Author Archives: joanne

CWP gives SK Poverty Reduction Plan a failing grade

Canada Without Poverty gives Saskatchewan’s Poverty Reduction Plan a failing grade

Poverty Free Saskatchewan is highlighting a national assessment that shows Saskatchewan is much behind other provinces in its efforts to eliminate poverty.

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) recently issued its annual progress profiles on all Canadian province and territories poverty plans. The 2017 Poverty Progress Profiles report was prepared using a human rights framework with ten success indicators.

In order for a poverty strategy to be based on human rights, CWP says, the plan must meet a number of criteria.

Saskatchewan’s effort in this regard, Taking Action on Poverty: The Saskatchewan Poverty Reduction Strategy, was released by the provincial government in 2016. Its aim was to reduce the number of Saskatchewan people who experience poverty for two years or more by 50 per cent by the end of 2025.

Saskatchewan’s strategy is in compliance with only two of the ten CWP indicators, #2 and #5. It is somewhat in compliance with #6, and not in compliance with the remaining seven.

  1. Ensure human rights training for those involved in developing and implementing the strategy. (*SK – SOMEWHAT*)
  2. Identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality. (*SK – YES*)  
  3. Explicitly refer to human rights obligations. (*SK – NO*)
  4. Be enshrined in the law. (*SK – NO*)
  5. Include representatives of diverse groups experiencing poverty in developing, implementing, and evaluating the strategy. (*SK – YES*)
  6. Set rigorous goals and timelines for achieving identified strategy goals. (*SK – SOMEWHAT*)
  7. Develop transparent mechanisms and indicators to monitor and track progress. (*SK – NO*)
  8. Report annually and publicly on progress. (*SK – NO*)
  9. Be a budget priority. (*SK – NO*)
  10. Create a space for individuals to claim rights and hold their government accountable to the strategy. (*SK – NO*)

CWP also noted that child poverty in Saskatchewan is very high and the poverty level for Indigenous children living off reserve and on reserve is extremely high. The province’s minimum wage is second lowest in Canada. And food insecurity in Northern Saskatchewan is a very serious concern.

The Saskatchewan government has not presented to the public a comprehensive evaluation report on achievement of its poverty reduction goals.

Budget 2017: For the Few, Not the Many

The 2017 provincial budget contained many cuts particularly detrimental to people living with poverty. Budget 2017: For the Few, Not the Many documents the impacts of these changes. budget_2017_PFS (final) June 15

Dec 6 talk – “Poverty Reduction & the Current Sask Economic Climate”

JSGS Public Lecture ~ Poverty Reduction and the Current Saskatchewan Economic Climate – on December 6, 2016.
This event will be moderated by Dr. Daniel Béland, JSGS, and will feature a panel:
Chuk Plante, PhD Student, McGill University
Ali Abukar, Executive Director, Saskatoon Open Door Society
Caitlin Olauson, Centre for Integrative Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Bill Mintram, Executive Director, Saskatoon Indian & Métis Friendship Centre
In 2015 the Government of Saskatchewan committed to, and developed, a poverty reduction strategy. Over the course of the past year, agencies and sectors that work in communities to reduce poverty have been patiently awaiting an implementation plan for the strategy. Now faced with the current economic downturn and looming provincial budget cuts, it is time to open a conversation about how critical it is to invest in poverty reduction in times of economic decline. This conversation will capture the historical background of poverty reduction strategies in Saskatchewan and across Canada, address the economic argument for investing in poverty reduction and provide 3 distinct sector perspectives to increase awareness of how important social investment is to our province.
December 06, 2016
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Saskatoon: Prairie Room, Diefenbaker Centre, University of Saskatchewan
Regina (Video Conference): Room 210, 2 Research Drive, University of Regina
There is no cost to attend, but those interested in attending are encouraged to register as seating is limited.
Complete event details and online registration available here.

Large numbers of Sask children live in poverty

Child and Family Poverty in Saskatchewan
November 2016
by Paul Gingrich, Garson Hunter, Miguel Sanchez…/upl…/2016/11/SASKReportCard2016.pdf

Canada 2000 released national and provincial reports on November 24, 2016.

