New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

A new plan to help low-income Canadians will set a lofty goal of lifting more than two million people past the poverty line over the next 12 years, says a source familiar with the federal government’s long-awaited strategy.

If the federal government meets the ambitious target, it would push poverty rates in Canada to historic lows.

Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister in charge of the plan, will lay out details Tuesday at an event in Vancouver — including establishing the threshold that defines poverty in Canada.

The government wants to reduce the rate of poverty in Canada by 20 per cent from 2015 levels by the end of the current decade, which would require almost 850,000 fewer people living in poverty in 2020 compared to five years earlier.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet public, says the target increases to 50 per cent by 2030 — a decline of 2.1 million people, including just over 534,000 children under age 18.

RELATED: Fix low incomes among family-class immigrants to help Canada’s economy

Legislation to be introduced later this year would require future governments to meet the goal, but likely won’t carry any consequences if targets aren’t met.

Work on the strategy has been two years in the making, but anti-poverty groups who have taken part in consultations don’t expect to hear any new spending commitments.

Indeed, documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act suggest the Liberals intend to sell the plan by referencing myriad federal programs, linking them back to efforts to reduce poverty.

Absent any new spending, the government is likely to promote efforts to better co-ordinate existing and promised federal programs, as well as better tracking of their impact.

During consultations on the anti-poverty plan, the government heard repeatedly about the need to establish an official poverty line for the country. To date, Ottawa has been using a measurement created by Duclos’ department in the late 1990s.

The benchmark — known as the “market basket measure” — tests whether a family can afford a basic standard of living by testing their income against the cost of a basket of goods and services. The measure is tailored for 50 different regions and cities, reflecting the fact that the cost of living varies between regions.

RELATED: B.C., Ottawa sign nearly $1-billion housing agreement

Early government work on the anti-poverty strategy flagged the measure as one favoured by Duclos in his academic work before entering politics.

An April 2016 briefing note to the top official at Employment and Social Development Canada noted the minister’s “stated preference” for the measurement in his academic research on the economics of poverty. In one paper, Duclos argued that a range of tests using the measure showed Quebec had a lower poverty rate than the rest of the country.

Under the market-based measure, Statistics Canada found more than 4.2 million people living below that poverty line in 2015. One year later, using the same threshold, the agency recorded 3.7 million people in poverty for a rate of 10.6 per cent — the lowest recorded over the past decade.

The Liberals estimate that the measures they have introduced since coming to office in 2015 — among them a new child benefit and a boost to seniors benefits — will lift some 600,000 people above the poverty line by next year.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

Candidates declared for 2018 elections

Nominations for the municipal election have come to a close, and the… Continue reading

Golden Ultra hosts variety of races

The Golden Ultra returns on Friday, September 21 incorporating two stage races… Continue reading

Summerland Steam lose one, win one in hockey action

Junior B team loses to Golden, but wins against Chase

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

East Kootenay town considers public smoking ban ahead of cannabis legalization

Under the proposed regulations, anyone caught smoking or vaping in public will face a $2000 fine

Most Read