Investment in poverty reduction strategies is an essential part of a stabilization plan in times of economic turmoil by stimulating demand in local economies across Ontario. This Community Dispatch comes on the eve of the Government of Ontario's plan for poverty reduction which is to be released by Minister Deb Matthews before year's end. It will be of comfort to those in the throes of policy development to know that a majority of people across our land and province support reducing the number of people living in poverty and, importantly, believe that government should provide the leadership to combat poverty and income inequality now and in hard times. I thought it useful to share with you the highlights of polling results conducted by Environics Research Group on perceptions and attitudes on poverty reduction held by Canadians and Ontarians. Community Dispatch summarizes the reports: "Ready for Leadership: Canadians' Perceptions of Poverty" and the "Ontarians Waiting for Leadership on Poverty Reduction."
Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
How do members of our national and provincial communities feel that governments, provincial and national, should proceed with initiatives related to poverty in Canada and Ontario? How do Canadians and Ontarians perceive poverty at home? How do they perceive their own standard of living and personal economic situation? As well, how well prepared do they feel for their futures?
It is no secret that we are living in times of economic instability and change. In the best of times, poverty and its affects on the individuals and communities has not improved. Community Development Halton believes that poverty will grow with Canada and Ontario entering recessionary times. Statistics Canada reports that 10.6% of Canadians lived below low-income cut offs in 2006. That number has not improved much from years prior: 10.8% in 2005, 11.4% in 2004, 11.6% in 2003, and 11.6% in 2002.
The reports indicate that:
The reports indicate that Canadians and Ontarians believe that governments should provide strong leadership and act to reduce poverty and inequality.
Across this land and in the province of Ontario people want their governments to do more. Also, 77% of Canadians and 81% of Ontarians report that in a recession helping the poor should be a priority. People believe that a recession in not an excuse for inaction on poverty reduction.
Members polled across Canada and Ontario were reminded that investments in poverty reduction programs could mean higher taxes or cuts in spending in other areas. Notwithstanding, people supported government action in a number of areas:
Hennessy Trish and Armine Yalnizyan, Ready for Leadership: Canadians' Perceptions of Poverty. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. October 2008
Hennessy, Trish. Ontarians Waiting for Leadership on Poverty Reduction. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. November 2008
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Produced by Community Development Halton
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