News Coverage

Global Regina news coverage “Child poverty rates in Saskatchewan higher than national average”

CTV Regina newsclip

Regina Leader Post article “1 in 4 Sask. children live in poverty: U of R report”

CTV national coverage of the situation Canada-wide “1 in 10 children live in poverty”


Changes not applying to current situations

The following Saskatchewan Government media release indicates that changes previously announced to Social Services will not apply to current clients in their current situations, but will apply to new clients, or existing clients whose situations change (e.g. they move or become 65 years old)

Province Announces Plans for Income Assistance Programs

Released on November 14, 2016
Changes proposed to Income Assistance programs will not be implemented as announced earlier this year, while the province proceeds to review and redesign its programs to better serve those in need.The 2,700 clients who received letters from Social Services this summer will not have their benefits impacted as a result of these policy changes until such time as their individual circumstances change (for example, they move).  The program changes will continue to apply to new program applicants or to existing clients whose circumstances change.“Our government has listened to the concerns of those who would have been affected by these changes, and we have decided against implementing them for existing clients,” Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said.  “I know that this period of uncertainty has been difficult for people, and I thank them for their patience.“We are committed to ensuring that our programs serve those in greatest need, that they are effective, and that they are sustainable.  To that end, we will be focusing our efforts on reviewing and redesigning our Income Assistance programs to support those who need them most and help people participate in the economic and social life of our province.”

Social Services has begun the work of Income Assistance Redesign, following through on a commitment made in the Saskatchewan Poverty Reduction Strategy.  The Redesign will be based on four principles: Income Assistance is citizen-centred, simple, transparent and sustainable.

Income Assistance Redesign will not focus on the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program or on income supports for people over the age of 65.

Earlier this year, the province announced that a number of changes to its Income Assistance programs would take effect September 1 or October 1:

  • Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID): consider the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement when calculating benefits for families and people with disabilities who receive extra or “excess” living income through SAID;
  • Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP) and SAID: end the grandfathering provision of excess shelter benefits under both programs in communities that previously had low vacancy rates;
  • SAP and SAID: end the practice of exempting Seniors’ Income Plan (SIP) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)  top-up benefits; and
  • Saskatchewan Employment Supplement (SES): end the practice of grandfathering benefits for families with children aged 13 and over.

Beginning September 1 or October 1, these changes have been applied to new program applicants or to existing clients whose circumstances changed in such a way that their benefits would be affected: for example, they moved or began to receive income support for people over 65.

The changes simplify the programs and contribute to their sustainability.

People who have questions about their benefits are encouraged to call their Income Assistance Worker or Assured Income Specialist, or to contact the Client Service Centre at 1-866-221-5200.


For more information, contact:

Leya Moore
Social Services
Phone: 306-787-3610
Email: [email protected]
Cell: 306-519-7835

Call for Basic Income Project

 A basic income pilot project is being called for by Senator Art Eggleton and the Ontario government included a proposal in its recent budget.

SK Govt’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

The provincial government’s report “Taking Action on Poverty: The Saskatchewan Poverty Reduction Strategy” was released on February 24, 2016.

Poverty Reduction Summary – Backgrounder  ; Poverty Reduction Strategy Priority Area Actions Table  ; Full report Poverty Reduction Strategy PDF

Media coverage: CBC ; CTV ;  Regina Leader-Post ; Global News interview with Blair Roberts, YMCA, Regina


In August, 2015 the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction released their report with recommendations for Saskatchewan’s poverty reduction strategy. Full report. Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction Report

Article discussing the report and Minister Harpauer’s response.

PFS response to Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction Report AGPR Report PFS comments Oct 2015

Poverty reduction act proposed for BC

“New Democrats’ poverty reduction act would address B.C.’s child poverty”

“New Democrats call on B.C. Liberals to take action on poverty and homelessness”

Bill M 218 – 2015: Poverty Reduction and Economic Inclusion Act, 2015



Poverty in the Legislature

October 15, 2015 Member Statement by David Forbes  in the Legislature re the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

David Forbes MLA and Donna Harpauer, Minister of Social Services, discuss a Poverty Reduction Strategy and Children Living in Poverty, November 26, 2015.

Living Wage Saskatoon launch Oct 28

The Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership is holding a launch event for for Living Wage Saskatoon
Oct 28th 2015, 9:30-11:00am
Le Relais (308 4th Ave N Saskatoon)
For more information see
“Business Case for Living Wage in Saskatoon” report
Twitter @livingwageYXE #LivingWageYXE
Colleen Christopherson-Cote, Community Partnerships Facilitator
Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership (SPRP)
rm 880 122 3rd Ave N Saskatoon, SK S7K2H6