October 16 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. While Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, poverty remains a daily reality for too many people and action must be taken.
Statistics Canada reported this year that 3.2 million Canadians are living below the poverty line. They struggle every day to pay the rent and buy groceries. Ontario Campaign 2000’s report Make Child and Family Poverty History: A Vision for Ontario’s Next Poverty Reduction Strategy found that 18.7 per cent of children under 18, and 20.2 per cent of children under six are living in poverty in our province.
Nobody could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic that has pushed up unemployment and poverty levels, but it is still unthinkable that so many people are facing such widespread financial insecurity. Indigenous, racialized people, recent immigrants, and female-led lone-parent families are especially susceptible.
OPSEU/SEFPO has always done more to fight for our members rights, we’ve always fought to make life better for all Ontarians. It’s in that spirit that we call on the federal and provincial governments to step up and tackle this problem once and for all.
Ensure everyone has a living wage by raising the minimum wage; provide a fully funded and publicly-delivered childcare system and ensure access to affordable and supportive housing – not just shelters – for the homeless.
Poverty can be eradicated. With the proper will and determination, every Canadian can live with dignity every day.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer