SENATE SÉNAT POVERTY, HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS:

SENATE SÉNAT POVERTY, HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS:
SENATE
SÉNAT
POVERTY, HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS:
ISSUES AND OPTIONS
First Report of the Subcommittee on Cities
of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Chair
The Honourable Art Eggleton, P.C.
Acting Deputy Chair
The Honourable Wilbert Keon
June 2008
Ce document est disponible en français
Available on the Parliamentary Internet:
www.parl.gc.ca
(Committee Business – Senate - Recent Reports)
39th Parliament – 2nd Session
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MEMBERSHIP .................................................................................................................. i
ORDER OF REFERENCE .............................................................................................. ii
INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 1
WHY A FOCUS ON POVERTY/ POVERTY THROUGH AN URBAN LENS........ 2
ISSUES AND OPTIONS .................................................................................................. 6
I. INCOME SUPPORT SYSTEMS ........................................................................ 6
WORKING AGE ADULTS ......................................................................................... 7
Employment Insurance........................................................................................ 7
Social Assistance............................................................................................... 10
FOCUSED OPTIONS ............................................................................................... 10
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE................................................................................... 11
Expand (restore) EI eligibility .......................................................................... 11
Return the EI program to its insurance principles ........................................... 14
FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN .................................................................................. 16
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ................................................................................. 17
SENIORS ................................................................................................................ 21
BROADER OPTIONS .............................................................................................. 21
II. FACILITATING A TRANSITION FROM SOCIAL ASSISTANCE .................
TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND MAKING WORK PAY ................................ 27
III. POVERTY BEYOND MONEY .......................................................................... 32
FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN ................................................................................... 32
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ................................................................................. 34
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ............................................................................... 34
IV. HOUSING ............................................................................................................. 38
AFFORDABILITY ................................................................................................... 39
SUPPLY OF AFFORDABLE MARKET HOUSING ....................................................... 42
SUPPLY OF SOCIAL HOUSING ................................................................................ 46
ACCESS ................................................................................................................. 53
OPTIONS TO INCREASE ACCESS FOR IMMIGRANT FAMILIES ............................... 54
HOMELESSNESS .................................................................................................... 55
V. MACHINERY ........................................................................................................ 61
A. Intra-Governmental Arrangements ...................................................................... 61
B. Inter-Governmental Arrangements ...................................................................... 63
VI. ACTION ................................................................................................................ 68
A. Unilateral Action .................................................................................................. 68
B. Bilateral Action .................................................................................................... 69
C. Multilateral Action ............................................................................................... 70
VI. THE PEOPLE ....................................................................................................... 70
APPENDIX I: JOHN STAPLETON’S PROPOSAL ................................................. 71
APPENDIX II: THE CALEDON INSITUTE’S PROPOSAL FOR .............................
A NEW ARCHITECTURE FOR ADULT BENEFITS ....................................... 73
APPENDIX III: PROPOSALS FOR A NATIONAL .....................................................
POVERTY-REDUCTION STRATEGY ............................................................... 76
APPENDIX IV: LIST OF OPTIONS .......................................................................... 79
APPENDIX V: WITNESS LIST .................................................................................. 85
The Committee would like to thank the following staff for their hard work in the
preparation of this report:
From the Library of Parliament:
Havi Echenberg, Analyst
Brian O`Neal, Analyst
Assisted by:
Sandra Elgersma, Analyst
Tyler Kustra, Analyst
Clara Morgan, Analyst
From the Committees Directorate:
Josée Thérien, Clerk of the Committee, 1st Session of the 39th Parliament
Barbara Reynolds, Clerk of the Committee, 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament
Louise Pronovost, Administrative Assistant, 1st Session of the 39th Parliament
Tracy Amendola, Administrative Assistant, 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament
The committee wishes to express special thanks to its witnesses, many of whom
work very hard to improve the lives of low-income Canadians and travelled far to
give their testimony. Their words have enlightened and inspired the Committee.
