The Manitoba government has released a new poverty reduction strategy, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced Monday.
Pathways to a Better Future renews the province’s commitment to address the underlying issues related to poverty and create better outcomes for more Manitobans.
“Our renewed strategy aims to break the cycle of poverty by giving Manitobans the resources they need to succeed and our primary goal is to reduce Manitoba’s child poverty rate by 25 per cent by 2025,” said Stefanson. “This plan is guided by Manitobans’ ideas and experiences, driven by outcomes and contains measurable goals and indicators we can use to track success.”
Manitoba’s poverty reduction committee includes provincial ministers responsible for poverty-related policies, programs and services, as well as community members. The province launched a public consultation process in late 2017 and compiled feedback from more than 2,000 Manitobans including those who have experienced poverty. Approximately 1,500 respondents participated in an online survey and more than a dozen community-based organizations hosted in-person meetings.
To measure progress in a transparent and accountable way, the strategy will focus on a new set of 13 indicators and the following six priority areas:
• investing in Manitoba’s future prosperity through supports to children and youth;
• working together to improve health outcomes and standard of living;
• promoting economic inclusion through employment, education and training;
• facilitating partnerships and supporting community-based organizations;
• strengthening client-centred service delivery; and
• making positive change through social innovation.
The minister acknowledged the province’s continued partnerships with many community-based agencies, service providers, Indigenous partners and other governments that share the same commitment to reduce the number of Manitobans living with low incomes and connect them with opportunities and resources needed to succeed.
“We know the effects of poverty on children and families, and welcome a strategy focused on working together to create pathways out of poverty,” said Connie Walker, president and CEO, United Way Winnipeg. “We also appreciate the importance of tracking our progress against key indicators as we move forward.”
Released last week, Statistics Canada’s 2017 Canadian Income Survey shows a 20 per cent improvement in Manitoba’s child poverty rate and a seven per cent improvement to Manitoba’s overall poverty rate to 2017 from 2016. Manitoba now ranks second lowest among the provinces in poverty.
“We are encouraged to see Manitoba’s poverty rate has improved over the past few years and we will continue our work to eradicate poverty in our province,” said Stefanson. “Programs such as Rent Assist will continue to help lift Manitobans out of poverty and further initiatives will be guided through our new strategy.”
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act requires the province to implement a poverty reduction and social inclusion strategy, review and update it every five years, and develop indicators to measure success.
The Pathways to a Better Future report is available here.