Children, Seniors and Social Development
July 31, 2018

Provincial-Territorial Ministers Release Vision Statement on Poverty Reduction

On July 31, the Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, attended a meeting of provincial-territorial ministers responsible for social services in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The ministers had the opportunity to discuss key social policy issues including: income security for Canadians and reducing poverty; improving outcomes for Indigenous children and youth; and improving supports for families and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

A key component of the meeting agenda was a roundtable on poverty reduction initiatives across the country, which was led by Minister Dempster. Provincial and territorial ministers had a thorough conversation about their respective approaches and initiatives to prevent and reduce poverty. As a result, the ministers released “Meeting the Challenge: Provincial-Territorial Vision Statement on Poverty Reduction” which can be viewed in the backgrounder below.

“As the lead provincial-territorial minister for poverty reduction under this forum, I was pleased to have the opportunity to hear about the work going on across the country, as well as highlight our province’s efforts to prevent and reduce poverty. I am particularly pleased that all provinces and territories share a vision for preventing and reducing poverty. We are united in working to ensure that ‘All Canadians have the opportunity to live with dignity and realize their full potential.’ I am encouraged by this positive step and look forward to continue working with my provincial, territorial and federal colleagues as we all strive to meet the needs of families throughout Canada.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development

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Meeting the Challenge: Provincial-Territorial Vision Statement on Poverty Reduction

All Canadians have the opportunity to live with dignity and realize their full potential. Provinces and territories are united in their vision of a Canada where all individuals are included, can develop to their full potential and can participate fully in social and economic life. This can be achieved by working in collaboration to address the social and economic disparities that exist today, and by creating the innovative and responsive solutions required to meet the challenges of the future.

It is important that all Canadians are supported to develop to their full potential. Preventing and reducing poverty, as well as alleviating its impacts, are ongoing priorities for Provinces and Territories. A long term, collaborative effort from all governments is needed, as is the involvement of communities, community-based groups and individuals. We must find more effective ways to support those living in poverty and to protect those who are at risk, while recognizing the need for prevention and being able to respond to the changing nature of Canadian society.

Provincial and Territorial Governments have a responsibility to listen to those with lived experience of poverty and to work collaboratively to reduce poverty. Social change, emerging technologies, demographic shifts, and the evolving nature of work and labour markets present new challenges for our country and for reducing poverty. Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services are united in recognizing the need for innovative responses; we cannot meet these challenges while working in isolation and we can learn and build on experiences from across Canada.

Our poverty reduction efforts must also acknowledge the diverse circumstances in different parts of the country. The voices of those with lived experience, and the unique needs of rural and remote regions, urban areas, Indigenous communities, recent immigrants and refugees, children, youth, seniors, and persons with disabilities, as well as the gendered nature of poverty, must be central to poverty reduction work.

Poverty Reduction must recognize the historic and ongoing impacts of government policies on Indigenous peoples and poverty in Indigenous communities. In the spirit of reconciliation and renewed relationships, poverty reduction must support and empower Indigenous peoples, communities and leaders.

Respecting their distinct roles and responsibilities, Provincial and Territorial Ministers are committed to working collaboratively with the Federal Government and other partners in the development and implementation of meaningful and effective solutions that build upon the work of Provinces and Territories.

Provincial and Territorial Ministers are committed to working with each other and the Federal Government to prevent, reduce and alleviate poverty. Approaches to transformative change could include developing the tools, strategies, and policies, including:

  • Future-proofing: Responding to the changing nature of work and other social changes, including ensuring that our social and income security systems reflect today’s realities and are prepared for the trends and challenges of the future.
  • Alignment: Better coordinating programs, services and policies to avoid duplication, maximize cumulative impact, and improve ease of access for individuals and families living in or vulnerable to poverty.
  • Measurement: Developing, sharing, and using information to identify trends and gaps, and as appropriate, establishing common measures and indicators.
  • Prevention-focused approach: Recognizing the multiple dimensions, causes and consequences of poverty and its intergenerational nature, ensuring an approach that is consistent with human rights principles and is focused on preventing poverty.

2018 07 31                              6:10 p.m.