MEMBERSHIP
The following Senators have participated in the study on the inquiry on Poverty,
Housing and Homelessness of the Subcommittee on Cities:
The Honourable Art Eggleton, P.C., Chair of the Committee
The Honourable Andrée Champagne, P.C., Deputy Chair of the Committee
The Honourable Wilbert Keon, Acting Deputy Chair of the Committee
The Honourable Senators:
Jane Cordy
Jim Munson
Marilyn Trenholme Counsell
Ex-officio members of the Committee:
The Honourable Senators: Céline Hervieux-Payette, P.C. or (Claudette Tardif) and
Marjory LeBreton, P.C. or (Gérald J. Comeau)
Other Senators who have participated from time to time on this study:
The Honourable Senators Bert Brown, Ethel Cochrane, Joan Cook, Joyce Fairbairn,
P.C. and Hugh Segal
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i
ORDER OF REFERENCE
Extract from the Journals of the Senate of Tuesday, November 20, 2007:
The Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., moved, seconded by the Honourable Senator
Adams:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be
authorized to examine and report on current social issues pertaining to Canada's largest
cities. In particular, the Committee shall be authorized to examine:
(a) poverty
(b) housing and homelessness
(c) social infrastructure
(d) social cohesion
(e) immigrant settlement
(f) crime
(g) transportation
(h) the role of the largest cities in Canada's economic development
That the study be national in scope, with a focus on the largest urban community in
each of the provinces;
That the study report propose solutions, with an emphasis on collaborative strategies
involving, federal, provincial and municipal governments;
That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the
Committee on this subject since the beginning of the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth
Parliament be referred to the Committee; and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2009, and that the
Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the
tabling of the final report.
The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.
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ii
INTRODUCTION
The Committee’s mandate, as set forth in its Order of Reference, is to “examine and
report on current social issues pertaining to Canada's largest cities.” Based on population
counts from the most recent Census, the Committee determined that it would concentrate
its attention primarily (if not exclusively) on the following Canadian cities:
•
Vancouver
•
Calgary
•
Edmonton
•
Saskatoon
•
Regina
•
Winnipeg
•
Toronto
•
Ottawa-Gatineau
•
Montréal
•
Ville de Québec
•
Saint John,
•
Halifax
•
Charlottetown
•
St. John’s
In order to fulfill its mandate, the Committee adopted a work plan that divided its review
into five major categories, or “building blocks.” The first building block consists of an
examination of the capacity of Canada’s major cities to cope with significant social
challenges at a time when many responsibilities are being transferred to municipalities
from senior levels of government.1
1
The five building blocks are: Social Capacity; Infrastructure; Environmental Sustainability; Urban
Governance and Fiscal Capacity; and Economic Development and International Competitiveness.
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1
The Committee chose, as its first consideration under the Social Capacity building block,
to focus on poverty, housing and homelessness. In making this choice, the Committee
was especially mindful that in 1970, a Special Committee of the Senate chaired by
Senator David A. Croll, tabled what was then, and remains today, a landmark report on
poverty. Poverty in Canada, or as it is more widely known, the Croll Report, did what a
subsequent report of this Committee did with regard to mental illness: it brought poverty
out of the shadows.2 The Committee also drew inspiration from the work of the
Honourable Erminie Cohen, former Senator, whose 1997 report Sounding the Alarm:
Poverty in Canada reminded the country that the plight of low-income Canadians
remained unacceptable and deserved immediate attention. Lastly, but of great
importance, the Committee notes the significant work done by the Senate Standing
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, whose work on rural poverty complements this
Committee’s focus on urban poverty.
Initially, the Committee held seven meetings and heard from 32 individuals representing
20 organizations on the theme of poverty, housing and homelessness. However, it rapidly
became apparent that both the phenomena and the understanding of poverty, housing and
homelessness have become more complex over the 38 years since the tabling of the Croll
Report. Furthermore, it became disturbingly clear that poverty, housing and homelessness
are as present and as grave a challenge today as they were when Senator Croll rose in the
Senate Chamber to table the Special Committee’s Report. Consequently, the Committee
determined that a thorough and comprehensive exploration of all aspects of poverty,
housing and homelessness would require an extended series of hearings to develop a
solid evidentiary foundation upon which to make effective and achievable
recommendations.
WHY A FOCUS ON POVERTY/ POVERTY THROUGH AN URBAN LENS
Regardless of where it occurs, poverty in a prosperous, advanced country such as Canada
is a serious issue. The absence of adequate income, housing, food, clothing, choices, and
opportunities to participate fully in the life of the broader community – all of the
deprivations that poverty brings with it – fall as heavily on low-income Canadians in one
part of the country as in another. Yet there are compelling reasons why urban poverty
should be of particular concern and therefore merit the attention of Canadians
everywhere.
Since the aftermath of World War II, the trend toward urbanization has been picking up
speed in Canada and with it, the concentration of poverty in Canada’s largest cites. In
1967, the year of Canada’s Centennial celebrations, Statistics Canada observed that “[a]n
increasing pace towards urbanization means that low income will become more and more
2
Senate Standing Committee on Social Policy, Science and Technology: Out of the Shadows at Last:
Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada, May 2006.
