A National Launch for #VoteToEndPoverty

For Immediate Release

 Community groups across Canada launch ‘Vote to End Poverty’ campaign

Chatham, ON – September 1, 2015 – Communities across Canada want to put ending poverty on the federal election agenda.  Starting in Windsor, Ontario and growing to include communities across Ontario, as far west as Calgary, Alberta and as far north as Whitehorse, Yukon and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the campaign Vote to End Poverty will officially kick-off today, on September 1, 2015.

The national campaign will help Canadians better understand what the cost of poverty is to our nation and encourage voters to ask local candidates and political parties about their plans is to end poverty in Canada.

Supporters are encouraged to use the hashtag #VotetoEndPoverty on social media platforms to increase the momentum and exposure of the campaign. Residents can also visit the website VotetoEndPoverty.ca to find out which communities are participating and find out what else can be done to get involved.

The Windsor-Essex local poverty reduction strategy developed the campaign concept and has joined with the Downtown Mission of Windsor Inc., a faith-based, registered not-for-profit organization with a focus on serving and advocating for those who struggle with poverty and homelessness. The Mission recognized the need for poverty to be a federal election issue and agreed to take ownership of the campaign for Elections Canada purposes.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT POVERTY IN CANADA

Canada has been called to take immediate action to address poverty by the United Nations, Senate, and Committees of the House of Commons. Yet, the federal government does not currently have a plan to neither eradicate nor reduce poverty.

There are 4.8 million people fighting to make ends meet in Canada. That means that in a country as rich as Canada 1 in 7 people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table and cover basic necessities that are guaranteed human rights. As part of Canada’s international human rights obligations, the federal government must address the structural causes of poverty in Canada and develop a federal plan for poverty elimination.   

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Poverty hurts our health care system. The costs that we put to addressing the symptoms of poverty amount to $7.6 billion a year. That’s 20% of all health care spending. A recent University of Toronto study found that food insecure households spend 121% more in health care costs than other households. That means that we’re paying money in health care costs to treat the symptoms of an issue that we could address directly. The Public Health Agency of Canada has said that the key to ending the load on the health system is investing early, and that $1 invested in the first few years of a low-income person’s life can save up to $9 in future costs to health and the criminal justice system. Right now, we are paying a high financial (and human) cost to sustain our already broken system.

Poverty is bad for the economy. The reality for most people is that having a job doesn’t mean you have money to put back into the economy. People living in households with one worker account for 39.1% of Canadians living in poverty. Jobs that are part-time, precarious or low-paying are growing. According to Statistics Canada, as of July 2015, the economy lost 17,300 full-time jobs, but added 23,900 part-time ones. Without sufficient revenue from employment, how are people in Canada to put money back into the economy when they barely have enough to pay for rent, childcare or food?

Child poverty rates in Canada  are shameful. Over 1.3 million children live in poverty in Canada. That’s 1 in 5 children who don’t get a fair start. A recent study showed that the stress of poverty can have significant effects on a child’s brain development. The numbers are even more alarming when considering marginalized groups, such as indigenous children, 40% of whom live in poverty in Canada. In February 2015, the federal government passed a motion – almost unanimously – to end child poverty. Despite this promise, the government has taken no further action to end poverty.

SOME PARTICIPATING COMMUNITIES, CONTACT INFORMATION AND QUOTES

CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO

Prosperity Roundtable Chatham-Kent

Kate do Forno

519-354-0430

prosperity@uwock.ca

425 McNaughton Ave., W., Chatham, Ontario N7M 5K8

 “It’s been over 25 years since the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to end child poverty. As Canadians we owe it to ourselves to hold our politicians accountable to this promise. No child should have to pretend they forgot their lunch, nor miss a school trip because their parents don’t have the means to afford. Families shouldn’t have to experience the shame of those decisions. We must do better.” Kate do Forno, Prosperity Roundtable, Chatham-Kent

WINDSOR-ESSEX, ONTARIO

Downtown Mission of Windsor

Ron Dunn

519-973-5573

ron@downtownmission.com

664 Victoria Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N9A 4N2

“The Downtown Mission of Windsor is proud to stand up for those in need, launching a campaign to start a conversation seems the very least we could do,” said Ron Dunn, Executive Director of the United Church Downtown Mission of Windsor. “Policies around the automotive sector, healthcare, education, tax reform, the environment, mental health issues and poverty are all worth talking about and worth our connected effort to ensure they are addressed during this election.”

