No time to lose: Meeting Canada’s SDGs

Approving good plans and failing to implement them is also true in Canada. With the release of Opportunity for All in August 2018, followed by the introduction of the Poverty Reduction Act in November 2018, the federal government has for the first time set targets for reducing poverty in Canada, defined an official poverty line, and established a framework and a process for reporting publicly on progress – in keeping with its commitment to “end poverty in all of its forms everywhere” set out in the 2030 Agenda. The report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives praises this “significant policy win”, which provides “an architecture and different mechanisms for holding governments to account for creating a society where everyone’s basic needs are assured and their active participation in community life supported”. But, at the same time, it adds, the report “does not include any new investments in the programmes needed to achieve the strategy’s stated goals”. The targets to reduce poverty by 20 percent by 2020 and by 50 percent by 2030 “lack ambition and sense of urgency”. The report values the new plan “more as a framework than a strategy to accelerate poverty reduction. A strategy implies a plan to get from where we are to where we seek to go – and, crucially, the resources to back it up. On this score, low income Canadians are still waiting.”

“Another generation of children will grow up in poverty and millions more will continue to struggle.” The government should have taken more decisive action to address the immediate needs of those living in deepest poverty and to strengthen Canada’s social safety net through investments in universally accessible childcare, national pharmacare and training and educational programmes tailored to those in need. “In the end,” concludes the report, “policy-making, like budgets, is about choices and values. And the choices we make today will determine the long-term sustainability of our society and our economy for generations to come.”

By Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Read this chapter here.

Source: Report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2019.