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2
an urban problem.”3 In March 2007, Statistics Canada began to release the preliminary
results of the 2006 Census. These early results confirmed the trends that were predicted
forty years earlier. In 2006, four out of every five individuals, more than 80 per cent,
lived in an urban centre of 10,000 people or more. Just over two-thirds (68 per cent) of
Canada's population in 2006 lived in the nation's 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs).4
Figure 1: Proportion of the Canadian population living in urban regions since 1901
Data gathered during the 2006 Census showed that an estimated 3.4 million Canadians
(or 10.5 per cent) lived in low income (after-taxes) in 20065. In nine of the 14 CMAs that
are the focus of the Committee’s review, the percentage of the population living below
the post-tax Low Income Cut Off (LICO) exceeds the national average.
In a report on urban poverty released in 2007, the United Way of Greater Toronto
(UWGT) noted that in 2000, the effects of the recession of the early 1990’s lingered on
for many. As evidence, UWGT pointed to the increased use of food banks and emergency
shelters, and warnings issued by social services agencies that their clients were falling
further and further behind. The UWGT asserted that:
3
Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Statistics on Low Income in Canada, 1967, Cat. No. 13-536, p. 11, as cited
in Poverty in Canada, Report of the Special Senate Committee on Poverty [Croll Committee], Ottawa,
1971, p. 18.
4
Statistics Canada, The Daily, 13 March 2007.
(http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070313/d070313a.htm) Statistics Canada defines a Census
Metropolitan Area, or CMA, as an “[a]rea consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated
around a major urban core. A census metropolitan area must have a total population of at least 100,000 of
which 50,000 or more live in the urban core.”
5
Statistics Canada, The Daily, 5 May 2008, http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/080505/d080505a.htm
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3
Nowhere are these changes felt more keenly than in Canadian cities. As
Canada’s population has become increasingly urbanized, the number of
poor households living in urban areas has grown as well. Today, chronic
levels of poverty, polarized job opportunities, low wages, and
unaffordable and inadequate housing in large cities create a fundamental
challenge to the future of Canada and the quality of life of Canadians.
Although stark disparities remain between rural or remote communities
and urban centres, the experience of deprivation in cities – especially
Canada’s largest cities – is now significant.6
Figure 2: Percentage of Population below After-Tax
Low Income Cut Off (LICO), 2005
CMA
Vancouver
Calgary
Edmonton
Saskatoon
Regina
Winnipeg
Toronto
OttawaGatineau
Montréal
Ville de
Québec
Saint John
Charlottetown
Halifax
St. John’s
Total
16.5 %
10.3
10.6
12.2
10.0
14.6
18.4
11.7
Male
15.9 %
10.0
9.8
11.1
9.4
13.6
17.5
11.2
Female
17.1 %
10.7
11.4
13.3
10.6
15.6
19.2
12.1
16.1
12.0
15.2
10.6
17.0
13.3
10.7
13.8
10.8
16.1
10.0
13.1
10.2
14.8
11.4
14.3
11.4
17.3
Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Community Profiles
The Conference Board of Canada has argued that the concentration of poverty in
Canada’s major cities is a matter that should be of concern to all Canadians regardless of
where they live or the standard of living they enjoy. At the conclusion of a lengthy study
of Canada’s economic prosperity in the context of globalization, “Canada’s prosperity,”
the Conference Board stated “unequivocally depends on the success of our major cities.”7
In January 2008, the Canada West Foundation released its own study of big cities in
Canada with an emphasis on the rapid urbanization occurring in western provinces.
Conclusions reached by this study mirrored those of the Conference Board, stressing the
6
Canadian Council on Social Development, Poverty by Geography: Urban Poverty in Canada, 2000,
Ottawa, 2007, p. 2. http://www.ccsd.ca/pubs/2007/upp/Poverty%20by%20Geography.pdf
7
The Conference Board of Canada, The Canada Project, Mission Possible: Sustainable Prosperity for
Canada: Volume III, Mission Possible: Successful Canadian Cities, Ottawa, 2007, p. viii.