Windsor-Essex Chapter of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)

Jennifer Johnston RN, MScN

Policy & Political Action Executive Officer

519-965-1130

windsoressexrnao@gmail.com

"Nurses witness the negative impacts of poverty and its ill effects on health every day. As healthcare professionals, educators, and advocates, we see the need to challenge our federal politicians to commit to taking action to improve the health of our society by developing a federal poverty reduction plan. Health and wellness are important to all Canadians, so addressing the conditions that cause poor health such as poverty should be a priority for all levels of government." Jennifer Johnston  

Voices Against Poverty

Lorena Shepley

l_shepley@hotmail.com

"Vote to End Poverty is a non partisan way for the entire community to let the candidates know that poverty is an election issue in whatever way(s) each individual is affected by it; whether it's through housing, healthcare, jobs, benefits, pensions, childcare, WSIB, Employment Insurance or social services, poverty can affect many of us. This is an opportunity to let those running for office know that our community feels poverty related issues are a priority and is prepared to vote on that basis." Lorena Shepley

HURON, ONTARIO

Huron County Health Unit  

Janice Dunbar

jdunbar@huroncounty.ca

77722B London Road, R#5, Clinton, Ontario N0M 1L0

HAMILTON, ONTARIO

Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

Tom Cooper

905-512-7863

tom@hamiltonpoverty.ca

203-100 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3W4

“Over four and a half million Canadians have been left behind. National action to end poverty must be a priority for all political parties,” said Tom Cooper, Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.

CORNWALL, ONTARIO

Social Development Council of Cornwall & Area

Alex de Wit

adevit@sdccornwall.ca

26 Montreal Road, Cornwall, Ontario, K6H 1B1

CALGARY, ALBERTA

Vibrant Communities Calgary

Kathryn Cormier

403-283-2193

Kathryn@vibrantcalgary.com

400-119 14th Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1Z6

WHITEHORSE, YUKON

Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition

Kristina Craig

867-334-9317

yukonantipovertycoalition@gmail.com

Box 31230, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 4P7

Charlotte Hrenchuk, co-chair of the Coalition says: "We really want voters to think about the issues - housing, income, food security - and how poverty is holding us back as individuals, communities, and as a territory.  We're all in this together and as Canadians we need to get focused on solutions."

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIEs 

No Place for Poverty

Julie Green

juliegreen@theedge.ca

Box 444, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, X1A 2N4

 

About Prosperity Roundtable, Chatham-Kent
The Prosperity Roundtable is a diverse group of individuals working together to support, develop and implement strategies to eliminate poverty in Chatham-Kent. The Roundtable is made up of 59 Chatham organizations passionate about ensuring no one in Chatham-Kent lives in poverty.

About Downtown Mission of Windsor

The Downtown Mission of Windsor is a Christian, faith-based, registered not-for-profit organization with a focus on serving and advocating for those who struggle with poverty and homelessness — men, women and children.

 

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Kate do Forno                                                     Ron Dunn

Project Coordinator                                            Interim Executive Director,

Prosperity Roundtable, Chatham-Kent              Downtown Mission of Windsor

425 McNaughton Ave West, Chatham              664 Victoria Avenue, Windsor

main: 519-354-0430                                          main: 519-973-5573

prosperity@uwock.ca                                         ron@downtownmission.com

www.prosperityroundtable.com                         www.downtownmission.com