June 1, 2017
The Manitoba government has missed the deadline in fulfilling its legislated responsibility to provide an update of the province’s poverty reduction strategy. 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 and to report publicly on progress in its budget papers. A five-year review of the current strategy was mandated to be completed by May 2017.
“Premier Brian Pallister has called poverty the number one issue facing this province. Yet this government is dragging its heals in updating the province’s poverty reduction plan,” said Josh Brandon, chair of Make Poverty History Manitoba. “The five-year review for the poverty reduction and social inclusion strategy is not just a box to check on the government’s regulatory calendar, but plays a vital evaluation role in making sure we are on the right track and that programs are working the way they are intended.” Over 146,000 Manitobans live below the poverty line; it is time for action to end poverty in Manitoba.
In order to create the new plan, public consultation and engagement is key. To ensure a cooperative process for community consultations, Make Poverty History Manitoba is releasing today its recommendations for community consultations and community engagement on poverty reduction. Make Poverty History Manitoba is advancing five recommendations to ensure a democratic process to develop this critical strategy for Manitoba. This is an essential part of building an effective strategy to end poverty, increase accountability and transparency, promote public education and build support for the plan. The delay in implementing the review should not be made up by cutting short the consultative process.
“Not only do we not have a plan in place, but community consultations and engagement has not even been announced,” said Brandon. “First and foremost, consultations should begin with talking with people who have experience in poverty and who will be affected by whatever solutions the government puts forward. Also, the plan should not start from scratch but build on community recommendations that are already in place.”
Make Poverty History Manitoba along with more than 100 other organizations endorsed the View From Here: Manitobans Call for a Renewed Poverty Reduction Plan in 2015, a comprehensive community-based poverty reduction plan for Manitoba. The report includes recommendations on income security, food security, housing, child care, mental health, education and training, transportation, disability supports and community development.
Make Poverty History Manitoba is a coalition of groups and individuals working to end poverty in Manitoba.