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4
“tremendous importance of Canada’s big cities to our future economic prospects,
standard of living, and quality of life.”8
Poverty poses significant challenges to Canada’s major cities, challenges that may
compromise their ability to act as engines for this country’s prosperity. Christopher Leo,
Professor of Political Science at the University of Manitoba, argues that poverty in an
urban setting is not simply a matter of interest to academics, policy makers, politicians
and advocacy organizations: it is of concern to Canadians generally and the residents of
our large cities in particular:
Cities are our primary generators of ideas, our centres of economic control,
and of much important production, even in an economy driven by
commodities. The prosperity of us all, even those of us who work in rural
areas, depends on the prosperity of our cities. As surely as all Canadians rely
on commodity production, we rely on the health of our cities, and of the
networks of infrastructure and services that keep them viable.9
Faced with mounting debts and economic recession in the early 1990s, Canada’s federal
and provincial governments reduced their provision of, and funding for, social programs.
As a consequence of this withdrawal, Canadian cities faced a growing obligation to
support their low-income citizens, without the resources to adequately fulfill the
obligation. Shrinking programs and services to sustain those in low income constrained
the ability of low-income city dwellers to “play the roles, meet the obligations and
participate in the relationships and customs of their society”10 (in this case, the cities in
which they live) – resulting in further disadvantage to major cities whose human capital
deteriorated as a result.
For these reasons, the Committee decided to consider carefully the lives and experiences
of low-income Canadians living in major cities today. The Committee wanted to discover
the paths to poverty for these individuals and families … and what paths they followed to
escape it. Are these Canadians assisted by programs and services intended to respond to
their needs or are they simply being sustained – kept alive – in low-income circumstances
without hope of a better life for them and for their children? What is working for them
and for Canada and what is not? What lessons can be learned from their experience and
how can these lessons be applied in order to build a more sustainable, equitable, and
prosperous Canada?
8
Casey G. Vander Ploeg, Big Cities and the Census: The Growing Importance of Big Cities on the
Demographic Landscape, Canada West Foundation, Calgary, January 2008, p. i.
http://www.cwf.ca/V2/cnt/publication_200801280932.php
9
Christopher Leo, http://canadasworld.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/are-cities-really-that-important/
Peter Townsend, “What is Poverty? An historical perspective,” Poverty in Focus, International Poverty
Centre, December 2006, pp. 5-6, cited by Lars Osberg, “The Evolution of Poverty Measurement – with
special reference to Canada, Draft 1.3, 9 February 2007, p. 41.
10
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5
As it conducted its hearings, these questions as well as others, were the ones which the
Committee sought answers to from its witnesses. In the report that follows, the
Committee identifies the challenges confronting Canada, its large urban centres, and the
women, men, and children living in them, including those living in low income and
coping with exclusion, and those in government and civil society labouring to help them.
These challenges are framed as issues which are followed by proposed solutions, or
options, some from our witnesses, and some gathered from other analyses and research.
At this stage, the Committee has not formulated a preference for any option; rather, it is
the Committee’s profound hope that setting out issues and options will provoke further
thought and discussion. When this process is complete, the Committee will table a report
with concluding observations and recommendations designed to achieve the goals of
more resilient, dynamic, and robust cities and a better life for all who live in them.
ISSUES AND OPTIONS
I.
INCOME SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Issue 1:
Income Support Systems are Broken
The social welfare structure so laboriously and painstakingly erected in
Canada over the past forty years has clearly outlived its usefulness. The social
scientists who have studied it, the bureaucrats who have administered it, and
the poor who have experienced it are of one mind that in today’s swiftly
changing world the welfare system is a hopeless failure. The matter is not
even controversial. But what is to take its place?11
A great deal has changed since a Special Senate Committee published this assessment of
Canada’s income support systems, but one thing has not: the system remains a “hopeless
failure.”
Twenty-one years later, in 1992, another alert was issued, this time by the Economic
Council of Canada. The Council warned that Canada’s system of income security
programs was “under considerable strain,”12 noting that many low-income Canadians
were “supported by neither unemployment insurance nor social assistance.”13 In the years
following the release of the Council’s report, the federal and provincial/territorial
governments made significant changes to income support systems, motivated by their
assessment that the elimination of deficits and reduction of debt were of fundamental
importance. The intent of the changes was to cut costs by restricting access to income
support, shortening the duration of benefits, and reducing benefit levels. These changes
achieved their purpose: the numbers of beneficiaries plunged, expenditures fell,
11
Poverty in Canada, Report of the Special Senate Committee on Poverty [Croll Report], Ottawa, 1970,
Foreword, p. vii.
12
Economic Council of Canada, The New Face of Poverty: Income Security Needs of Canadian Families,
Ottawa, 1992, p. 45.
13
Ibid.
