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Home Policy Articles: Children & Family: Poverty


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A Law Against Poverty: Québec’s New Approach to Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion popular

This article by Alain Noël examines Québec’s new Anti-Poverty Law (bill 112), which he considers moves Québec’s “social policy agenda farther from that of its neighbours and closer to the preoccupations of European countries.” He demonstrates that it is a law “drafted from below”, in that the basic framework it proposes originated not from government offices but from community groups and social actors. Noël then frames the poverty question into statistical terms, arguing that Statistics Canada’s poverty rates, which traditionally showed Québec to be the most poverty-plagued province in Canada, are misleading; by taking into account cost of living indicators, he shows, Québec and Ontario’s poverty rates are found to be more or less equal. Québec’s situation is thus comparable to that of the rest of Canada.

A Life-Course Approach to Social Policy Analysis: A Proposed Framework popular

This discussion paper provides a framework for social policy based on a hypothetical person ('Olivia') whose life experience are typical of many Canadians. This new framework would consist of social policy focused on individuals rather than groups of individuals. The paper explains that this required a recognition of social capital and its impacts on life, the realities of the market for different individuals and the importance of agencies that effect Canadian's lives. It is suggested that such a framework be used to inform social policy.

Assessing Family Policy in Canada: A New Deal for Families and Children popular

Lefebvre and Merrigan begin their report by pointing out that most children in Canada are emotionally, physically, and socially healthy, yet they suggest there are some disturbing trends relating to children in Canada. Recent reports have revealed that child abuse and neglect have increased, juvenile crime is rising, children are consuming more alcohol and drugs than previous generations, and suicide rates are rising.

Combatting the Social Exclusion of At-Risk Groups popular

This paper deals with the concept of social exclusion as it is linked to poverty in Canada. The author, Meyer Burstein, identifies the situations of 'at-risk' groups and explains why their plight may be more difficult to escape than others living in poverty. Burstein also considers innovative methods that have been used to help socially excluded groups abroad and considers factors that must be included in assisting the socially excluded.

Measuring child benefits: Measuring child poverty popular

Michael Mendelson studies the child benefits provided by the federal government to Canadian families.

Redesigning the “Welfare Mix” for Families: Policy Challenges popular

In this paper, Jane Jenson examines the welfare mix in Canada: the policies and programs adopted by the Canadian government in response to the challenges of restructured labour markets, deepening poverty, economic marginalization and social exclusion, changing family patterns, an ageing society, and the evolution to a knowledge-based economy. Jenson suggests the concept of welfare goes beyond social assistance; according to Jenson, the four sources of welfare include market income, family resources, community resources, and government assistance.

A World Fit for Children

In this commentary, Sherri Torjman describes what a world fit for children entails. She highlights the vision of Senator Landon Pearson who, she contends, has worked tirelessly for many years to create such a world.

Asset-Based Social Policies – A "New Idea" Whose Time Has Come?

Andrew Jackson approaches the topic of asset-based social policies as an “informed skeptic.”

Behind the Issues: Ontario 2003 - Investing in quality child care

The CCPA examines child and family poverty in Ontario, with a specific focus on child-care programs. It argues the next provincial government must ensure that all families can share in the province’s collective prosperity; this includes having access to child care so that parents can work.

COEP: Brazilian organizations

In this international community story, Ann Simpson discusses COEP – the Comitê de Entidades no Combate à Fome e Pela Vida (“Committee of entities Against Hunger and For Life”) – a Brazilian network that mobilizes organizations to combat hunger and poverty.

Exploring the Promise of Asset-Based Social Policies: Reviewing Evidence from Research and Practice

This paper explores the potential benefits of polices which aim to increase assets for low income earners. The paper includes discussions of asset-based polices, the challenges they entail and future directions for research in the area. Throughout the paper consideration of poverty reduction and social exclusion are a focus.

Financial Capability and Poverty

This discussion paper considers the connection between exclusion and poverty in light of financial literacy and financial capability. First, these components are defined as including an understanding of the financial basics, confidence in that knowledge and the ability to act fiscally responsible. These traits are learned and therefore those who are excluded from mainstream society are less likely to acquire such knowledge. Naturally the report make the connection between poetry and exclusion, and exclusion and deepening poverty.

Learning and Evaluation for Poverty Reduction

This paper is the sixth in a series devoted to finding community level solutions to the problem of poverty. Sherri Torjman considers community learning and how it can improve the local effects of this initiative.

Lifting the Boats: Policies to Make Work Pay

This research paper by Ron Saunders is concerned with the persistence of low wages (below $10/ hour) for a sixth of the population despite a growing economy in Canada. Saunders identifies instruments that would effectively allow all people to benefit from a "rising economic tide." Suggestions include raising minimum wage as well as improved benefits for low wage and part time workers and special provisions for disadvantaged groups.

Measuring child benefits: Measuring child poverty

This report by Michael Mendelson seeks to determine what child poverty is as well as what qualifies as an adequate child benefit.

Poverty and Exclusion: Normative Approaches to Policy Research

This paper by Pearl Eliadis examines the approaches that have been taken to reduce poverty and ultimately finds them insufficient due to their focus on legal legitimacy rather than practical outcome. Eliadis argues that this approach comes from a reliance on old methods that have lost their effectiveness. She points to many changes in both the legal strength of rights and the way in which Canadians view poverty. Essentially, Eliadis suggests that government policy keep up to the changes seen in Canadian mentality.

Promises to Keep: The Nova Scotia Child Poverty Report Card 2003 (1989-2001)

Raven and Frank provide key statistics and promote discussion regarding what can be done about child and family poverty in a nation as wealthy as Canada. The authors focus on child poverty in Nova Scotia, where, they point out, the increase in child poverty is greater than the average increase across provinces.

Quebec’s Relative Poverty

In this economic note, Norma Kozhaya discusses Quebec’s relative poverty compared to other Canadian provinces and US states.

Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative: What We Heard

In December 1999 the federal government created the National Homelessness Initiative (NHI), a $753 million program aimed at helping communities confront the problem of homelessness in Canada. The cornerstone of the NHI is the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), designed to provide targeted funding to community organizations to help them alleviate homelessness at the local level.

The Key to Tackling Child Poverty: Income Supports to Meet Their Needs and Assets to Support Their Future

In 1989, the House of Commons unanimously agreed to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. However, as Jennifer Robson-Haddow points out, approximately 15.6 percent of Canadian children live in poverty (2001 census) and the gap between rich and poor Canadians is widening.

The Nova Scotia Child Poverty Report Card: 1989-2004

This report assesses the trends in child poverty in Nova Scotia over the course of a five-year period (1989-2004), and examines the impact of the National Child Benefit Program that was established in 1998.

The Nova Social Child Poverty Report Card 2005: 1989 - 2003

In this brief study Pauline Raven and Lesley Frank review the state of child poverty in Nova Scotia between 1989 and 2003. The authors contend these studies are necessary, and should be provided by either the provincial or federal government.

The Opportunity and Challenge of Diversity: A Role for Social Capital?

This group of papers was used to guide discussions at an international conference on the use of social capital as a policy tool. The papers in this document include: "Social Capital: Building a Foundation for Research and Policy Development" by Robert Judge, "Social Capital and Economic Outcomes for Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities" by Peter Li, " The Role of Cities in Immigrant Integration" by Brian Ray, "Social Capital and the Political Integration of Immigrants" by Jean Tillie, and "Immigration and Social Capital: Issue Paper" by John Helliwell.