We're pleased to announce the release of the Poverty Costs report, entitled Poverty Costs Saskatchewan: A New Approach to Prosperity for All. The report gives an overview of poverty in Saskatchewan and its costs, and provides evidence for the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Saskatchewan. You can find the report and the Executive Summary on the Poverty Costs Resources page.
We hope that you'll take a look at the report and circulate it widely. Thanks so much to the report authors: Upstream Policy Director, Charles Plante and Upstream Think Tank Coordinator, Keisha Sharp. And a big thanks to all of the campaign team members that contributed their time and expertise to this project!
The Poverty Costs campaign team, who earlier this year uncovered that poverty costs Saskatchewan $3.8 billion annually, has released an official report detailing the state of poverty in this province and the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Saskatchewan.
The report, developed by Poverty Costs partner organization Upstream, provides evidence that while our province’s booming resource economy has contributed to reduced rates of poverty in Saskatchewan, poverty is deepening for those who continue to experience it. According to Statistics Canada, in 2002, the average poor household in Saskatchewan reported incomes 26.9% below the poverty threshold, while this number rose to 37.6% in 2010. Vicious cycles of poverty, combined with rising costs of living in Saskatchewan, produce significant barriers to health and well-being and prevent people from fully engaging in society both economically and socially.
“Poverty causes poor physical and mental health, and the reverse is also often true,” says Dr. Julie Kryzanowski, Deputy Medical Health Officer in Saskatoon Health Region and co-chair of the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership. “But income is associated with health and wellbeing for everybody, not just for people who can’t afford the needs of daily life. A healthy society can alleviate and prevent poverty through collective and comprehensive actions.”
The report includes an overview of comprehensive poverty reduction strategies throughout Canada, and points out that Saskatchewan is one of two provinces that has not implemented or committed to such a strategy. Comprehensive poverty reduction strategies have proven highly successful in reducing poverty in other resource-rich provinces.
“For example, in Newfoundland, the incidence of low-income in the province decreased from 12% in 2004 to 5% in 2011,” says Charles Plante, co-author of the report.
The report also includes an in depth explanation of the methodology behind the cost of $3.8 billion per year, and argues that given this cost, poverty reduction can be understood as a wise economic investment. It asserts that, given our declining rates of poverty, Saskatchewan is well-positioned to set ambitious poverty reduction targets.
“Poverty continues to cost us so much in human suffering, unmet potential, and direct costs associated with addressing the symptoms of poverty,” says Alison Robertson, a Poverty Costs Representative. “We truly believe that together, we can make a better plan."
Saskatchewan residents are urged to visit the Poverty Costs website, www.povertycosts.ca, and join the call for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan by signing a letter of support to the provincial government.
THE CAMPAIGN & GENERAL INQUIRIES:
Director of Community Development
Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre
POVERTY & HEALTH:
Medical Health Officer,
Saskatoon Health Region