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6
government debt was reduced, and deficits largely eliminated. However, fundamental
structural problems remained unresolved, there was little if any harmonization among
programs, and the ability of the income support system to address poverty deteriorated
further.
Today, there is a broad consensus that income support systems in Canada are, if not
entirely broken, not achieving their goals. Some question whether these systems have
been weakened to the point that they will be inadequate in the event of an economic
downturn14. Yet income support systems represent a major expense for governments and
taxpayers, with some estimates placing the annual cost at approximately $100 billion15. In
contrast, the return in terms of reducing poverty or genuinely assisting those without
employment has been disappointing.
WORKING AGE ADULTS
For working-age adults, there are two central income support systems: the Employment
Insurance (EI) program administered by the federal government and social assistance
(welfare) programs delivered by the provinces. Both the design and purpose of these
programs have been modified over time and yet one shared characteristic remains
immutable – the failure to fully satisfy the purposes they are designed to serve.
Employment Insurance
The Employment Insurance program, first established in 1940 as Unemployment
Insurance, was originally designed to partially replace income lost by those who had
experienced temporary, unpredictable cessation of employment. It was financed largely
by employees and employers, although the federal government made a small (20 per
cent) contribution and covered administrative costs. The program was gradually
expanded (wider coverage, increased payments, easier access, benefits provided over
longer periods of time) in the 1950s and 1970s.
Faced with an economic recession in the early 1990s, the federal government initiated a
series of restrictions that culminated in 1996 in an overhaul of the program and its
renaming as the Employment Insurance program.
The current EI program pays about $10 billion each year in income benefits to
individuals, providing financial assistance every month to thousands of workers who find
themselves without a job. Through the provisions of sickness, maternity, parental and
compassionate leave benefits, EI also provides assistance to workers who have
interruptions in employment for personal reasons, making the program more integral to
all Canadians' life decisions.
14
Professor Keith Banting is unequivocal, stating before a Library of Parliament Seminar on Guaranteed
Annual Income that Canada’s income support “systems currently are broken, […] I don't think we've got a
good system in place.” Library of Parliament, Seminar on Rethinking Income Support: A Guaranteed
Annual Income, Ottawa, April 11, 2008.
15
Stapleton, Issue 2, 13 December 2007.
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7
Changes made in 1996 tightened eligibility for benefits, reduced payments, and shortened
the maximum duration of benefits. As a result, approximately 48 per cent of unemployed
Canadians, by Richard Shillington’s estimate, qualify for benefits and these numbers vary
considerably by region. In Ontario, for example, only 25 per cent of the unemployed
qualify for benefits. There are also significant differences in coverage between major
cities: coverage varies from 20.7 per cent in Ottawa to 51.5 per cent in St. John’s, as
demonstrated in the figure below.
Figure 3: Percentage of Unemployed Receiving
Regular EI Benefits, by Major City, 2004
Source: Ken Battle, Michael Mendelson and Sherri Torjman, Towards a New
Architecture for Canada’s Adult Benefits,
Caledon Institute of Social Policy, 2006, p. 17.
In the Greater Toronto Area, only 22 per cent of the unemployed receive EI benefits;
although people in Toronto account for about 19 per cent of all contributions to the EI
fund, they receive only about 10 per cent of the benefits. Ontario contributes 41 per cent
and gets approximately 28 per cent of the benefits. (Shillington, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
One of the Committee’s witnesses offered this assessment of the changes made in the
1990s:
When you compare the benefits being paid in the early 1990s to
now, overall benefit levels have dropped by about one third after
adjusting for inflation. For lower income Canadians, it has dropped
by half. We have taken benefits away from the most vulnerable for
reasons that escape me. (Shillington, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
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8
Other witnesses told the Committee that there are Canadians who pay premiums to the
Program but do not work sufficient hours to receive benefits (13 per cent of those who
are ineligible for benefits). A further 26 per cent of unemployed Canadians are not
eligible for EI benefits because they had never worked (many of these are young
Canadians just entering the job market for the first time), while 15 per cent did not
qualify because they left their last jobs for reasons – including returning to school – not
deemed valid under EI rules. Women represent a disproportionate share of those not
covered by EI, as are young people. (Vincent, Evidence, 29 May 2008) In contrast, the
program appears to favour frequent applicants (over 40 per cent are repeat users), many
of them employed in seasonal industries.
