My thoughts from the third annual poverty reduction summit
In response to the third annual poverty reduction summit, hosted by Vibrant Communities Canada and the City of Hamilton on April 4-6, 2017.
TAKEAWAYS AND LEARNINGS
I learned so much from my participation in the Summit, so it is hard to answer what my main takeaways and learnings were, but I will attempt this exercise.
1. This biggest impact for me was the subject of Food Poverty in Canada. Why do we in Canada dispose of $31 Billion per year in food that is either not sold, poor quality, or leftovers? We have a population of 36 million in Canada and 5 million of our fellow citizens (1 in 5 children), go daily without the proper daily intake of nutritious food. Why?
2. When cities are engaged in the movement of change for poverty reduction and the alleviation of homelessness in our communities, social change is positive and it happens. The City of Hamilton is a prime example of one city that has done just this.
3. Also, when small and large business are engaged in poverty reduction by paying their staff a Living Wage, great benefits and less precarious work, we the experts know that great things happen that provide great economic advantage for their business and their teams are more productive and create more sales.
4. Poverty is a crime and a national shame. Our country is one of the richest and most diversified and inclusive country in the World and therefore, we can and must end Poverty. Poverty is a health and lethal issue and if this discussion is seen in this context, policy can change within the scope of our municipal, provincial and federal governments.
5. We the experts know that Minimum Wage is not an effective tool to end Poverty; however, we know that a Living Wage and a Basic Income would be. Basic Income would be more cost effective in our social help programs for the expenditures for our Governments and obviously paying a fair Living Wage is the most effective way to reduce Poverty. It is a Health Issue.
When our population earn a reasonable living and are engaged in positive work; their health is better, they can afford decent healthy food, take their kids out to play, and be engaged in community. This leads to a better economic advantage and we would pay more taxes. It would be less expensive to the health, justice and social service systems. It makes sense, but unfortunately not to everyone. We must continue moving forward in the discussion for changes in public policy and conversations within the community in general to change public perception.
Hilary L. Chapple
Community Advocate and Ally
Hilary Chapple lives in Calgary is a member of Poverty Talks!, a 12 member steering committee with current or recent lived experience of poverty who advocate for social and public policy change, while also engaging and educating Calgarians about poverty-related issues.