In the wake of a large grass large grassroots movement towards developing a poverty strategy, Lieutenant Governor Schofield announced in his October 2014 Speech from the Throne that Saskatchewan would develop its first Poverty Reduction Strategy. Following the announcement, the Ministry of Social Services created and appointed the Saskatchewan Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction.
In February 2016 the Saskatchewan Government released the Saskatchewan Poverty Reduction Strategy which aims to reduce poverty by 50% by then end of 2025 through a number of initiatives to benefit those living in poverty.
The plan focuses on:
- income security
- housing and homelessness
- early childhood development and child care
- education and training
- health and food security
- vulnerable families and people
The new strategy rests on four pillars:
- Sustaining a strong economy
- Ensuring citizens have a higher level of disposable income to use at their discretion
- Removing the barriers to independence
- Providing financial support to Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable citizens.
The strategy has been criticized for its lack of targets and long term goals by groups working on poverty in the province. Many feel that the strategy isn’t adequate to address the diverse areas outlined in the plan.
In addition, recent announcements by the provincial government have met significant critique from individuals living in poverty. For example, in August 2016 the province announced cutbacks for SAID, social assistance, and the shelter allowance that will drastically affect an estimated 2,700 people living with disabilities. For example, as reported in a CTV news article, one recipient estimated that he will be living off $150 a month due to these cuts.
For more detailed analysis, visit Canada Without Poverty’s Poverty Progress Profiles.