Human Resources, Labour and Employment
November 5, 2008

Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy is Working for People

Public consultations regarding the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) are continuing across the province. To date, 13 public and roundtable sessions have been held. Members of the public and community stakeholders participating in the sessions are pleased with the progress to date and are offering suggestions to government for future initiatives to further prevent, alleviate and reduce poverty.

“The sessions have been informative and incredibly supportive of our government’s initiatives,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. “We’re hearing from members of the public and individuals delivering programs and services that our government is on the right track and is improving the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. They have told us that they appreciate our long-term commitment and vision.”

The Provincial Government has committed more than $100 million on an ongoing basis to prevent, reduce and alleviate poverty. Since the launch of the strategy, more than sixty Poverty Reduction Strategy initiatives have been put in place. For example, there has been a decrease in the number of people on Income Support because more people are working. Since 2005, the Income Support caseload has gone down by approximately 3,000 cases. This change is due in part to several initiatives provided through the strategy. Other examples include:

  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program was expanded to include working individuals and families with low income and those who face high prescription drug costs. To date, more than 30, 000 additional people have prescription drug coverage.
     

  • The Kids Eat Smart Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador supports breakfast, snack and lunch programs for school children. As of June 2008, 183 Kids Eat Smart programs throughout the province help 18, 455 children.
     

  • In Budget 2006, Income Support Rates were increased by 5 per cent. Rates were indexed so they increase automatically based on the Consumer Price Index with an April 2007 increase of 1.8 per cent and an April 2008 increase of 1.5 per cent.
     

  • Effective September 2007, K to 12 students now receive free textbooks. In 2007-08, this benefited approximately 26, 588 students from grades 9 to 12. Families can save up to $500 under this new policy.

“Our government is committed, over the long term, to ensuring everyone can share in the prosperity of this province,” said Minister Sullivan. “People of this province are telling us the comprehensive and holistic approach taken by the Poverty Reduction Strategy is working and they want us to continue and build upon this good work.”

There are further public consultations ongoing in the province. For more information on the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the consultations, please log onto http://www.hrle.gov.nl.ca/hrle/poverty/index.html or call 1-866-883-6600.

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Media contact:
Ronalda Walsh
Director of Communications
Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 699-7903
ronaldawalsh@gov.nl.ca

2008 11 05                       6:45 p.m.


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