It's been a whirlwind year. Here at Canada Without Poverty, we've been taking stock of what has happened so far, and planning our next steps to continue tackling the barriers to our work: the relief of poverty.
In the midst of our rapidly changing world and the pace of current events, I always feel it's critical to pause and take a moment to celebrate and reflect when we see we've made progress.
We're celebrating because after years of action by the country's anti-poverty advocates, the federal government finally released the first-ever national poverty reduction strategy. The Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS) introduced last month isn't perfect, but having a national plan on poverty, and one that recognizes the importance of human rights, is something that we should applaud.
It's thanks to the support and tireless action from our community members – people around the country like you – that Canada has taken this significant step forward.
The government is making progress. But at the same time, they are just catching up to people in Canada who have long known that poverty isn’t the result of personal choices, but one of systems, policies, and laws that make it impossible for people get ahead.
We already know that the best way to identify those systems failures and create solutions is to listen to the voices of those who have experienced poverty firsthand.
This was affirmed in a recent case brought to the courts by CWP. As you've probably heard, in July we won a ground-breaking case on the freedom of expression for people living in poverty and the organizations, like CWP, that represent them.
The government is appealing this landmark ruling – and while we're disheartened to head back to court,we know how important it is to defend the rights of the most marginalized people in Canada because they are often made voiceless by our systems.
At CWP, our Board of Directors are all people who have seen poverty first-hand, and their expertise guides our work. Their voices must equally be among those guiding federal policy.
As the Secretary of our Board, K. Brookland, said in her Spotlight on Poverty interview, “the average politician doesn’t know what poverty is like; most people who run for higher office have some money. So, who are they going to learn about poverty from? There is so much misinformation out there that the first voice perspective can counter.”
Our freedom of expression case and the release of the CPRS are just some of the big things happening this year. We're keeping our eye on how the government responds to its human rights review at the United Nations, and if they are going to truly make the right to housing accessible for people in Canada through the National Housing Strategy. There’s so much we still have left to do.
We know that we can’t do it without you.
CWP has been able to keep leading the charge against poverty in Canada because of the generosity and diversity of our supporters. Our average donation is only $30, but we rely on this critical support to make up nearly half of our entire budget.
Can we count on you to make a donation this fall? Your support would help us put the pressure on Canada to step up on human rights, ensure that the first voice perspective on poverty is present at the highest levels, and that Canada’s civil society continues to be part of these critical conversations.
We're going to keep fighting – fighting to make sure the government doesn't stop now that they’ve released a plan; fighting to make sure Canada's goal is to eradicate poverty, not just reduce it; and fighting to make sure the voices of the most marginalized people in Canada are heard.
By making a tax-deductible donation of $20 or more this fall, you can help us push the government to take the next step in realizing our human rights and creating a better Canada for the millions of people living in poverty.
Thank you for being part of the movement to end poverty in Canada.
Canada Without Poverty