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Prime Minister Trudeau instructs minister to commit to poverty relief as top priority

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is encouraged to see that Prime Minister Trudeau has instructed the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, to commit to the relief of poverty on a national scale as a top priority of his mandate.

The creation and implementation of the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy will be a crucial step in ensuring that the needs of the 4.9 million people across Canada living in poverty are met.

“This is an important step by the new government, and one we warmly welcome. The United Nations has been telling the Government of Canada for years now that it must address poverty and homelessness as a pressing human rights concern and a matter of immediacy,” said CWP’s Executive Director and UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Leilani Farha. “Prioritizing poverty within the first month of taking office demonstrates Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to the most vulnerable in Canada.”

In February 2015, the Dignity for All campaign, co-led by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, released a model national anti-poverty plan developed in collaboration with stakeholders across the country. The plan stresses the need for a comprehensive approach to ending poverty in Canada by working in coordination with the provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous Peoples.

“As Minister Duclos develops the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, we hope he will rely on the Dignity for All national plan. It was drafted by leading experts on poverty-related issues, it is informed by Charter values, and presents an excellent starting point from which to work,” Farha stated.

We are pleased to see that the minister of employment, workforce development and labour will play an important role in building the strategy. However, we urge Minister Duclos to consider the comprehensive nature that the strategy must embrace in order to be effective. As such, we encourage Minister Duclos to additionally consult other ministries such as the Ministry on the Status of Women, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and Ministry of Finance, among others.

“It’s a breath of fresh air, and very encouraging that the prime minister has called on Minister Duclos to engage in meaningful consultation with civil society and most importantly those who have been affected by poverty,” stated Harriett McLachlan, CWP’s President.

Formerly known as the National Anti-Poverty Organization, CWP has over 40 years history of advancing the voices and experiences of people living in poverty in policy discussions. It is governed by a board of directors comprised exclusively of people with a lived experience of poverty.

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