Provinces and territories make limited progress on economic and social rights: Report


February 15, 2018

OTTAWA – A new report from Canada Without Poverty (CWP) shows a lack of significant progress by provincial and territorial governments on the realization of economic and social human rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living.

The newly-released Poverty Progress Profiles provide a human rights analysis of the poverty strategies – or lack thereof – in the territories and provinces, and the extent of their participation in United Nations treaty body reviews. Canada has committed to the goal of eradicating poverty globally through the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

For a poverty strategy to be based in human rights, it must incorporate a number of components, including explicitly referencing human rights, ensuring those experiencing poverty are meaningfully consulted in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the strategy, and making anti-poverty policy a budget priority.

“It is critical that provincial and territorial governments take a human rights approach in their anti-poverty strategies because it provides a clear system of accountability and ensures the first voice perspective is central to all policy,” said Liz Majic, CWP’s Legal Education and Outreach Coordinator.

No province or territory fully implements a poverty strategy that is based in human rights. However, some subnational governments have championed elements of this approach; for example, the Government of the Northwest Territories has implemented a unique monitoring process where civil society, Indigenous persons, and persons in poverty are engaged in reviewing the poverty strategy annually.

“We may think of human rights as something for the federal government alone to lead on, but under international human rights law these obligations extend to all levels of government,” said CWP Deputy Director, Harriett McLachlan. “With 4.8 million people living in poverty, all governments have a role to play in ending poverty before Canada can be considered a global leader on human rights.”


About Canada Without Poverty

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, and charitable organization dedicated to ending poverty in Canada. The organization was created in 1971 as an outcome of the Poor People’s Conference, a national gathering of low-income individuals, under the name National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO). For over 40 years, CWP has been championing the rights of individuals experiencing poverty and marginalization through research, awareness-building campaigns, public policy development, and educational programming. See more at:

For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Laura Neidhart
Canada Without Poverty – Communications Coordinator
Phone: 613-293-2446 | Email: ac.psc-pwc@arual 

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