New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

A new plan to help low-income Canadians will set a lofty goal of lifting more than two million people past the poverty line over the next 12 years, says a source familiar with the federal government’s long-awaited strategy.

If the federal government meets the ambitious target, it would push poverty rates in Canada to historic lows.

Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister in charge of the plan, will lay out details Tuesday at an event in Vancouver — including establishing the threshold that defines poverty in Canada.

The government wants to reduce the rate of poverty in Canada by 20 per cent from 2015 levels by the end of the current decade, which would require almost 850,000 fewer people living in poverty in 2020 compared to five years earlier.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet public, says the target increases to 50 per cent by 2030 — a decline of 2.1 million people, including just over 534,000 children under age 18.

RELATED: Fix low incomes among family-class immigrants to help Canada’s economy

Legislation to be introduced later this year would require future governments to meet the goal, but likely won’t carry any consequences if targets aren’t met.

Work on the strategy has been two years in the making, but anti-poverty groups who have taken part in consultations don’t expect to hear any new spending commitments.

Indeed, documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act suggest the Liberals intend to sell the plan by referencing myriad federal programs, linking them back to efforts to reduce poverty.

Absent any new spending, the government is likely to promote efforts to better co-ordinate existing and promised federal programs, as well as better tracking of their impact.

During consultations on the anti-poverty plan, the government heard repeatedly about the need to establish an official poverty line for the country. To date, Ottawa has been using a measurement created by Duclos’ department in the late 1990s.

The benchmark — known as the “market basket measure” — tests whether a family can afford a basic standard of living by testing their income against the cost of a basket of goods and services. The measure is tailored for 50 different regions and cities, reflecting the fact that the cost of living varies between regions.

RELATED: B.C., Ottawa sign nearly $1-billion housing agreement

Early government work on the anti-poverty strategy flagged the measure as one favoured by Duclos in his academic work before entering politics.

An April 2016 briefing note to the top official at Employment and Social Development Canada noted the minister’s “stated preference” for the measurement in his academic research on the economics of poverty. In one paper, Duclos argued that a range of tests using the measure showed Quebec had a lower poverty rate than the rest of the country.

Under the market-based measure, Statistics Canada found more than 4.2 million people living below that poverty line in 2015. One year later, using the same threshold, the agency recorded 3.7 million people in poverty for a rate of 10.6 per cent — the lowest recorded over the past decade.

The Liberals estimate that the measures they have introduced since coming to office in 2015 — among them a new child benefit and a boost to seniors benefits — will lift some 600,000 people above the poverty line by next year.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Ladysmith Interact Club collecting food donations for those in need

On November 22nd and 23rd, Interact Club will be at the Ladysmith… Continue reading

Caps fall to Clippers in Nanaimo on Friday night

Clippers’ tying and winning goals come in less than a minute

Cowichan school district approves women’s winter shelter

The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education has approved in principle… Continue reading

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Calgary bobsled death inquiry recommends infrared technology, safety audits

A judge found the deaths of 17-year-old twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell were accidental and caused by blunt-force head and neck trauma

First ski hill in B.C. opened this weekend

Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, was the first ski hill in the province to open for season

$50k fine and community service for Vancouver Island tax evader

David Gonyea was given a nine-month conditional sentence

Paved Pacific Rim National Park trail costs balloon to $51 million

Feds kick in an additional $17 million to complete trail running between Tofino and Ucluelet

Most Read