On December 13, 2007, An Act to Establish a Poverty Reduction Working Group was passed unanimously by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. A Poverty Reduction Working Group was then created to provide recommendations to the Government of Nova Scotia on the creation of a poverty reduction strategy. The Nova Scotia government released its Poverty Reduction Strategy on April 3, 2009, Preventing Poverty. Promoting Prosperity. Nova Scotia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
“The vision for 2020: to break the cycle of poverty by creating opportunities for all Nova Scotians to participate in the prosperity of the province and enjoy a better standard of living.” The four main goals of the strategy are:
- Enable and reward work
- Improve supports for those in need
- Focus on our children
- Collaborate and coordinate
To achieve these goals the plan includes the creation of a poverty reduction committee and coordinator to enhance collaboration and coordination, investments in training opportunities and housing, increases to income assistance, expansion of the Nova Scotia child benefit and the creation of more subsidized child-care spaces. To ensure accountability the Poverty Reduction Working Group is responsible for establishing benchmarks and measures and periodically reporting on the progress of the poverty-reduction strategy. The adoption of a poverty reduction strategy by the Nova Scotia government represents a step in the right direction. However, the plan needs targets to measure meaningful progress.
- The SchoolsPlus program was expanded in 2014, providing accessible services for low-income families.
Since the introduction of Nova Scotia’s poverty reduction strategy in 2009, no tangible targets have been set to measure progress. In fact, no progress reports have been released since the strategy was created seven years ago. The province is host to extremely high rates of food insecurity and child poverty, issues that can only be addressed through the implementation of an effective and comprehensive strategy. Without proper targets, timelines, reporting and accountability mechanisms, Nova Scotia will face significant obstacles to meeting its goal of reducing poverty by 2020