Manitoba Research Alliance awarded $2.5 million SSHRC grant to study how communities can reduce complex poverty

May 29,2020

For Immediate Release (Winnipeg): The Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA) is proud to announce it has been awarded at $2.5 million, seven year, partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to study how complex poverty is perpetuated, and the steps that must be taken to build the social and political power to reduce complex poverty.

The newly approved project “Community-Driven Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities” involves academics from six post-secondary institutions, individual community researchers and dozens of local community partners.

The MRA has made original poverty-related findings and affected public policy during 17 years of SSHRC-funded research. The MRA’s research is community-driven and has informed public policy in Manitoba in a wide variety of areas: education, housing, justice and community economic development. For example MRA-funded research led to the CEDA Pathways led Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges program with Winnipeg highschools and community development initiatives to improve educational outcomes in the Louis Riel School Division. Our research with partner Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) and its Atoskiwin Training Centre highlights the innovative training and development model which is providing decent jobs and much needed housing. The model draws on the partnership between NCN and Manitoba Hydro, exemplifying a new, healthier relationship between the Crown corporation and First Nation communities.

Our research has found that many community-based strategies help some individuals and families move out of poverty, but they are not producing sustainable, transformative change that would significantly reduce poverty. This new grant aims to understand how transformative change can take place on multiple levels inside and outside of the conventional public policy system.

MRA research uses an intersectional approach to look at root causes, racial capitalism and settler colonialism in complex poverty in urban, rural and northern Manitoba. The Manitoba Research Alliance advances the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the MMIWG Calls to Justice in its work. Research is focused on four streams:

1)    Justice, Safety and Security

2)    Housing

3)    Education, Employment and Social Inclusion

4)    Community Economic Development

“This funding allows us to continue to support research on poverty related issues identified by our community-partners. SSHRC funding will allow us to support dozens of undergraduate and graduate students as well as community researchers engaged in research with a goal toward lasting solutions to poverty. Thank you to SSHRC for continuing to fund this important research and enabling us to continue to train and mentor new scholars and build broader community capacity along the way” says John Loxley, Principal Investigator, Professor Economics, University of Manitoba.

The seven-year project is being funded by SSHRC’s Partnership Grant program which supports formal partnerships between academic researchers and a range of community, non-profit, public sector, and private sector partners.


The Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA) is a group of academic researchers, students, and community and government partners producing community-based research on solutions to Indigenous and inner-city poverty. The MRA, hosted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba, has held three successful Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants previously.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Manitoba office (CCPA – MB) is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice.