Thousands Across Canada Call for Federal Action on Poverty

Thousands Across Canada Call for Federal Action on Poverty

Volunteers call for forthcoming national anti-poverty plan to assure the rights of people in living in poverty

 For Immediate Release

Ottawa, ON, October 17, 2016 — Over 850,000 people in Canada visit the food bank each month. More than a third of those are children. One in eight families struggle daily to put food on the table. Two out of every five Northern households are food insecure.

Today, October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Volunteers across Canada are taking to the streets to participate in the fourth annual “ChewOnThis!” campaign. The campaign is organized by the Dignity for All campaign which is co-led by Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), both registered charities.

Media Availability:

Where: Wellington St. at O’Connor St. in front of Parliament Hill

Who: Members of Parliament, CPJ Executive Director Joe Gunn, and CWP Executive Director and UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing Leilani Farha.

When: October 17th 2016, 11:30am

“ChewOnThis!” events are being held by over 50 groups in more than 30 cities across the country – from Vancouver to St. John’s to Yellowknife – including locally at Parliament Hill and in Toronto’s downtown core. Volunteers will be handing out 22,000 brown paper bags containing a snack and information prompting people to consider the realities of poverty and food insecurity. They will also be calling for the voices of those with lived experience of poverty to be included in the forthcoming national anti-poverty plan and for the plan to be rooted in human rights.

“We need to assure the rights of people in living in poverty are respected and their voices are heard,” said Leilani Farha, Executive Director of CWP. “A rights-based strategy would ensure an inclusive process from development through to implementation.”

“In a country as wealthy as ours, there is no excuse. We urgently need an anti-poverty plan for Canada,” argued Joe Gunn, Executive Director of CPJ. “It is simply wrong to allow 4.8 million Canadians to struggle to make ends meet.”

Since it launched in 2009, the Dignity for All campaign has called for a national plan. Last year, it created a model plan based on five years of consultation with 600 organizations and individuals across the country. The model plan, Dignity for All – A National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada, outlines six policy areas where the federal government can lead in to drastically reduce poverty: income security, housing and homelessness, food security, health, early childhood education and care, and jobs and employment.

Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, headed by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, is a multi-year, non-partisan campaign supported by over 10,000 individuals and 600 local and national organizations calling for a comprehensive federal plan to eliminate poverty.

ChewOnThis! is a national campaign to raise awareness of food insecurity, and call for the establishment of a national anti-poverty plan to address the systemic issues poverty in Canada.  Thousands of Canadians are demanding the federal government establish a plan to eradicate poverty and hunger for the nearly 900,000 people in Canada who use food banks each month and for the millions of others struggling to get by. The United Nations has called for it, the Senate has called for it, and the House of Commons has called for it.  It is time for a plan.

Website: &

Twitter: @DignityForAllCA & #ChewOnThis

Brad Wassink, Citizens for Public Justice, at 613-293-7042 or
Laura Neidhart, Canada Without Poverty, at 613-986-7761 or

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