P.E.I. 'dragging its heels' on poverty issue
Creating advisory council can't hurt, but province needs legitimate strategy to combat poverty, advocates say
The announcement of an advisory council on poverty in Tuesday's throne speech has the P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income wondering what the government has been doing on the issue for the last several years.
The government says in the next week or so a call for members to create a poverty reduction advisory council will be made. That council will work with the province to come up with a report of recommendations next year.
Are we really talking about strategy or are we talking about a report?- Ann Wheatley
During the spring sitting of the legislature, Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant said multiple departments were working on a new poverty reduction strategy. Working group member Ann Wheatley wonders what was actually done, and why that work hasn't led to any action yet.
"It's dragging its heels in that it's been on the agenda for so many years and still we don't really even have a sense what kind of information has been gathered, what kind of work has been done," Wheatley said.
"Bringing people together for a poverty reduction advisory council is a good idea but again it feels like, 'Are we really talking about strategy or are we talking about a report?' That doesn't equal a strategy either."
Wheatley said much of the throne speech focused on the growing economy, but from what she sees a lot of the investments are to help people who are doing pretty well, and that people who are on a low income are still struggling. She suggested raising social assistance rates and creating more affordable housing.
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With files from Laura Chapin