Later this year, Canadians will vote in the 43rd federal election. Many non-profit organizations, networks, and coalitions see elections as a critical opportunity to raise relevant public policy issues. Recently, the rules for charities engaging in public policy have become a prominent source of debate and discussion in government and the sector. As we countdown to the next election, The Philanthropist is asking non-profit leaders what public policy issues are top of mind for them.
Name and organization: Lisa Wolff, UNICEF Canada
What current election issues might impact your work?
Canada’s eight million kids can’t vote, but this election will directly affect them. Canada ranks 25th among the world’s 41 richest countries in overall child and youth well-being. Wider income inequality has been having far-reaching impacts on Canada’s children, affecting their health and safety, their happiness, and their aspirations. Climate change matters to this generation, and how Indigenous and newcomer children are included in equitable opportunities will shape the future of Canada. As federal parties and candidates roll out their promises, the extent to which they focus on family incomes, early child education and care, climate change, and equitable services for Indigenous children will determine if Canada will be among the best places to grow up.
What issues would you like to bring more attention to in the election?
Federal parties that put forward policy commitments that will curb the impacts of wider income inequality and the anxiety and insecurity felt by Canada’s families and children will take Canada to the top of international league tables of child and youth well-being. At UNICEF Canada we want the next federal government to add an income supplement to the Canada Child Benefit for the lowest income families with children to help reduce the rate of child poverty by 60%. We need to invest earlier in children’s lives by dedicating 6% of the federal budget for children in Canada younger than six years old to ensure every child can access high quality early learning and care. Fairness for Indigenous children would end funding shortfalls in public services, including clean water, health care, education and protection, by implementing the Spirit Bear Plan.
Where can we learn more about these issues?