Poverty report charts COVID escape route for marginalized groups

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(ANNews) – The recently released 2021 report of the National Poverty Advisory Council shows a significant decrease in poverty rates, but the report warns that this is based on data from 2015 to 2019 and therefore does not take into account the impacts of COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE

The report notes that the poverty rate fell from 14.5% in 2015 to 10.1% in 2019, a reduction of 30% over four years.

However, “the aggregate number masks some of the deep inequalities that exist for low-income Canadians,” the report says.

“Certain populations, including Black Canadians, racialized Canadians, immigrants, refugees, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ people, all face higher rates of poverty. ”

Despite the disproportionate impact of COVID on racialized people, from infection rates to job losses and the effects of home learning, the pandemic “presents a silver lining.”

“It has shown that many of our systems don’t work for everyone,” the report notes.

“It created a lot of empathy and an opportunity to do things differently. As we move on from pandemic life, it is essential that we equitably include those who have been most affected in recovery efforts. ”

The summary of the report includes five recommendations.

The first is to promote Indigenous prosperity through all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement by taking immediate action to implement relevant Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and Government of Canada implementing all recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. and Girls.

Second, the report recommends that the government begin collecting data on women and gender equity, indigenous heritage, immigration / refugee status, race / ethnicity, disability, past or current institutionalization, and sexual orientation and gender identity, with the overarching goal of using this disaggregated data. data to reduce poverty by 50 percent among these groups by 2030 through programs, supports and benefits.

It also recommends that various levels of government introduce mechanisms for community feedback, especially from people who have lived in poverty, for various services and policies aimed at reducing poverty, while automatically enrolling those eligible for programs. benefits.

The report calls on the government to implement all the support systems to which it is already committed, including the pan-Canadian early learning and child care system, the Canada Disability Benefit, the Canada Child Benefit. workers and the National Housing Strategy, and to increase investment in social programs.

Finally, he calls on the federal government to work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to “ensure a coordinated and strong social safety net in Canada by collectively providing income support that is at least the official poverty line in Canada”, by partly by increasing access to employment insurance and paid sick leave for the self-employed, part-time and for odd jobs.

The National Poverty Advisory Council was created by the federal Liberals in 2019 with the passage of its Poverty Reduction Act, which also enshrined an official poverty line “based on the costs of a typical basket of goods and services that Canadian families use in real life. “in the law.

Board Chair Scott MacAfee, a New Brunswick government bureaucrat, noted in a press release announcing the release of the report that the COVID crisis has created “a great social upheaval.”

“For too long, deeply rooted racial, cultural and economic injustices have allowed far too many people to persist in poverty. As we navigate the ongoing global pandemic, we have the opportunity to choose fairness, dignity and justice, ”MacAfee said.

Karina Gould, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said in the same statement that the report “will help inform” government policy for the future.

“This report is encouraging, but we know there is still work to be done. We will continue to work hard to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance to succeed and to build a stronger and more inclusive Canada for everyone, ”said Gould.


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