Poverty IS a human rights issue.

Challenging Poverty with Justice: Fall 2013




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:

Back to the United Nations

This week Canada will report to its peers at the UN Human Rights Council and indicate whether it will accept recommendations to improve its human rights record by adopting a national anti-poverty strategy, a national food security strategy and a national strategy on housing and homelessness. You can watch this live on UN TV at 11:00 am EDT on 19 September 2013 or follow us on twitter (@cwp_csp) for live coverage and highlights.

Chew on This...

On October 17th, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, CWP along with our partners, Citizens for Public Justice, and the Dignity for All Campaign will be launching “Chew on This” – a one day pop up event where we will be challenging the public to think beyond food banks in an effort to end widespread food insecurity in Canada.  Email megan [at] for more information or watch our website.

National Summit on Health and Poverty

The Dignity for All Campaign - CWP and our partners CPJ – will be hosting some of Canada’s leading experts on the social determinants of health to discuss recommendations to address health inequities in a draft federal poverty plan.  Details forthcoming.

For past policy recommendations click here.

Save payphones!

CWP, represented by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, is participating in the CRTC’s study on the future of payphones.  JOIN US! Help the Public Interest Advocacy Centre with the hearing by filling out a survey: e-mail John Lawford, Executive Director of PIAC, or express your opinions and experiences about payphones to the CRTC directly by following this link.

Just in case you missed it...

We understand if you were gripped by a bestseller this summer...but you may have missed these thrillers:

1. Poverty Trends Scorecard, Part 3: Labour Market Trends, Citizens for Public Justice (July 2013).  For other Scorecards click here.
2. What Makes Us Sick? Canadian Medical Association (July 2013).
3.  If You Want to Help Me, Prescribe Me Money: Dr. Gary Bloch – TedX Stouffville (July 2013)
4.  Poverty or Prosperity:  Indigenous Children in Canada  - The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada (June 2013)
5.  State of Homelessness in Canada – Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (June 2013)
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