Spread the word: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Add your voice to ChewOnThis! and support a the creation of a federal anti-poverty plan.

Ottawa (17 Oct. 2016) — For the past 3 years, Canadians have been serving up food for thought on street corners in cities across the country. Poverty activists and people passionate about human rights, are calling for a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan to eradicate poverty and hunger for the 850,000 people in Canada who use food banks each month and the millions of others struggling to get by.

Each year Canadians gather on or around October 17 to host Chew On This! to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has been spreading the word on the root causes, and effects, of income inequality. NUPGE is proud to support Chew On This! #WeNeedAPlan to end poverty in Canada. 

Promise of a plan

People across the country have pushed for years for a National Anti-Poverty Plan to eradicate poverty and hunger for the 1 in 7 people in Canada who are living in poverty. This year, there is finally have the promise of a plan from the government

The Dignity for All campaign, the sponsor of Chew On This! says, "Now,  we need to make sure the voices of those with lived experience of poverty are included and that the plan will be rooted in human rights."

In Canada, hunger is a real problem

If food banks, soup kitchens, and other front-line agencies across the country were to shut down tomorrow, poverty and hunger would become much more visible. Food banks were started in Canada in the early 1980s as a temporary way to address hunger. They were never intended to be a permanent measure.  

According to a study released by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), "Canada’s overall child poverty rate of 18% is among the worst in the OECD, putting it in 27th place out of 34 countries. That is more than 3 times higher than the Nordic countries, where child poverty rates average 5%." 

"These are appalling numbers," said Larry Brown, NUPGE President, "But it gets worse when you look at the numbers for Indigenous children. 51 per cent live in poverty, and that number goes up to 60 per cent when the children are living on reserve." 

"It seems that not much has improved over the last 26 years since Parliament passed legislation to end poverty by 2000," Brown continued. "People are still having to choose between necessities of life: pay for food or pay for rent. These are choices that no family needs to face."

Why a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan?

"Poverty exists because there is a lack of good, stable jobs with livable wages, a dramatic rise in precarious and non-standard employment, underfunded and understaffed social services, a lack of affordable, social housing and the a lack of an accessible and affordable child care. The federal government could address all these issues, if it had the will," said Brown. 

While charity is necessary in helping survive right now, it doesn’t address poverty’s root causes. The federal government is responsible under international human rights law to eradicate poverty. Committees from the House of Commons, Senate, and the United Nations have all said that Canada needs a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan. 

Add your voice

Last year, 490 people participated and over 330,000 people were reached across the Canada during the Chew On This! campaign. Add your voice to the campaign to eradicate poverty


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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