On October 17, food bank workers and anti-poverty advocates are joining together to call for a federal anti-poverty plan. Instead of handing out a free lunch, volunteers are brown bagging their call to action.
Ottawa (17 Oct. 2014) — October 17th marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On this day, people from across Canada will use their lunchtime to draw attention to the 833,000 Canadians who have to rely on food banks each month to put food on their tables.
As part of Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada, volunteers at ChewOnThis! events are asking people across Canada to join the strong call for a federal plan to address poverty by simply going online to www.ChewOnThis.ca. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a supporter of this national day of action.
Eliminating poverty can be done
ChewOnThis! volunteers will be handing out lunch bags in more than 35 cities — from Halifax to Abbotsford — and including various sites in Ottawa, Parliament Hill, and Toronto’s downtown core. They will be calling for the federal government to take a proactive approach to eliminating poverty and hunger for the millions struggling to make ends meet.
Campaign co-organizers, Citizens for Public Justice, will issue “The Burden of Poverty: A snapshot of poverty across Canada” on October 17, which recommends the adoption of a national poverty action plan.
Governments need to make it a priority
The executive director of Citizens for Public Justice, Joe Gunn, states: “Statistics show that when the federal government makes it a priority, poverty can be reduced. We need a comprehensive poverty plan. The House of Commons has called for one, the Senate has called for one, and the United Nations has called for one, but we haven’t seen any action.”
Leilani Farha, executive director of Canada Without Poverty, and recently appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to housing says that charity cannot replace justice. “Hunger in Canada is more than just a food issue. It's about social and economic arrangements in this country — the result of a series of government decisions,” she says. “When people are going hungry in a land of plenty, you have a human rights problem on your hands. All levels of government have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure the right to an adequate standard of living for the most vulnerable populations in Canada. It’s time we had a plan.”
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. NUPGENUPGE