Manitoba government falls behind on poverty commitments: no strategy in place for Budget 2017

Winnipeg, MB – February 21, 2017

During the April 12, 2016 televised election debate, Brian josh-brandon-feb-21-2017-press-conferencePallister stated that “poverty is the number one issue for us in our province.” (CBC, Manitoba Leaders Debate: at 35:50) In the new government’s budget, the government promised a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy starting in Budget 2017. But in a letter to Make Poverty History Manitoba in January, the Finance Minister and Minister of Families did not reiterate a commitment to reducing poverty in Budget 2017. Budget day is approaching there is no draft strategy for review and no community consultations on poverty are planned.

“Time is running out for the premier to live up to his commitment to put a plan for poverty reduction in place for Budget 2017,” said Josh Brandon, chair of Make Poverty History Manitoba. “Without a strategy, poverty in Manitoba will deepen leaving the most vulnerable Manitobans in poor housing, with higher incidence of poverty-related disease, and with inadequate incomes to purchase food and other basic necessities.”

Make Poverty History Manitoba launched a public campaign on November 16, 2016, calling on the province to work with the coalition to develop a comprehensive strategy including targets and timelines for poverty reduction and an increase in the EIA basic needs benefit. More than 100 organizations have endorsed this proposal.

In the letter to Make Poverty History Manitoba in January, the Province indicated its strategy for addressing poverty would focus on “harnessing Manitobans generosity through the development of Social Impact Bonds”. Elsewhere it has proposed tax cuts, and increasing the basic personal exemption, as measures for reducing poverty. Make Poverty History Manitoba has raised concerns to government that these measures are insufficient, lack comprehensiveness and do not meet the priorities already identified by people working with and living in poverty.

“Tax cuts and one-off programs that rely on the generosity of Manitobans are not enough to combat poverty. Government should maintain Rent Assist, provide an immediate boost to EIA to lift the most vulnerable Manitobans closer to the poverty line and implement a comprehensive plan with targets and timelines for cutting poverty. People living in poverty shouldn’t have to depend on charity and can’t wait for future budget cycles. Government needs to take responsibility and act” said Brandon.

Make Poverty History Manitoba has endorsed The View from Here 2015: Manitobans call for a renewed poverty reduction plan. This plan represents the priorities of Manitobans most closely linked to poverty. It calls for action on key priorities including housing, income security, childcare, education, support for community-based organizations, food security, transportation, disability supports, health, and child welfare. It provides a blueprint of what a comprehensive poverty reduction plan should contain. Implementing the View from Here is one of the recommendations from the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry, to improve social conditions and prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future.

The Manitoba government is required under the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act to implement a long-term strategy to reduce poverty and increase social inclusion across Manitoba. It is also required to report publicly on progress in its budget papers. A five-year review of the current strategy is mandated to be completed by May 2017.

Backgrounder: Manitoba Poverty Legislation Backgrounder

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Make Poverty History Manitoba Fundraising concert

mphm-facebookMarch 16, 2017: Doors 7:15 pm, show starts at 8 pm.
West End Cultural Centre
586 Ellice Avenue, Winnipeg, MB

Make Poverty History Manitoba is proud to announce our first-ever awareness-raiser and fundraiser, featuring:
JD and the Sunshine Band
Ila Barker
Bubba B the MC
Leaf Rapids
Riel Gentlemen’s Choir
Hosted by Nadia Kidwai from CBC Manitoba

Let us know if you our coming on our Facebook event page, and please share!

Tickets $20 in advance; $25 at the door
Online at Ticketfly.com or at West End Cultural Centre
Student tickets: $10 at University of Winnipeg/Info Booth and University of Manitoba/Answers
Low income & looking for a ticket? Please call Social Planning Council of Winnipeg: 204-943-2561 ext 229 or visit 432 Ellice Ave from 9 am – 5 pm, MondayFriday.

mphm-alternate-logos-smallMake Poverty History Manitoba is a coalition of non-profit, faith, labour and business groups working to end poverty in our province. www.kNOwpoverty.ca

Music has the power to bring people together and focus public attention on the critical issue of poverty in Manitoba. Much of Make Poverty History Manitoba’s work is done through in-kind donations of time and resources, but funds are also needed for events and materials to advance social justice and end poverty in Manitoba.

