Saskatchewan's Poverty Reduction Strategy released

Saskatchewan aims to reduce the number of people who experience poverty for two years or more by 50 per cent by the end of 2025.

Goal to halve the number of people living in poverty for two or more years

Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer says they will need help from community based organizations and all levels of government to implement the strategy. (CBC)

The Government of Saskatchewan released the Poverty Reduction Strategy on Wednesday.

The strategy aims to reduce the number of people who experience poverty for two years or more by 50 per cent by the end of 2025.

"We're going to need a lot of help from community based organizations, from the community, from all levels of government," Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer said.

"So a lot of people don't even know what's available now and so they're looking at areas where perhaps they could provide more services."

The strategy focuses on six key areas for action:

  • Income security.
  • Housing and homelessness.
  • Early childhood development and child care.
  • Education, skills training and employment.
  • Health and food security.
  • Vulnerable families and individuals.

The strategy was developed based on recommendations from the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction which reviewed past and ongoing initiatives to reduce poverty.

The first steps in the strategy will include redesigning the Ministry of Social Services' Income Assistance programs and services and implementing an Early Years Plan with the Ministry of Education.

Harpauer said the strategy will "remain a living document" as they move towards reducing poverty.

Strategy receives criticism

The document released by the province lacks specific strategies, according to Ryan Meili.

The Saskatoon physician is a member of the advisory group which came up with a list of recommendations presented to the government in August of 2015.

"It's a really long document but most of it is listing things that are already being done and there's very little in terms of an actual plan," Meili said. "So to call this a Poverty Reduction Strategy is pretty big stretch."

Meili said that Saskatchewan can reduce poverty by 50 per cent in just five years.

Saskatchewan currently has the second lowest rate of poverty in Canada. Statistics Canada, as of 2012, listed 10.6 per cent of people in Saskatchewan living in poverty. The national average is 12 per cent.

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