Human Resources, Labour and Employment
Health and Community Services
Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
April 29, 2008
Newfoundland and Labrador Continues to Invest to Lead the Country in Poverty Reduction Initiatives
The Williams Government continues to act on its commitment to alleviate, prevent and reduce poverty in the province with new measures that focus on improving earned incomes, strengthening the social safety net and supporting youth at risk. Budget 2008 provides an additional $9.6 million in new Poverty Reduction Strategy initiatives and this funding is in addition to the $2.4 million announced April 1 to index basic income support rates. That brings the total investment in the current fiscal year to $12 million and once fully implemented in 2009-10, the Provincial Governmentís annual investment in poverty reduction will be more than $100 million.
"Two years ago, our government embarked on a bold and ambitious plan to change Newfoundland and Labrador over a 10-year period from the jurisdiction with the highest poverty rates to one with the lowest poverty rates in Canada," said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. "The Poverty Reduction Strategy is a comprehensive and integrated approach that is praised throughout the country and works towards achieving our goal. This year, we continue to build upon our strategy through a series of new investments to help the most vulnerable citizens in our province succeed and prosper. To secure a sustainable future, we must continue to work together to increase and embrace opportunity for all and enable greater self-reliance."
Improving Earned Incomes
One of the five main goals of the Poverty Reduction Strategy is to improve earned incomes. The Provincial Government is investing $2.1 million in Budget 2008 to support initiatives that enable income support clients, marginalized workers, persons with disabilities, and other low income workers to make a successful transition to work, work more hours, increase their skills and earnings, and maintain long-term employment.
Other initiatives to improve earned incomes include:
Strengthening the Social Safety Net
"This government recognizes that a stronger social safety net helps break the cycle of poverty by supporting people to develop to their full potential, to participate more fully in their community, and achieve improved health and quality of life," said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minster of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. "In support of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, our government is providing $4.2 million to make significant improvements to our social safety net."
In Budget 2008, the Provincial Government is moving forward with a progressive series of social investments to improve benefits, enhance equality for individuals and families and expand community supports.
Other measures to strengthen the social safety net include:
Supporting Youth at Risk
The Poverty Reduction Strategy recognizes that early intervention and targeted programs need to be in place to support the personal and social development of youth at risk of poverty. The Provincial Government is investing over $1.7 million in Budget 2008 for early intervention and support for youth at risk.
"These Budget 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy initiatives for youth build on and complement existing measures to support youth at risk to stay connected to the education system and their communities and to in turn avoid a life of poverty," said Minister Skinner.
In meeting this need, Health and Community Services is moving forward with a $605,000 commitment to establish a youth addiction, prevention and early intervention program. As well, the department is allocating $401,600 for a new project within Central Health to support residential and transition services for youth through a supportive board and lodgings model.
The Community Youth Network is a successful program that benefits approximately 14,000 young people throughout the province. HRLE is providing an additional $530,000 in 2008-09 to increase funding to the Community Youth Network and expand it to four additional sites in the province. As well, the department is providing an additional $60,000 to increase the high school incentive allowance for families in receipt of income support whose children turn 18 while attending high school. The department is also expanding the allowance to include those 18-21 year olds receiving income support who attend high school but live outside the parental home.
The best predictor of whether or not someone will live in poverty is their level of formal education. The Department of Education is providing $125,000 to develop a new pilot program to help disengaged youth reconnect to learning and return to school.
Budget 2008 contains several additional Poverty Reduction Strategy measures:
"This government will continue to demonstrate a strong social conscience, a progressive vision of empowerment, and the willingness to provide the tools and assistance people may need to realize their full potential," said Premier Williams. "This is a role that we stronger embrace, and together with the community we can and will succeed in realizing our shared vision of a province where poverty has been eliminated."
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2008 04 29 2:10 p.m.
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