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.
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
Prosperity Roundtable Chatham-Kent
Kate do Forno
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
Downtown Mission of Windsor
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
"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
"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 County Health Unit
77722B London Road, R#5, Clinton, Ontario N0M 1L0
Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction
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.
Social Development Council of Cornwall & Area
Alex de Wit
26 Montreal Road, Cornwall, Ontario, K6H 1B1
Vibrant Communities Calgary
400-119 14th Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1Z6
Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition
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
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