Poverty Reduction Strategy Working Group Releases Recommendations

June 26, 2008

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Working Group has handed government its recommendations on how to best tackle poverty in Nova Scotia.

Group members come from organizations representing diverse interests, many of which work with people struggling with poverty. The group met every two weeks over the winter and spring to develop recommendations for the province's poverty reduction strategy.

It presented its recommendations to Judy Streatch, Minister of Community Services, and Mark Parent, Minister of Labour and Workforce Development, co-leads for the strategy, at a meeting today, June 26.

"We believe that investing in people is essential to creating stronger communities, a better future and a prosperous Nova Scotia," said Stephanie Hunter, co-ordinator for Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy and co-chair of the Poverty Reduction Working Group.

"We envision a province where community, business and governments work together and invest in the measurable alleviation, reduction and prevention of poverty."

The ministers thanked the working group for its efforts. "We very much appreciate the working group's dedication and hard work on developing the recommendations," said Ms Streatch. "The theme of collaboration and the need for a long-term approach are consistent with how the issue of poverty needs to be approached by everyone.

"These recommendations will be a significant piece of the development of a sustainable poverty reduction strategy."

Recommendations from the group include improving access to transportation, education and training for low-income Nova Scotians, more support for the disabled, a continued increase in supports to families during the early years of a child's life, a consolidation and enhancement of low-income pharmacare programs, and a change in description of the Employment and Income Assistance Program from a program of last resort to a simple program of support.

"There is an opportunity in every new government initiative to reflect on the implications for all Nova Scotians," said Mr. Parent. "The new Department of Labour and Workforce Development is committed to giving Nova Scotians the opportunity to increase their skills and participate in a thriving, prosperous, workforce.

"Fulfilling that mandate will complement the development of this strategy."

The government's poverty reduction strategy interdepartmental committee will meet in July to develop the strategy, which is expected in the new year.

Government held public consultations in November and March.

Saturday, June 28, marks Nova Scotia's first Poverty Reduction Day. Nova Scotians are encouraged to organize and participate in events aimed at reducing hardships that far too many Nova Scotians face on a daily basis.

See the complete list of recommendations (PDF).


Media Contacts:

Kristen Tynes
Community Services
E-mail: tyneskja@gov.ns.ca

Jacqueline May
Environment and Labour
E-mail: mayjm@gov.ns.ca