting submissions until September 28, 2018. The Mowat Centre has released a report on the intergovernmental implications of a National Pharmacare Program.
- The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary has compared 2010 and 2016 shelter, food and energy consumption rates by household income quintile. Check out the resource.
- Maytree has released a policy brief on why lone-parent poverty rates are so high and what can be done.
- Jennifer Laidley and Michael Mendelson weigh in on the implications of the Ontario Government’s 100-day review of social assistance.
- Several advocacy groups have released a report on the importance of extending the Canada Child Benefit to non-permanent residents.
- The University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health has written the “Raising Canada” Report, developed for Children First Canada, on the health and well-being of Canadian children.
- UC Berkeley’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics has released a report showing that minimum wage increases in six U.S. cities have not led to negative employment effects within the foodservice industry.