Speech Article from  Employment and Social Development Canada

Launch of online consultations and announcement of call for nominations for the advisory committee for the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy

February 13, 2017, Ottawa, Ontario

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Thank you for being here today.

Our government made it a priority to strengthen the middle class and help low-income Canadians working hard to join it.

The fight against poverty is central to this goal.

Poverty affects more than 3 million Canadians—about one in ten people.

Poverty is a complex problem that affects people in different ways and to varying degrees. For some, poverty is temporary and is associated with a one-time life event, such as the loss of a job. For others, it can last for a long time due to a variety of obstacles that they are facing. And in some cases, the challenges are so serious that poverty can be passed from parent to child.

For all of these reasons, governments must address both the causes and the consequences of poverty.

As Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, I have been given the mandate of developing a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, the first ever in the history of our nation.

Therefore, I am happy to announce today the launch of two important initiatives that will support that Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy: a national consultation process and the implementation of a ministerial advisory committee on poverty.

These two initiatives will provide invaluable support in developing the Strategy.

Through the consultation process, Canadians will have the chance to share their opinions and their suggestions for more effectively tackling poverty. They can do this through an online consultation, which will include discussion forums.

We are also planning consultations with provinces and territories, as well as roundtables with businesses, community organizations, academic experts and Canadians who have lived or are living in poverty.

We will also collaborate with Indigenous organizations to ensure that the voices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people are heard.

For the second initiative—the ministerial advisory committee on poverty—we are launching a call for nominations today to invite interested Canadians with experience in poverty and poverty reduction to apply to participate in this advisory committee.

The committee will help identify the best ideas resulting from the public consultations and will also provide expertise and independent advice to the Minister.

I am looking forward to receiving feedback from all these Canadians, especially from those who have knowledge—whether direct or indirect—of poverty. Their point of view will be invaluable.

In addition to these two initiatives, a third measure is also key to support the Strategy.

The Tackling Poverty Together project, announced in September 2016, is building case studies from six Canadian communities affected by poverty and working together to alleviate it.

The study is underway in Saint John, New Brunswick, and will soon reach out to the Regent Park neighbourhood in Toronto as well as Winnipeg; Trois-Rivières, Quebec; Tisdale, Saskatchewan; and Yellowknife. 

These three initiatives will allow us to develop a solid and effective strategy that will support the needs of Canadians living in poverty and those of the organizations that support them.

It goes without saying that it is by working in collaboration with all our partners, including the provinces and territories, that we can most effectively accomplish our goal for the good of all Canadians.

Thank you. I will now take your questions.


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