Thousands take to streets to call for a poverty-free Canada

Volunteers call for the federal government to build on the newly-released Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy in Budget 2019 to end poverty in Canada.

For Immediate Release

Ottawa, ON: October 17, 2018 — Today, thousands of people representing over 100 groups across Canada are marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and calling on the federal government to take immediate action on this ongoing violation of human rights.

Each month, over 850,000 people in Canada visit the food bank and one in eight families struggle daily to put food on the table. According to the latest data, over 16 per cent of the population lives in poverty, roughly 5.8 million people in Canada.

Today, volunteers in communities across Canada are taking to the streets to participate in the 6th annual “Chew On This!” campaign to call attention to Canada’s disproportionate and persistent rates of poverty and food insecurity. Chew On This! is organized by the Dignity for All campaign, co-led by Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), both registered charities.

Chew On This! events are being held by 100 groups in 65 cities across the country – from St. John’s to Nanaimo and Iqaluit – including locally at Parliament Hill. Volunteers will be handing out 25,000 campaign lunch bags which will contain a snack, a magnet, and a postcard to send to the federal government demanding stronger national action on poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness.

Media Availability:

Where: Parliament building, Main entrance in front of the Peace Tower

Who: Members of Parliament, CPJ Executive Director Joe Gunn, and CWP Deputy Director Harriett McLachlan

When: October 17th 2018, 1:30 pm

Participants in the campaign will be calling for the federal government to build on the country’s first Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS), released last August by ensuring anti-poverty measures are fully-funded in Budget 2019, and that the plan itself is comprehensive and based in human rights.

“We’re seeing more groups than any previous year participating in the campaign,” said Harriett McLachlan, Deputy Director of CWP. “That tells us that people across Canada – from lifetime anti-poverty activists to students to people who’ve experienced poverty first-hand – know that the CPRS in its current form cannot achieve an end to poverty.”

“Ending poverty in Canada must be a federal priority,” said Joe Gunn, Executive Director of CPJ. “As shown in CPJ’s Poverty Trends 2018 report, Canada’s current poverty plan lacks essential pieces. This year’s Chew On This events are telling the federal government that to truly end poverty, adequate funding and a multipronged approach is needed..” 

Since it launched in 2009, the Dignity for All campaign has called for a national plan to address poverty. In 2015, the campaign released its model plan, Dignity for All – A National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada, based on five years of consultation with 600 organizations and individuals across the country. The plan outlines six policy areas where the federal government can lead in to drastically reduce poverty: income security, housing and homelessness, food security, health, early childhood education and care, and jobs and employment.

The federal government’s CPRS, entitled Opportunity for All, makes reference to the Dignity for All plan, but while Dignity for All community members made up a substantial portion of the online submissions for the CPRS during the consultation period, the anti-poverty community is calling for more comprehensive action.

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Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, headed by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, is a multi-year, non-partisan campaign supported by over 11,000 individuals and 700 local and national organizations calling for a comprehensive federal plan to eliminate poverty. 

ChewOnThis! is a national campaign to raise awareness of food insecurity, and call for the implementation of an effective and comprehensive national anti-poverty plan to address the systemic issues poverty in Canada. Thousands of Canadians are demanding the federal government build on the first federal poverty reduction plan to eradicate poverty and hunger for the nearly 900,000 people in Canada who use food banks each month and for the millions of others struggling to get by. The Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy is a first step – but we need a plan that can end poverty in Canada.

Website: https://dignityforall.ca/en/chew & https://dignityforall.ca/

Twitter: @DignityForAllCA & #ChewOnThis​

Contact: 

Deb Mebude, Citizens for Public Justice, at 613-232-0275 or deb@cpj.ca.

Laura Neidhart, Canada Without Poverty, at 613-986-7761 or laura@cwp-csp.ca.

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