Winnipeg Without Poverty: Calling on the City to Lead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [May 2, 2018]: Make Poverty History Manitoba launched it’s city poverty reduction plan Winnipeg Without Poverty: Calling on the City to Lead at 10am, May 2.

This report, endorsed by more than 90 organizations, calls on Winnipeg’s Mayor to be a champion for poverty reduction and commit to leading the development of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan. Up to 107,000 Winnipeggers are living in poverty.

The community-based plan offers fifty recommendations that the City can implement as part of its own plan in policy areas such as housing, transportation, food security, policing and safety.

“Our Mayor has spoken out publicly in support of reconciliation and has embarked the City of Winnipeg upon a ‘Journey of Reconciliation’, said Lorie English, chair of Make Poverty History Manitoba’s city working group. “However, the Mayor has not yet fully acknowledged the link between reconciliation and poverty reduction.”

Indigenous people are over-represented in poverty-related statistics. The poverty rate among Indigenous Winnipeggers is 35% compared to 14% of non-Indigenous Winnipeggers.  Reconciliation will require closing the gap in social and economic outcomes that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The City can do its part by implementing a comprehensive poverty reduction plan with progress indicators that have targets and timelines as a key piece of its “Journey of Reconciliation.”

To date, the City’s poverty reduction initiatives have been implemented on an ad hoc basis, rather than through a strategic plan that guides priorities and planning. The report reviews poverty reduction efforts in other Canadian cities and concludes that Winnipeg is lagging far behind places like Calgary and Edmonton, which both have comprehensive plans. The report also concludes that the most successful municipal plans are those that are championed by the Mayor. Hence, today’s call to action.

As we head toward the next municipal election in October 2018, Make Poverty History Manitoba will lead Winnipeggers in a campaign calling on our next Mayor to be a champion for poverty reduction and commit to developing a comprehensive plan.

Combating poverty in Winnipeg will require the coordinated efforts of all levels of government. While the report’s recommendations focus on actions to be taken by the City, it is not intended to absolve other levels of governments from responsibility. The report calls on the City to be held primarily accountable for the success of its own plan, while advocating to other levels of government to do their part.

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