A Short Sighted Budget

If yesterday’s budget did little for the middle class, it did even less – in fact it did nothing – for the over 4.8 million people struggling to make ends meet.  The fact that poverty costs Canada an estimated $24 billion annually did nothing to persuade Finance Minister Oliver to step forward and commit to investing in better living conditions to save taxpayers money.

Poverty has been consistently linked with poorer health, higher health care costs, greater demands on social and community services, more stress on family members and substantially reduced productivity and forgone economic activity costs.

“Rather than ensuring the resources and wealth in this country move toward balancing the inequality scales, this budget invests in those who are already wealthy. It stubbornly ignores those who can’t find jobs or are holding down two or more part time jobs with no security or those who have to rely on foodbanks each month” said Leilani Farha, Canada Without Poverty’s Executive Director.

We question a budget that is based on bad-faith bargaining with public sector unions by boldly predicting a $900 million savings from a restructuring of the sick and disability system. A policy that is still being negotiated amongst the federal government and the respective public service unions.

“Rather than relying on overburdened provinces and municipalities, Minister Oliver could have invested in addressing poverty as is the Federal government’s obligation under international law,  and could have banked on those savings to pay for it” Farha asserted.  Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice recently released a National Anti-Poverty Plan – Dignity for All, that if implemented would greatly reduce the poverty rate in Canada and reduce the costs associated with it. The Plan provides concrete, easy to implement recommendations in six key areas: income security, housing and homelessness, health, food security, early childhood education and care, and jobs and employment.

Canada Without Poverty was satisfied to see funding for social housing continue, however there were many initiatives and programs that we would have hoped to have seen in this budget. Including to develop a coordinated National Housing Strategy, a commitment to a National Pharamacare Program, greater investments in combating food insecurity, the creation of a set national minimum wage and improvement to maternity/parental leave benefits.

This budget offers no vision for Canada. Instead, it is short sighted. Not only does it fail people living in poverty it will widen the income inequality gap. It’s focused to help those who need it least and renders invisible the 4.8 million people in poverty across Canada.




For more information:

James Armbruster – Development and Communications Coordinator


[email protected]

Canada Without Poverty is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Canada. CWP is here because of your support. We would not be able to continue our work in eliminating poverty without your help. Please consider making a donation to CWP to support our work in ending poverty for everyone in Canada.