2017 Pivotal Poverty Moments

With celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation planned in communities, provinces, and territories across the country, there is no denying that this year is a big one for Canada.

Amid all the sesquicentennial festivities, this year will also be momentous for the anti-poverty and human rights movements. CWP already explained 17 reasons why poverty should be eradicated in 2017, but this week we’re looking at some upcoming occasions that will shape the political landscape with regards to poverty at the provincial/territorial, national, and international levels.

Here are a few noteworthy moments to look out for in the weeks and months ahead:

  • Federal Poverty Strategies – The federal government is going to be releasing consultation plans for the creation of its highly-anticipated Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy, likely in early 2017. It will also be revealing the plan for the National Housing Strategy, after hearing from Canadians on the matter last year via the Let’s Talk Housing
  • International Days of Observance – The United Nations designates several days a year to commemorating specific themes, such as Health, Poverty, Human Rights, and Women. These days are marked in Canada by both government and non-government sectors through various statements, campaigns, and events. For example, the annual ChewOnThis! campaign honours the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
  • Federal Budget(s) – The 2017 federal budget will be revealed in early 2017, offering insight into what ministries and mandates will be federal priorities for the next year. Meanwhile, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Alternative Federal Budget is exactly what the name promises: a hypothetical budget at the national level that is focused on economic, social, and environmental issues at its core. The AFB is produced with collaboration from other civil society groups and is released concurrently with the official budget.
  • Poverty Pilot Projects – The federal government will be launching the Tackling Poverty Together pilot project in six cities across the country, beginning with St. John in New Brunswick, to learn about differing experiences of poverty. In Ontario, an online public survey is underway to gauge the public’s feelings about implementing a basic income system. The province already committed to testing out a basic income system in a multiple-community pilot project.
  • CRPD – Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010, so this will be the first-time Canada will be under review for its compliance with the treaty. People living with disabilities in Canada are twice as likely to live below the poverty line; this review will shed light on the connection between living with disabilities and experiencing poverty and CWP will be there to make sure the experiences of people living in low-income are at the forefront of the conversation.
  • BC Election – British Columbia will have a provincial election in May 2017; it is notably the only province to have never enacted a poverty reduction plan. This election could be a pivotal moment in the creation of an anti-poverty strategy for the province with one of the highest consistent rates of poverty over the last two decades.
  • Canada hosting G7 Summit (2018) – Next year, Canada will be playing host to the G7 countries for the sixth time. This summit will be a fantastic opportunity for the federal government to discuss its new poverty and housing strategies and international human rights obligations after the UN review.

These are only a few highlights to keep an eye out for – there will certainly be more as the year unfolds. CWP remains hopeful that 2017 will be a memorable year, not only for the magnificent anniversary of Confederation celebrations, but also for drastic improvements to the lives of 4.9 million Canadians living in poverty every day.