Make Poverty History Manitoba and Manitoba Federation of Labour Push for Living Wage

Even with a 30 cent increase, Manitoba’s minimum wage comes up short, keeps workers in poverty

The Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) and Make Poverty History Manitoba (MPHM) joined together today to call on the provincial government to raise the minimum wage to a living wage level. Continue reading

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Make Poverty History Manitoba Action Fund

Together We Can Make Poverty History!

Donate now to put ending poverty on the agenda in Manitoba

Poverty has no natural cause; its ongoing prevalence in our wealthy society results from the choices we make and the policies the governments we elect implement.  Make Poverty History Manitoba (MPHM), a coalition of groups and individuals, works to end poverty by shifting government policy at all levels.

Together we can build a campaign to make poverty reduction a top political issue in the April 2016 provincial election and to encourage all political parties to adopt platforms to eliminate it. We know that for many of you, the current federal election campaign is consuming your resources, but if we are going to make a poverty a top election issue in Manitoba in 2016, we need to organize now.

Make Poverty History Manitoba has, through consultation with the community, adopted a plan that identifies 6 priority actions the provincial government needs to take to end poverty in Manitoba (see appendix for full details). These include: set a target and timeline for reducing poverty; increase the minimum wage; build more rent-geared-to-income housing annually; double EIA basic needs budgets, add childcare spaces, and double funding for community-based mental health services. More is needed to end poverty, but these stand as top priorities (see The View from Here 2015).

To raise these policies to the top of the political agenda, MPHM proposes over the next eight months to host public meetings, distribute informational materials, offer training sessions and use traditional and social media. We ask you, as a supporting organization or individual, to help build the Make Poverty History Manitoba Action Fund. These goals are possible if we raise $15,000 before September 30, 2015. All funds raised will go directly towards the campaign and raising awareness.

In four years (with no budget and dedicated volunteer support) Make Poverty History Manitoba has achieved great successes, including an historic increase in income assistance rates in 2015 that added $40 million to the lowest income households in Manitoba. A contribution of $100 from each of the 100 organizations that supported the View from Here and the “Raise the Rent Rates” campaign would meet our campaign goal. Please make a contribution today to help us end poverty in Manitoba.

Lynda Trono, Chair Make Poverty History Manitoba

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Vote Child Care

Child CareSpring into Action for Child Care

Rally for child care sponsored by the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba
Manitoba Legislative Building
May 13th, 2015 at noon

Kirsten Bernas from Make Poverty History Manitoba will speak on child care as a priority from the View From Here.

Make child care a priority this federal election! Bring your picnic lunch and join Canadians across the country participating in activities during the week of action for child care.
Child care is good for the economy, good for families, good for Canada. Vote child care to give every parent the opportunity to contribute to the workforce, which puts money back into the pockets of Canadian families, and strengthens the economy.
For more information, please email or visit and on twitter #votechildcare2015

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A poverty reduction budget for Manitoba

The provincial government has responded to your calls to invest in housing in Budget 2015! MPHM partnered with Right to Housing on a campaign focused on two requests to the provincial government. The Province responded positively on both:

  1. Budget 2015 commits to fully implementing Rent Assist this year – that means Manitobans on Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) who live in private rental housing will receive a shelter benefit that is equal to 75% of median market rent (MMR) beginning in December 2015. See the table below for exact dollar amounts.Low-income Manitobans who are not on EIA may also be eligible to receive a shelter benefit through Rent Assist that is as high as 75% of MMR.
  2. Budget 2015 also allocates an additional $10 million for Manitoba Housing and Community Development. This budget will be sufficient to fund existing commitments to increase the housing supply without reducing other important housing initiatives.

Continue reading

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Finance minister gets used shoes for budget day

More than 200 people attended a rally last Thursday asking Finance Minister Greg Dewar and his colleagues to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes as they prepare Budget 2015. As a reminder of the more than 100,000 Manitobans living in poverty, community member Andrew Allary presented the finance minister with a pair of used size 12 dress shoes to wear on budget day April 30. Traditionally, finance ministers in Canada buy new shoes for budget day. Organizers hope that the concerns of Manitobans living in poverty will be addressed in this year’s budget. Continue reading

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Anti-poverty groups ask finance minister to walk in shoes of people in poverty

Anti-poverty advocates will gather at the steps of the Manitoba Legislature Thursday, April 23 at 12:00 pm to ask Finance Minister Greg Dewar and his colleagues to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes as they prepare Budget 2015.

Following the tradition of the finance minister wearing new shoes for budget day, organizers will present the minister with a pair of used shoes previously worn by a Manitoban living in poverty. The shoes will serve as a reminder to consider the over 100,000 Manitobans who live in poverty and to make poverty fighting measures a priority in next week’s budget.

Make Poverty History Manitoba and Right to Housing are asking the government to increase Rent Assist to 75% of median market rent for Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) recipients in this year’s budget. For a single person on EIA, Rent Assist would be increased by $151.

Rent Assist Chart

“It’s difficult to find an apartment in Winnipeg for under $600, but an individual on EIA only gets $435 for rent. That means they have to take money out of their already meagre food budgets,” said Kirsten Bernas, spokesperson for Make Poverty History Manitoba. “When the Province introduced Rent Assist last year, they committed to achieving the 75% target over four years. But people living in poverty can’t wait another three years, so we are asking the government to complete that commitment this year.”

The event organizers are also asking for Manitoba Housing’s budget to be increased by $30 million to adequately fund existing commitments to increase desperately needed housing supply.

“The Province should be congratulated for completing its commitment to build 1500 units of social housing over the past five years, but to pay the mortgages for these new builds, the housing budget will need to be increased. If there is no increase, there could be cutbacks on social supports and maintenance which are also essential for creating good communities in social housing,” said Clark Brownlee, chair of Right to Housing.

The rally is being organized by Make Poverty History Manitoba and Right to Housing. Make Poverty History Manitoba is coalition of organizations and individuals working to end poverty in Manitoba. The Right to Housing Coalition is a Winnipeg-based group of individuals and organizations from across the province, concerned about the shortage of affordable and social housing in Manitoba.

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Rally to Make Poverty History

Join us Thursday, April 23, 12 pm at the Manitoba Legislature. We will ask the finance minister to walk a mile in the shoes of people living in poverty. We are asking for measures to help end poverty in this year’s provincial budget:

  1. Increase the housing budget by $30 million to adequately fund existing commitments to increase supply without reducing other important housing initiatives including the existing social housing stock.
  2. Increase the maximum Rent Assist benefit level to equal 75% of median market rent.

Please invite your friends, colleagues and share this event with your contacts on Facebook and other social media:

For more information see our backgrounder.

Make Poverty History poster

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