Our team is pleased to present “From Experience: Community Voices for Saskatchewan’s Poverty Reduction Plan. A Community Consultation” by Poverty Costs. The report is based on consultations held in March and April of 2015. The goal of this consultation was to ensure that individuals with a lived experience of poverty had the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on what should be included in the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction’s (AGPR) recommendations for Saskatchewan’s poverty reduction strategy. Over 130 individuals participated and 10 organizations submitted group discussions. We extend our sincere thank you to all organizations and individual who came together to make this report possible.
Frequent barriers to moving out of poverty identified by respondents included:
- rising costs of living without adequate, indexed income or income support
- lack of transportation options and accessibility
- high housing costs and lack of appropriate housing options
- limited education and support to access further education
- lack of access to secure, well-paying jobs
- lack of supports for parents, including daycare
Primary supports in helping “make ends meet” included:
- employment income
- government income support
Responses about what might help people move out of poverty, and prevent others in Saskatchewan from falling into poverty were most often related to systems-level change. Changes identified included:
- access to safe and affordable housing
- employment opportunities
- supports for training and education
- improved supports for childcare
- universal guaranteed income
- minimum wage and social assistance indexed to the costs of living
Throughout the consultation, it was very clear that poverty has complex and diverse causes and solutions. The results strongly support comprehensive and system level change to reduce poverty in our province.
The report was submitted to the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction in May, 2015 with the hope that the experience and ideas of those with a lived experience of poverty are considered for the AGPRs recommendations for the provincial poverty reduction strategy.
We look forward to reviewing the AGPRs recommendations once they are released.