Challenging Poverty with Justice: Fall 2013
POVERTY INCREASES IN CONTENTIOUS NATIONAL HOUSEHOLD SURVEY
The media was abuzz last week with the release of the last installment of Stats Can’s National Household Survey (2011).
The survey provides data on a host of social issues from how many people ride the bus, to how many people live in poverty. Much consternation was expressed with the release of the National Survey on the basis that its results cannot be compared with previous census numbers because the methodology and instrument used to collect the data this time round was different, thanks to the 2009 elimination of the mandatory long form. As a result, we have no sense of the trends in the country or how things are evolving. This is, indeed, problematic. The gathering of this type of statistical information – at considerable cost to taxpayers, no doubt - should at least be available as a yardstick to measure progress and as a valid and reliable tool to hold governments accountable.
While the National Survey may be flawed, if nothing else it provides us with one more reality check about the persistence of poverty in this country: the Survey reveals that 4.8 million people or close to 15% of the population in Canada is living in poverty – that is, struggling to pay the rent, find decent employment and access nutritious and adequate food. 15% of our population is poor and yet Canada is one of the richest countries in the world.
And who is suffering the most? The Survey showed that those living in the poorest neighbourhoods are disproportionately visible minorities, immigrants and single-parents and that women continue to earn less than men, even though they achieve higher levels of education.
CWP doesn’t need to know much more than this to reinvigorate our resolve. We are ready to push and to push hard to ensure that the voices of poor people are heard across the country and real solutions are implemented. We are renewing efforts to have politicians of all political stripes commit, through legislative action, to addressing Canada’s most significant and pressing human rights problem: poverty.
So, while Parliamentarians may not be working on the Hill right now, rest assured, CWP is toiling away just down the road! Recently we’ve appeared in print media rallying for a living wage in the Report on Business in the Globe and Mail
and on television speaking about the effects of poverty on health
, and responding to the National Household Survey
… Here’s what you can expect in the coming months: