New safety nets needed for era of chronic inequality: Toronto Star Op-Ed

There has been much discussion about the need to reform our social support systems. In a response to recent proposals made by prominent intellectuals, this article by Carol Goar makes the important point: what Canada needs are safety nets redesigned with — not just for — the people who need them.

From the Toronto Star:

Canada Without Poverty’s Economic & Social Rights Online Course

What do economic and social rights have to do with Canadians? What have the United Nations and courts said about poverty as a violation of human rights in Canada? Why are economic and social rights important for women? Why should we look at housing, access to food and education under a human rights framework?

Canada Without Poverty is offering a four week online course for people all across Canada to learn and discuss the answers to these questions. Experts in the field will participate in the discussions.

The course will run April 13th-May 10th. The cost is 123.39 (but a a fee waiver is available for persons living in poverty).

For more information on this continuing education opportunity, please visit the CWP website:

High income inequality tied to poor health

By Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times

This article, reprinted in the Globe and Mail, discusses new evidence from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that inequality at the county level has a considerable impact on health; people in unequal communities were more likely to die before the age of 75 than people in more equal communities, even if the average incomes were the same. The article noted that it is well known that living in a poor community makes you less likely to live a long life, but there is new evidence which suggests that living in a community with high income inequality also seems to be bad for your health.


PFS Presentation to Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction

On March 31, 2015, representatives from Poverty Free Saskatchewan met with members of the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction. PFS delivered a presentation to the group. This presentation provided background information on the structure and work of Poverty Free Saskatchewan (e.g. research, building connections and consultations). The presenters also discussed some ideas the AGPR should consider in moving forward e.g. the potential to create legislation as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce poverty, and the need to involve people with lived experience with poverty in the process in meaningful ways.

PFS presentation to AGPR – Mar 31 2015 – final

Budget 2015: Families will be hit

By Emma Graney, Leader-Post, March 19, 2015

The article features opinions by Peter Gilmer from the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and Poverty Free Saskatchewan. The provincial budget was released yesterday, which revealed cuts to many programs due to reduced oil revenues. Eligibility changes were announced for the Saskatchewan Employment Supplement, Active Families Benefit and Seniors’ Drug Plan (meaning that fewer residents will qualify for these programs) and funding for child care subsidies, Transitional Employment Allowance, and rental housing supplements is being reduced. Concerns have been raised that these changes are going to make it more difficult for residents living in poverty. The provincial government announced that it would be working towards an antipoverty strategy late last year, but this budget “doesn’t move us in that direction at all” according to Gilmer.


Aboriginal job seekers in Sask. feel unemployment crunch: CBC

As unemployment in the province rises, this article by the CBC notes that Aboriginal people are especially hit hard. This trend has implications for the income gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the SK.

Link to the article:

Upcoming Poverty Reduction Summit – Ottawa, May 6-8

The Poverty Reduction Summit: Every City, Province and Territory Working Together

May 6-8, 2015: Ottawa, Ontario

Organized by the Tamarack Institute and Vibrant Communities Canada – Cities Reducing Poverty


This unprecedented event will join together representatives from all provinces/territories (and many cities) with the goal of motivating collective action to reduce poverty for 1 million Canadians.

The three-day national gathering  will highlight what’s working in poverty reduction activities, celebrate strong community examples and provincial/territorial strategies, and will outline what each holds in common so that we can clearly see the points of alignment that already exists.

Colleen Christopherson-Cote from the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership will be speaking on the panel about how campus and community partners are collaborating together to move the needle on complex issues. Alison Robertson from Poverty Costs (SK) will also be speaking about the role of national and provincial coalitions in moving forward policy change efforts.

For more information, visit


Why Canadian Babies Don’t Sleep in Boxes

We wanted to share this interesting blog post by Cameron Dearlove, which was posted on the Upstream website ( and originally appeared on The Community Edition.

The article presents an example of a program from Finland that is universal and showcases how the country’s government invests in early childhood development – the maternity package, which contains supplies all children need in their first year of life. The reader is left with the comparison to Canadian social programs, which tend to be means-tested.

“Today we know that social and financial inequities — particularly the experience of poverty — has a greater impact on our health than our healthcare system, genetics, even lifestyle choices.”

New Anti-Poverty Plan Released by Canada Without Poverty

Canada Without Poverty released a new national plan for ending poverty today. Dignity for All: A National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada was developed after engaging and consulting communities.

The plan calls for the Federal Government to immediately take action to address both the immediate and long-term needs of the 1 in 7 Canadians who live in poverty.

The 6 areas addressed in the plan are:

  • Income security
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Health
  • Food security
  • Early childhood education and care, and
  • Jobs and employment

To read the plan, visit

Social determinants need to be included in conversations about disease prevention -Raphael

This article is an opinion piece from the Hamilton Spector in 2014, but is still relevant. This thoughtful piece by Dr. Dennis Raphael discusses how current mainstream discourse about disease prevention (e.g. exclusive emphasis on lifestyle choices like tobacco cessation, exercise, etc.) ignores root causes such as poverty and poor working conditions. Raphael points out that “deprivation over the life course is strongly related to the incidence of such diverse afflictions as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, emphysema, kidney and lung disease, osteoporosis, lupus and mental health problems such as depression and suicide.”