Thank you to our sponsors*:
Amalgamated Transit Union 1505 Manitoba
Assiniboine Credit Union
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba
Canadian Community Economic Development Network – Manitoba
Canadian Federation of Students – Manitoba
Hardwood Designs
Manitoba Federation of Labour
Manitoba Government Employees Union
Social Planning Council of Winnipeg
UFCW Local 832
West End Cultural Centre

*More sponsors welcome! Please contact manitoba@makepovertyhistory.ca

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Raise EIA rates as part of comprehensive poverty plan

Support our campaign to ask the Province to develop an increase in the EIA basic needs benefit as part of a comprehensive plan to address poverty.

We want as many groups to sign on as possible, please let us know if your group would like to join us (current list of endorsing organizations).

We are seeking your support for our campaign to ask the Province to take two concrete actions towards ending poverty in this year’s budget. Firstly, the Province should develop a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy in consultation with community members. Critically, this strategy must include targets and timelines for poverty reduction. If we do not have a vision for where we are going, we will never arrive at our goal. Secondly, the plan must include an immediate increase to the EIA basic needs budget of Manitobans living in the deepest poverty. Single individuals and persons with disabilities suffer the most, with respective incomes 47 and 32 per cent below the poverty line. We call on the Province to create a benefit that will raise the incomes of all Manitobans to at least 75 per cent of the the poverty line.

See our campaign document at: EIA Campaign Backgrounder. We are looking for organizations to support the campaign. If you endorse the campaign, please send us an email at manitoba@makepovertyhistory.ca

Please contact me if you want more information about how to support the campaign.  We would be pleased to meet with you or your board if want more information about the campaign.  A representative of the campaign will be calling your organization within the next few weeks to answer any questions you have. Thanks for all your support.  Together we can end poverty in Manitoba!

Josh Brandon, chair, Make Poverty History Manitoba

Key media articles about the campaign launch

josh-brandon-at-legislature-nov-17-2016-metroWinnipeg Free Press, Nov 24, 2016: Throne speech ignored poverty
Winnipeg Sun, Nov 16, 2016: Raise social assistance rates: lobby group
Winnipeg Metro, Nov 16, 2016: Groups call on Manitoba to release poverty-ending plan, bolster EIA
CBC, Nov 14, 2016: Manitoba tax changes do little for low income people, argues Molly McCracken
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba also published a Fast Facts about the campaign: Community looking for action plan from Province on povertyWe also did radio interviews on CBC, CJOB, ICI Radio-Canada and CKUW.
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Raise EIA Basic Needs Budget

Make Poverty History Manitoba is partnering with community groups to ask the Provincial government to raise EIA basic needs rates.

As part of a new comprehensive poverty reduction and social inclusion plan, we call on the Government of Manitoba to increase the basic needs benefit in Budget 2017. EIA’s basic needs budget has hardly increased in two decades. While the cost of living has gone up by more than 40 percent, EIA rates have remained stagnant. Far too many people in Manitoba live in deep poverty; some with incomes at 47% below the poverty line.

Hunger Free ManitobaOne of the coalitions we are partnering with is Hunger Free Manitoba. They are a coalition of faith communities calling on the government of Manitoba to help those who are most vulnerable. See their campaign at: hungerfreemb.ca

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Federal Budget Submission 2017

Make Poverty History Manitoba has submitted a paper to the Government of Canada as part of its 2017 Budget consultation process.

Federal budget submission 2017 smOur recommendations include priorities to reduce poverty across Canada, with particular reference to how they will impact low-income people in Manitoba. Our submission is structured around the recommendations in The View from Here (2015), a comprehensive community-based poverty reduction plan that was developed in Manitoba. This plan was endorsed by more than 100 organizations across Manitoba. We believe that the federal government has a critical role to play in each of the policy areas identified in that plan.

Download our 2017 Federal Budget Submission

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KNOW Poverty Campaign review

During the 2016 Provincial Election, Make Poverty History Manitoba engaged in a campaign to put poverty in the political agenda in Manitoba. This presentation below shows the highlights of our KNOW Poverty campaign.

MPHM presentation campaign review May 11_Page_01

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Do you know about Poverty?

 Do You Know About Poverty?

Make Poverty History Manitoba has a plan to help end poverty in Manitoba. Filmed on location in Winnipeg’s West End, with the help of West Central Women’s Resource Centre. Music by Chic Gamine. Thanks to UFCW 832, ChangeMakers, Manitoba Federation of Labour, Manitoba Government Employees Union, and all our partners. Produced and edited by Carole O’Brien.

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