The Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) appointed twelve members to its new Poverty Reduction Advisory Council in February of 2018. The council is now getting to work to deliver a poverty reduction plan to the government for October.
In developing their advisory council, the Province sought to create a membership with a broad range of perspectives. Specifically, the Province looked for individuals who could speak from at least one of the following perspectives: lived experience of poverty or social exclusion, disability, business or employer, service providers, Indigenous, Acadian or francophone, academic or newcomer. The final committee has strong representation from each of these groups.
The inclusion of individuals representing a diversity of perspectives reflects the government’s understanding that significantly reducing poverty requires more than just government action. Partners using a multi-sectoral approach including service providers, business leaders and governments must work together for a poverty reduction strategy to succeed.
Moving forward, the Poverty Reduction Advisory Council in PEI will be working to develop an action plan that addresses housing, food, education, employment, community capacity and health, which reflect several identified game-changers in poverty reduction. By focusing on these six priorities, they can strategically achieve impacts in poverty far beyond these policy areas, by initiating a series of positive cascading effects.
The poverty-reduction action plan will also build on existing programs:
- Minimum wage increase
- School breakfast program increases
- Social Assistance Food Rates and Personal Comfort increases
- Seniors and low-income home repairs program
- Income tax changes
- Revised Generic Drug and Catastrophic Drug Programs
These positive steps from the Province of Prince Edward Island are a reflection of the growing movement in Canada to reduce poverty. As Vibrant Communities’ CEO, Paul Born, mentioned in his reflection at the end of 2017, as more and more governments and communities take steps to address the root causes of poverty, it is really starting to look like Canada can end economic poverty in this lifetime.