Edmonton Social Planning Council - Research Reviews & Updates

The ESPC provides research reviews and updates on a range of social issues

 

Series of provincial and territorial reports by various authors, edited by the Canadian Council on Social Development, 2009. 

Reviewed in July 2009 Research Update


  • Did you know that, unlike in most parts of Canada, poverty rates in rural Nova Scotia are higher than those in urban Nova Scotia?
  •  Did you know that 22% of Yukoners have reported having financial difficulties securing food?
  • Did you know that 50% of children of Aboriginal descent in Saskatchewan live in poverty?

This series of reports takes an in-depth look at poverty, poverty reduction policies, and community action on poverty in 9 provinces and 2 territories (remaining provincial/territorial profiles are forthcoming).  The reports are each written by different authors, and highlight trends and statistics, explain the historical context, and examine current initiatives.

The Alberta report examines our province’s historic boom-bust economic cycle and patterns of poverty. It looks at government responses to poverty: the development of a social safety net, subsequent erosion of supports, and more recently, the challenges posed by the latest economic boom. The Alberta profile also takes into account the growing role of the voluntary sector in addressing poverty, and questions what this might mean for poverty reduction in the province.

We know that many of the provinces and territories have similar struggles to those we face in Alberta when it comes to poverty and the attempt to eliminate it. This series of reports shows how other jurisdictions across Canada are dealing with poverty – both at the local and provincial levels. Unique programs, innovative solutions, and strategic partnerships are being creatively implemented from coast to coast to coast.

For example:

 

 

 

The Newfoundland and Labrador report documents how the consistent work of community groups and government, together with a depressed economy after the collapse of the fisheries shaped the political, social, and economic context in which the province’s Poverty Reduction Strategy – one of the first in Canada – was created. The Poverty Reduction Strategy followed years of collaborative effort marked by both victories and losses for anti-poverty advocates. While there is still a long way to go in terms of dealing with poverty in Newfoundland, the report notes that a lot of progress has been made since the implementation of the provincial strategy in 2006: more people are working, fewer are reliant upon Income Support, and the number of people living below LICO is falling. What can Albertans learn from the experiences of Newfoundlanders?

The BC report similarly looks at the history of poverty and poverty policy responses in the province. It looks at how frequent political shifts and the boom/bust economic cycle in the province have affected social programs and the well-being of communities. It notes that while there are some initiatives on behalf of the government to address poverty, several population groups are now experiencing increased risk of poverty.  Like in Alberta, government seems to have taken a backseat; and it has been civil society actors that have played – and continue to play – the central role in poverty prevention and reduction in BC.

This resource is useful for anybody interested in learning more about poverty and poverty reduction programs across the country. Each provincial/territorial profile is written by local experts, and the references contain information about many of the groups and individuals that work both behind-the-scenes and on the front-lines in poverty reduction. You can download the individual reports from the website of the Canadian Council for Social Development (although beware, there have been some troubles with this website of late), or you can access hard copies in our library.