News & Events
Federal government rejects Senate plan to fight poverty
The Federal government has refused to adopt any of the 74 poverty-fighting recommendations that were part of a sweeping Senate report on homelessness and poverty.
Instead, the governmentâ€™s response Monday night to the Senateâ€™s 300-page report was a 20-page list of Ottawaâ€™s current programs and a commitment to â€œtake the committeeâ€™s recommendations under advisement as it continues to find ways to help Canadians succeed.â€
Liberal Senator Art Eggleton, whose subcommittee on cities authored the report, said he is â€œdisappointedâ€ in the governmentâ€™s response.
â€œI think we made it quite clear itâ€™s not just how much you spend but how efficiently and effectively you spend it,â€ said Eggleton. â€œWhat we really needed was an action plan â€” an indication that this is a high priority for the government.â€
Anti-poverty groups were also disillusioned.
â€œWith the majority of provinces and territories pursuing poverty reduction, the federal government needs to do its part,â€ said Laurel Rothman, of Campaign 2000, a national coalition that has been pressing Ottawa to live up to its 1998 all-party resolution to end child poverty by 2000.
â€œCanadians want our leaders to demonstrate commitment to work together to eradicate poverty during the next decade,â€ she said.
The Senate report, In from the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness, says a staggering 3.4 million Canadians are trapped in poverty by government social programs that are â€œsubstantially broken.â€
Among the reportâ€™s 74 recommendations is a call for Ottawa to set a goal of â€œpoverty eradicationâ€ and to work with the provinces to create a national child-care system, a federal housing strategy and to ensure income support for people on welfare meets the poverty level.
The report also recommends developing a national income support program for the disabled, increasing the National Child Benefit to $5,000 by 2012 and boosting the Working Income Tax Benefit so those in low-wage jobs can escape poverty.
The Senate adopted the report in a unanimous vote April 29.