Tackling racist, sexist hurdles to be part of anti-poverty plan, Duclos says | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tackling racist, sexist hurdles to be part of anti-poverty plan, Duclos says

Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of Families, Children and Social Development, talks with reporters as the Liberal cabinet meets in St. John's, N.L. on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. The federal minister in charge of crafting a plan to reduce poverty across Canada says the still-in-the-works strategy will attempt to tackle the racist and sexist hurdles that keep people poor. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
September 27, 2017 - 2:32 PM

OTTAWA - Racism and sexism help keep poor Canadians below the poverty line and are issues that must be addressed in a new anti-poverty strategy, says the minister in charge of crafting the plan.

Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said too many Canadians, for reasons beyond their control, are prevented from fully participating in their communities or in the labour market.

In an interview on Wednesday, Duclos said he recognizes that poverty can stem from growing up in a dysfunctional family, or in a neighbourhood with few supports; or from the systemic issues that face Indigenous peoples.

Combating those larger, societal challenges has been a key message to Duclos during in meetings this week on the anti-poverty strategy as the government takes its first big steps towards drafting the plan over the next year.

"Poverty hits Canadians on the basis of many of their dimensions of identity — and that's a terrible thing to say, but it's something to acknowledge," Duclos said.

"The social exclusion fight that we must lead needs to acknowledge that there are Canadians that are socially excluded for reasons independent of their own will."

The strategy will connect federal, provincial, territorial and local efforts to reduce the number of people living in poverty, with a forthcoming federal housing plan as a cornerstone. Duclos said there will also be an Indigenous component to the strategy.

But before the government can finalize the plan, it must define poverty and find a way to measure it to track progress — a task that's harder than it sounds.

A two-day conference Duclos hosted on how best to measure poverty started Wednesday.

There is no official poverty line in Canada and different measures can lead to competing narratives that poverty rates have stubbornly remained at high levels over the last decade, or have dropped during the same time.

Duclos said the government wants to measure poverty using benchmarks that go beyond pure income-based measures, and delve more deeply into issues like food security, jobs and education.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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