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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack hopes to re-start public consultation

A new survey asks residents if they’re ready to discuss projects not related to COVID-19

UPDATE: Missing girl in Chilliwack’s Promontory neighborhood found

A 13-year-old child was missing from early Monday morning to 4:30 in the afternoon

Missing Richmond man last seen in Chilliwack

Shawn Johnson last seen on June 30 on Main Street

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Eagle Landing

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

Abbotsford man wins $1 million in Lotto 6/49 draw

Kenneth Giffen wins prize after deciding to stop in Agassiz gas station after fishing trip

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

UPDATE: Abbotsford shooting victim was alleged ‘crime boss,’ according to court documents

Jazzy Sran, 43, was believed to have been smuggling cocaine across the border

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read