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: Nick Saul, Community Food Centres Canada
What current election issues might impact your work?
Community Food Centres Canada works in low-income neighbourhoods with populations that face high rates of poverty, food insecurity, and poor health.
From 2015 to 2017, 825,000 Canadians were pulled out of poverty, but, still, nearly 10% of our neighbours struggle to make ends meet. The Poverty Reduction Strategy set the goal for Canada to reduce poverty by 50% of 2015 levels by 2030, though there’s no clear pathway yet to get us there. This is an urgent matter. We need to keep pressing for more inclusive policies so more Canadians can afford good food for themselves and their families.
What issues would you like to bring more attention to in the election?
While provincial governments have jurisdiction over social assistance and minimum wages, the federal government has an effective lever to increase the incomes of Canadians living in poverty through the tax system. The Canada Child Benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors have decreased poverty in those populations, but we need to further strengthen the social safety net for adults aged 18-64. Increasing benefits for low-income workers and people with disabilities will start to move the needle for these citizens.
Where can we learn more about these issues?