Policy Articles: Welfare & Social Issues: Poverty
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.
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.
Michael Mendelson studies the child benefits provided by the federal government to Canadian families.
Even though there have been positive signs in the Manitoban economy, this paper cautions that problems lie ahead: a) a growing gap between rich and poor; b) the inequality between women and men in income; c) poor environmental policy; d) a growing concern for farmers; e) a failing health care system; and f) a crumbling urban infrastructure.
Like other communities in the Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) project, residents of Spryfield are cognizant of the high level of poverty, large proportion of lone-parent families, and rising school dropout rates in their community.
In this brief article Anne Makhoul describes Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC), a 14-month “strategic research and learning project that will assess how locally-driven revitalization strategies can help citizens build strong, sustainable neighbourhoods.”
In her article Anne Makhoul characterizes Scarborough Village as an area of high-rise apartment buildings, large roadways, few amenities, and a community inhabited by a culturally diverse, multilingual population.
This paper explores the notion of wage supplementation in Canada as a solution to the high levels of failure to reach the poverty-income line (as defined by Statistics Canada).
Andrew Jackson approaches the topic of asset-based social policies as an “informed skeptic.”
In Building on Our Strengths: Inner-city Priorities for a Renewed Tri-Level Development Agreement, Jim Silver, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, proposes a new inner-city funding agreement for Winnipeg. Silver’s argument draws upon interviews with representatives from 100 community-based, inner-city organizations, and is based upon what he sees as real gains achieved through the past agreement in confronting inner- city poverty. According to Silver, these gains ought to be sustained through the establishment of a new tri-level funding agreement for Winnipeg.
Ken Battle considers the federal Conservative Party’s child tax deduction proposal to be “retrograde and regressive.”
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.
To encourage innovative, technology-based learning, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) created the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) in 1996. In this community story Doug Donaldson and Anne Docherty describe how they secured OLT funds for a three-year action research project.
Sherri Torjman explores how culture and recreation contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This paper is part of a series on Vibrant Communities, a pan-Canadian initiative that seeks local solutions for poverty reduction.
While acknowledging that welfare rates in British Columbia have been lowering since 1995, Wallace, Klein and Reitsma-Street suggest that while the BC government’s discriminatory policy changes were designed to create reduction, many changes, including eligibility rules and application processes, dealt with superficial issues such as how people access welfare.
Armine Yalnizyan authors this yearly report from Social Watch, a civil society research and monitoring initiative developed to examine the work of governments in eradicating poverty and reducing inequality.
Sherri Torjman presented this paper at the International Conference on Urban Health held in Boston in October 2004. She addressed the issue of urban health and disenfranchised groups from the perspective of the Vibrant Communities project.
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.
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.
This alternative Saskatchewan budget, presented by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, focuses on three areas that the Centre considers undervalued: economic security, health services, and education.
This paper discusses the lessons learned during the Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) project. According to Cheryl Gorman, the project was able to broadly share information on substantive policies, the “systems of support” approach to strengthening neighbourhoods, and relationship-building.
This report explores the issue of housing policy and the exclusion of those most in need. The current homelessness situation and housing policy in Canada are reviewed. A collaborative effort involving all three levels of government is advocated as the best solution to the issue of homelessness in Canadian society.
In light of government suggestions to change the way the Canadian government measures poverty, by switching to a Market Basket Measure, the National Council of Welfare studies the practical effects of and the poverty line system and potential changes. Specifically the report looks at low-income people in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The study ends with a number of recommendations, not only for changes to welfare, but also for changes to affordable housing, child care, treatment of people with disabilities, and for families with children.
Le Chantier de revitalisation urbane et sociale, a task force for urban and social renewal, was launched in March 2004 in Saint-Michel, a neighbourhood of Montreal.
In this paper Sherri Torjman and Eric Leviten-Reid explore the role of learning and evaluation in community-based poverty reduction.