'The will of the people is to end poverty in Canada and our hope is that with this report eliminating poverty in Canada has become the will of parliament as well.'
Ottawa (19 Nov. 2010) - The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) is encouraged by the release of a long-awaited report, entitled Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada, by the parliamentary committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development.
"The report is based on a three-year study on the federal role in addressing poverty and will be a core element in developing a national strategy to reducing poverty in Canada," says CASW president Darlene MacDonald.
"As a contributor to the report, CASW is encouraged by the collaborative approach of the parliamentarians on the HUMA committee and we hope that this approach will be mirrored in its delivery."
Canada has an estimated five million people living in poverty, including hundreds of thousands who are visibly homeless and millions more without the means to meet basic human needs.
These facts underscore the critical importance of a comprehensive national plan that compliments provincial poverty reduction strategies.
"The will of the people is to end poverty in Canada and our hope is that with this report eliminating poverty in Canada has become the will of parliament as well," MacDonald says.
CASW says the report adds to the momentum in the fight against poverty in Canada, building on the In from the Margins Senate report of 2009 that highlighted the tremendous cost of failing to address poverty, a 2009 unanimous resolution to develop a federal plan to eliminate poverty for all and a June 2010 tabling of a private member's bill entitled the Poverty Elimination Act.
"The Government of Canada has 120 days to respond to this report and with an election on the horizon Canadians expect that each political party will publicly commit to implementing the recommendations of this report," notes MacDonald.
"Shelving the report, as has been the practice of the current and previous governments, is not an option for the ballot box this time around."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
• Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada - pdf