Backgrounder: Poverty


Poverty is a complex issue that affects more than 3 million Canadians. That means that 1.9 million families struggle to make ends meet.

The Government of Canada is committed to developing a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy to reduce poverty and improve the economic well-being of all Canadian families so that they can have a real and fair chance to succeed.

To ensure that the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy reflects the diversity of needs and approaches throughout the country, we are undertaking the following activities.

Tackling Poverty Together

The Tackling Poverty Together Project is an in-depth case study of six communities across Canada: Saint John, New Brunswick; Regent Park(Toronto), Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Tisdale, Saskatchewan; Trois-Rivières, Québec; and; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. It aims to assess the impact of poverty reduction programs locally in communities that have identified poverty as an issue, while learning directly from people who know first-hand what it’s like to live in poverty.  The project involves gathering qualitative and quantitative information on the impact of government programs on those living in poverty, barriers to accessing the programs, and ideas to improve existing programs.

Consultations on a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy

The Government of Canada has launched an engagement website where interested individuals and organizations can provide their input and opinions on Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Additionally, Minister Duclos will hold discussion forums and online town halls to hear what Canadians have to say.         

The online engagement, to be held until June 2017, will be complemented by in-person roundtables with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous organizations, businesses, community organizations, academic experts and Canadians who have experienced poverty.

The Government welcomes all input on the ways to reduce poverty and its impacts, including potential targets, timelines, and indicators for the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Advisory Committee on Poverty

The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Poverty will contribute to the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy by complementing the public consultations and taking that work a step further. One of the Committee’s key roles will be to act as a sounding board to help test ideas that are generated in the public consultations process.

The Committee’s work will build on the consultations by providing independent advice on how to identify priority areas of action, how to replicate innovative international and domestic programs in Canada and at a national level, and how to align federal government actions to reduce poverty with those of the provinces and territories.

The Committee will operate for one year. Members will be representative of Canada’s diversity and will be selected from five key areas, including academia, international expertise, service delivery, business, and persons with a lived experience of poverty.

The Committee members will be selected through a public call for nominations process. The nomination period was from February 13 to March 27, 2017. Through this process, the Government of Canada invited interested individuals who have experience with poverty and poverty reduction to apply for the ministerial advisory committee on poverty.

Other Recent Government of Canada initiatives to support Poverty Reduction

The Government of Canada also offers many programs that play a key role in helping Canadians living in, or at risk of living in poverty, including: the Canada Child Benefit, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy; the Canada Learning Bond and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The Government also provides funding for social housing through the Investment in Affordable Housing program and additional direct funding to First Nation communities.

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