International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

October 17th was celebrated as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Poverty Free Saskatchewan, in conjunction with the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and the Regina Food Bank, held a press conference and call for improvements in addressing poverty in our province.

Canada (including our province of Saskatchewan) is a signatory to the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and is therefore obligated to uphold its recommendations. Saskatchewan released its Poverty Reduction Strategy earlier this year, but an actual plan to implement specific recommendations has not yet been done. Unfortunately, since the strategy was released the province has not expanded social and economic benefits and protections, and has actually further cut social, health and education programs that support our most vulnerable citizens.

CBC article on the press conference:

Coverage in the Regina Leader-Post:

Government of Canada poverty reduction discussion paper

The federal government released a discussion paper, titled ‘Towards a Poverty Reduction Strategy’ earlier this month. The paper includes a call to action and provides context on the issue in Canada. The discussion paper was released in advance of the government’s consultations, which are planned for 2017.

The discussion paper can be found here.

Latest Cost of Healthy Eating in Saskatchewan Report Released

How much does it cost to eat healthy in our province? The Saskatchewan Food Costing Task Group looked at the average food cost of a nutritionally adequate, balanced diet in Saskatchewan in 2015 and the report summarizing the findings was released this week.

The cost to feed a reference family of four increased from a provincial average of $218.24 per week in 2012 to $243.64 in 2015, an increase of 11.5% in only 3 years. The cost of healthy foods in the far north region of Saskatchewan is 80% higher than the provincial average.

Rising food costs are putting pressure on all residents of Saskatchewan, but especially vulnerable populations, eg. people living in poverty.

The Cost of Healthy Eating in Saskatchewan 2015 report can be used by decision makers and organizations to inform:

  • allocation of funds for nutrition programs, food grants and food allowances;
  • decisions regarding health, nutrition and social policy development and implementation;
  • further assessment and monitoring of regional barriers and cost differences affecting healthy food access; and,
  • supporting and promoting access to nutritious, safe, and personally acceptable foods.

For more information, the 2015 food costing report can be found here.

A news release about the report by Dietitians of Canada can be found here.

Infographics illustrating the results can be found here and here.

Almost half of SK employees living paycheck to paycheck

Almost half of Saskatchewan residents who are working are living paycheck to paycheck. A recent poll of Canadians by the Canadian Payroll Association found 48 per cent of Saskatchewan employees feel that it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheque was delayed by a week.

Peter Gilmer from the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and Poverty Free Saskatchewan’s steering committee is quoted in the article from the Regina Leader-Post.


Raising awareness about rural poverty

Brenda Ives, from the Poverty Free Saskatchewan steering committee, was recently interviewed for a CBC article about rural poverty. Ives has been an important contributor to poverty reduction efforts in Tisdale; the community was announced as one of the six test sites for the potential federal poverty reduction strategy.

The experience of poverty in rural communities is different than that of urban communities (which is better known). For example, rural communities tend to lack public transportation and have reduced access to affordable rental housing.

Link to article:

Tisdale, SK selected as a test site for national anti-poverty initiative

From the CBC: the federal government has announced it has selected six communities across Canada to test ideas for a potential national poverty reduction strategy. Tisdale, SK will be a case study for the project and will provide a rural perspective.


Austerity is not the answer: a response by PFS to recent SK cuts to social programs

Poverty Free Saskatchewan responds to the provincial government’s recently announced funding cuts to social expenditures. The planned reductions to the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability, the Seniors Income Plan, the Guaranteed Income Supplement will be harmful to the most vulnerable residents of the province.

To see the full PFS press release, click on the following link: Poverty Free Saskatchewan Media Release August 15 2016 FINAL.

PFS conducted an analysis of the effects of the latest provincial budget, Budget 2016: Transformation or Austerity? which can be viewed here: budget_2016_PFS (2)

Budget 2016 Transformation or Austerity pic for web

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