Toronto – October 12, 2019 – October 17 is globally observed as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On this day we raise awareness of the impacts of poverty and call on our political leaders to address this important issue.
This year’s theme is “acting together to empower children, their families, and communities to end poverty.” #IDEP19 also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which affirms that every child has the right to a decent standard of living.
In Canada, poverty is closely aligned with other challenges that prevent a person from living a fulfilled life. Persons facing poverty are more likely to experience unsafe working conditions, live in unsafe housing, and lack access to nutritious food. In fact, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society, one-third of Canadian households live in substandard conditions or in housing need. Furthermore, according to Canada Without Poverty, 4 million people – or one in eight Canadian households – struggle to put food on the table.
These are alarming statistics that should compel governments to act. And yet, while poverty costs Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars in externalities annually, we often fail to help the most at-risk communities, including First Nations children and racialized families.
This October, as we observe the International Day for Eradication Poverty, we must acknowledge that the 2019 Federal Election presents an opportunity for us to make a difference on this issue by voting for a government that is committed to tackling poverty. When we head to the polls on October 21, we can help reduce poverty by voting for universal pharmacare and dental care, and for a real action plan to address the inequities facing First Nations communities. We should also vote for a government that is committed to improving accessibility rights and benefits for the millions of Canadians living with disabilities, and support parties that want to build a brighter future by creating good jobs for all Canadians.
On October 17, let us renew our fight to end poverty by working together and committing to vote for a government that is truly concerned with addressing this problem.
Paul R. Meinema