WE NEED MORE EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES TO ERADICATE POVERTY
Article by the Director of HSSQ, Eleni Fakotakis
Poverty is no longer only the responsibility of the individual who is found within its confines. Gandhi declared, ‘’Poverty is the worst form of violence’’. I could not agree more! This very wise and well thought-out statement as it implies that, it is a society’s responsibility to eradicate poverty by ensuring that all people have equal and fair access to a quality life. Everyone must be included, everyone is important and covered by Canada’s fundamental principles. Failure to ensure this is a form of violence towards humanity.
Statistics show that unattached individuals are four times more likely to be poor than individuals living in families. They make up 44.3 % of the poor, added to this list are working-age adults aged 18 to 64, these statistics have not improved over the last 30 years. We are seeing younger people affected in greater numbers as they face high levels of unemployment and a lack of good entry-level jobs. Families are also touched by poverty. We see it around us, families are struggling to make ends meet, working long hours at low wages. There are also particular groups who are at risk of extreme economic insecurity, such as Female Lone-Parent Families, recent immigrants, Off-Reserve Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and also autonomous workers and artists who are just starting out their careers or have unstable or seasonal work, who do not qualify for benefits such as sickness insurance, health and dental plans, and paid vacations for example. We observe individuals in some professions making hundreds of dollars per hour, while others, although just as worthy of respect, as they may contribute more towards the betterment of society, are being remunerated at close to minimum wage per hour.
The years of recession have magnified further the difficulties we face, as we have to deal with: