Vancouver, British Columbia – “From our first day in office, our government has taken action to reduce poverty and help more Canadians join the middle class. Programs like the Canada Child Benefit, the National Housing Strategy and the increase to Old Age Security are having a real and meaningful impact on those working hard to make ends meet. Today’s announcement of Canada’s first-ever Poverty Reduction Strategy, with its commitments to reduce poverty by 50 percent, shows that our government is committed to helping grow the middle class even further,” stated Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
In a country as prosperous as Canada, all Canadians should have a real and fair chance to succeed. The Government of Canada is focused on growth that benefits all Canadians and on investments that help grow the middle class and reduce poverty. Since 2015, $22 billion has been invested, and about 650,000 Canadians will have been lifted out of poverty by 2019.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, launched Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy, which targets a 20 percent reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50 percent reduction in poverty by 2030. The Strategy builds on the Government of Canada’s significant investments since 2015. These include the Canada Child Benefit, the Canada Workers Benefit, the National Housing Strategy and the increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Restoring the eligibility age for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits from 67 to 65 helped an additional 100,000 Canadians from falling into poverty.
Opportunity for All is a plan for a concerted, coordinated fight against poverty on multiple fronts. It is the Government’s vision for Canada as a world leader in the eradication of poverty and represents a whole‑of‑society approach to tackling poverty, which means everyone has a role to play.
This initiative is a direct result of extensive engagement with Canadians across the country and introduces:
- Canada’s official measure of poverty;
- concrete poverty reduction targets; and
- a National Advisory Council on Poverty.
The legislation is proposed for introduction as early as possible in Parliament that would entrench Canada’s Official Poverty Line, the poverty reduction targets and the National Advisory Council on Poverty in law. Furthermore, the Government’s progress toward meeting the targets every year will be published in an annual report and tabled in Parliament every year.
- In 2015, there were 4.2 million Canadians living in poverty, representing 1 in 8 Canadians or 12.1 percent. By 2016, this number dropped to 3.7 million Canadians, a decrease of half a million people.
- The What we heard about poverty so far report, a summary of the feedback gathered during the engagement process that took place with Canadians, including people with lived experience of poverty, community- and national-level organizations, Indigenous partners as well as provinces and territories, was released on February 20, 2018.