On Friday, June 21, the Poverty Reduction Act, legislating the federal poverty reduction strategy (PRS), was entrenched in law.
For the past decade, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and the Dignity for All campaign have called for a national anti-poverty strategy for Canada that is comprehensive, rights-based, legislated and fully funded.
“It is an important step forward for the federal poverty reduction strategy to see this legislation pass,” states Darlene O’Leary, CPJ’s socio-economic policy analyst. “Legislation of the strategy has been a key demand of our campaign from the very beginning.”
Following the launch of the PRS in August 2018, Dignity for All’s Chew on This! campaign pushed for strengthening the strategy through immediate legislation and funding in Budget 2019.
When legislation was tabled in November 2018, CPJ and Dignity for All were asked to submit our recommendations on the legislation. This resulted in our open letter to Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, jointly sponsored by CPJ, Canada Without Poverty, and Campaign 2000, and signed by over 500 organizations and individuals. Following this, CPJ was invited to present as a witness in both the Finance Committee and Senate Social Affairs Committee studies of the Poverty Reduction Act, which was included in the Budget Implementation Act.
While many of the open letter’s recommendations for amendments were directed to regulations around implementing the PRS, and can still be acted on, others did not end up included in the legislation, particularly those involving the new official poverty line and the Advisory Council. However, the recommendation to reference international conventions that commit Canada to human rights obligations was included.
“While the legislation could have been improved, we plan to continue our efforts to call for strong regulations and accountability in the implementation of Canada’s PRS, particularly ensuring that the government makes poverty eradication the goal moving forward,” states O’Leary.
Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is a national organization that promotes public justice in Canada by shaping key policy debates through research and analysis, publishing and public dialogue. CPJ encourages citizens, leaders in society and governments to support policies and practices that reflect God’s call for love, justice and the flourishing of creation. To learn more, or become a member, visit cpj.ca.
For more information, contact Deb Mebude at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-232-0275 x 225.