In 2006, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador implemented Reducing Poverty: An Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador. With this strategy, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador set an ambitious goal of becoming the province with the lowest level of poverty in Canada.
As part of the strategy, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is required to produce a report every two years outlining progress on all indicators. Although the last report was released in 2014, a number of initiatives, including a “government-wide approach to reducing poverty,” have kept the strategy somewhat alive.
The Newfoundland case is particularly interesting from a BC perspective because BC and Newfoundland shared the unwelcome distinction of having the highest rates in Canada until the government of Newfoundland and Labrador chose to address it unlike the BC government. In 2014, Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest poverty rate in the country. However, the 2016 budget announced massive “expenditure reductions” in the hopes of balancing the budget. Simply put, it is cutting back or “restructuring” multiple programs.
In 2016, the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development was created to oversee, among other key areas, “initiatives to foster poverty reduction.” A Poverty Reduction Division was also established. Additionally, the 2017/2018 provincial budget contains several new poverty reduction initiatives and additional funding for existing ones. On October 1, 2017, the minimum wage increased by 25 cents to $11.