Last fall, Manitoba launched a consultation for a renewed poverty reduction plan to address the critical realities of Manitobans living in poverty. Send in your views to participate. Sign our petition we are co-hosting with Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. The template is editable, so you can add your voice and share what you’d like to see in a Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Responses must be completed by February 23, 2018.
Poverty reduction in Manitoba: More than coins are needed
The Province is conducting consultations for a Manitoba poverty reduction plan. This is the first step towards implementing a new strategy, which the Province has promised since it was elected almost two years ago. With a strong plan in place, Manitoba could finally make headway in improving the lives of 146,000 Manitobans who suffer from poverty. Manitobans living in poverty don’t just need Band Aid solutions, they need fundamental change.
To facilitate organizations’ and individuals’ participation in the consultation, we are partnering with Social Planning Council of Winnipeg on an online petition tool (Sign the petition here). It helps you submit your priorities for what should be included in the Province’s poverty reduction plan. Just fill in your name and contact information below and edit the text to participate.
Investing in poverty reduction only makes sense. New health science research shows that spending to reduce poverty is effective in increasing life expectancy, reducing avoidable deaths and saves money in healthcare costs.
The good news is there is an opportunity to make headway in reducing poverty in 2018. The Province has recently launched consultations for a Manitoba poverty reduction plan. This is the first step towards implementing a commitment the provincial government has promised since it was elected in 2016. Wisely, the Province has started these consultations by listening to people with lived experience of poverty.
Manitobans who live with poverty know firsthand how decisions like freezing minimum wage, cutting back on Rent Assist or raising bus fares are harmful. They know that every increase means they will be that much more reliant on food banks to make it through the month, or worse yet, more likely to lose their housing altogether. People in poverty can speak eloquently on how their social and economic isolation wears on their physical and mental health and can become a barrier to reaching the training and employment they need to escape poverty.
Manitoba needs a comprehensive plan with targets and timelines to lift all households out of poverty. The Province should listen to the participants in its consultations, as well as take notice of the research that has already been done by community organizations and government alike of the steps it must take to end poverty. One such resource, The View From Here (2015), offers 50 community supported recommendations for action. Following this community lead, the Province should reverse the cuts it made in 2017, while investing in housing, quality employment, income supports, mental health and child care.
The Province is accepting submissions to its poverty reduction strategy consultation until February 23. Make Poverty History Manitoba has prioritized five policy areas that must be central to the renewed plan:
- Minimum Wage: Raise the minimum wage to a poverty line wage of $15.53 per hour in 2014 dollars.
- Social Housing: Build at least 300 net new social housing units annually for five years.
- Income Benefits: Introduce a new basic needs benefit to lift all Manitobans up to or above the poverty line.
- Child Care: Create at least 12,000 licensed and funded, non-profit childcare spaces with priority in low-income neighbourhoods.
- Mental Health: Double the funding allotted to community-based mental health services for low-income Manitobans beginning with an increase in mental health spending by 40 per cent over three years with priority given to community-based mental health services.
If you support these recommendations, or would like to add some of your own, fill out our submission tool below.
Only if Manitobans speak out about how poverty reduction is a priority will the government listen and enact change that offers more than coins.