Now is the time to end poverty in Canada

Karri's picture

We believe that freedom from poverty is a human right.
We believe in equality among all people.
We believe that everyone is entitled to social and economic security.
We believe in dignity for all.

NOW is the time to end poverty in Canada.

Millions of Canadians aspire to a life free from poverty – the hungry, the homeless and the disenfranchised; the working poor, the unemployed and the socially assisted; the Aboriginal, the immigrant and the person of colour; the person with disability, the parent and the pensioner.

Dignity for All campaign

In support of these aspirations, CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY and CITIZENS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE are mobilizing the multi-year, multi-partner, non-partisan campaign, Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada. CWP’s Rob Rainer, and CPJ’s Karri Munn-Venn are at the Canadian Social Forum in Calgary this week to announce the beginning of this exciting new initiative.

Building on the tremendous work that has been done to address poverty in communities across Canada, and spurred on by the momentum that has been building at the provincial level, Dignity for All envisions a poverty-free and more socially secure and cohesive Canada by 2020. The conviction behind this campaign is that Canadians must respect and defend the right of every person to live with dignity and free from poverty.

Everyone has a role to play in building a poverty-free and more socially secure Canada – governments at all levels, businesses of all sizes and types, community and other civil society organizations, and individuals. The federal government, with its particular policymaking, legislative, taxation and redistributive powers, has an especially critical role.

Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada is therefore aimed primarily to achieve federal action. The campaign has three goals:

A comprehensive, integrated federal plan for poverty elimination. Linked to and in support of current and future provincial and territorial poverty action plans, a federal plan for poverty elimination will provide a pan-Canadian blueprint for reducing and eventually eliminating poverty. The plan will inspire other efforts to combat poverty and to promote a fair and just society. It will require transparency and accountability by the federal government, with inclusion of robust indicators of low income, material deprivation and social exclusion. And it will be comprehensive in its approach, with measures concerning several critical areas, including income security, employment insurance, early childhood development, education and training, and social supports. A federal Act to eliminate poverty, promote social inclusion and strengthen social security. Inspired by similar legislation in other jurisdictions, this Act will ensure an ongoing federal role and responsibility for social development, while demonstrating a lasting federal commitment for action and for accountability to citizens for results. Sufficient federal revenue to invest in social security. In order to fulfill its role and responsibility to ensure social security, generally, and to combat poverty, specifically, the federal government must have sufficient revenue, or “fiscal capacity.” The Dignity for All Campaign will promote public understanding of the link between the taxes Canadians pay and the supports and services we benefit from as a result. The campaign will also advance policy proposals for sufficient and fair taxation.

CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY and CITIZENS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE believe that the best way to move towards federal action on poverty, equality and social security is for many partners to work together, mobilizing the support and engagement of organizations, communities of interest and individuals across the country. We are building a network of support for Dignity for All with the involvement of faith, social justice, labour, and human rights organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people from across Canada. We want everyone to be a part of it. We welcome individuals, local community groups, and provincial and national organizations to join us in working together to create change.

This week at the Canadian Social Forum, we are asking everyone to pledge their support to the campaign. To say, “I believe in dignity for all.” Visit and be a part of Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada.

Because NOW is the time to end poverty in Canada!


Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada was co-founded in 2009 and is co-convened by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice. The inaugural Campaign Committee includes: ACORN Canada, Campaign 2000, Canadian Association of Social Workers, Canadian Cooperative Association, Canadian Council on Social Development, Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, Make Poverty History, and the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry. We are also in consultation with the Collective for a Poverty-Free Quebec.

Karri is CPJ's Policy Analyst.

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