Women have been especially hard-hit by changes to the EI program. Under the rules
introduced in 1996, individuals require 600 hours of employment over the previous 52
weeks to qualify for benefits. Because women make up the majority of Canadians
holding precarious employment (part-time or temporary jobs), they pay premiums with
little hope of ever qualifying for benefits. In cases where women do qualify for EI, "the
benefits may be so low at their wage levels as to be less than social assistance."16
Maternity and parental benefits provided under the EI program are also unavailable to
these women. In addition, 840,000 self-employed women are excluded from these
benefits.17
Witnesses also informed the Committee that several factors combine to limit how much
immigrants benefit from EI. Due to various labour market barriers, immigrants often end
up in precarious or informal work, and do not work enough hours to qualify for EI.
Secondly, a high percentage of recent immigrants have settled in urban areas – in
particular Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal – areas where the rates of EI qualification
are already low. Finally, even when immigrants qualify for EI affiliated training, they
may have different needs from mainstream Canadian beneficiaries, such as Canadian
experience or credential recognition.
For those for whom EI benefits are out of reach, the only government support available to
them is social assistance – welfare – a program universally disliked and referred to as a
last resort. Professor Keith Banting summed up the current state of the EI program by
stating that it is: “... a national disgrace on a number of levels.”18
16
Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, FACT sheet, Women's experiences of
social programs for people with low incomes, 2007, p. 9 http://www.criaw-icref.ca/
17
Ibid, p. 9.
18
Banting, 2008.
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Social Assistance
Social assistance, or “welfare”, is the social safety net of last resort in Canada. There are
13 separate social assistance systems in Canada, one for each of the provinces and
territories.19 In Ontario, the social assistance program accounts for approximately 5per
cent of annual income-security expenditures20. During the 1990s, the rules governing
access to social assistance were tightened; it became more difficult for those deemed
employable to receive social assistance, and if they did, they often received lower
benefits than those deemed “unemployable”. Social assistance payments in general were
reduced; the National Council of Welfare, an advisory body to the federal government,
reports that welfare incomes peaked in 1994 and have declined since, calling some of the
losses “staggering.21” For almost all recipients, social assistance payments are not
sufficient to lift them above Statistics Canada’s after-tax Low-Income Cut Offs
(LICOs).22 The gap between benefits and what is needed to make ends meet is especially
large in cities. Yet despite the explicit intention to move social-assistance recipients into
the labour market, disincentives are built into social-assistance systems that discourage
this transition.
Witnesses and other analysts agree that social assistance is demeaning to recipients.
Canadians receiving social assistance are often subject to intrusive rules and regulations
and stigmatization. Earnings from other sources in excess of certain limits result in
benefit reductions or claw-backs. Yet there is also concern that receipt of social
assistance can create a dependency relationship. This outcome is reinforced by what is
called the “welfare wall;” moving from social assistance into employment often results in
the loss of benefits such as medical and dental care, thus leaving individuals worse off.
FOCUSED OPTIONS
Some suggestions to the Committee concentrated on specific programs that make up the
income support system, on elements of those programs, and on the impacts of some
programs on particular groups within the general population. These are listed first among
the options. A second set of proposals address these systems as a whole and call for
system-wide, coordinated change. These options follow the more focused options.
19
National Council of Welfare, Welfare Incomes in 2005, Ottawa, October 2006, p. 1.
http://www.ncwcnbes.net/en/research/welfare-bienetre.html
20
John Stapleton, Why is it so tough to get ahead? How our tangled social programs pathologize the
transition to self-reliance, Metcalf Foundation, Toronto, December 2007, p. 7
http://www.metcalffoundation.com
21
National Council of Welfare, Welfare Incomes 2006: Patterns and Trends, p. 2, Ottawa, 2006,
http://www.ncwcnbes.net/en/home.html
22
The National Council of Welfare reports that in 2006, welfare incomes were less than two-thirds of the
after-tax LICO for 22 of the 52 scenarios it tracked. For five scenarios welfare incomes were equal to or
higher than 80per cent of the after-tax LICO, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, under the lone-parent
scenario, the welfare income reached 99per cent of the after-tax LICO. With the exception of the latter
scenario, none brought witnesses to, or above, the after-tax LICO. Source: Welfare Incomes 2006: Patterns
and Trends, p. 3.
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10
Option 1: Maintain the status quo and concentrate on the most vulnerable
Prior to the changes made in the 1990s, there was a concern that the income support
system was too costly to sustain (and thus a contributor to government debt and deficits)
and fostered dependency among recipients while serving as a disincentive for labourmarket participation.
Beginning in the mid-1990s and continuing since, overall poverty rates have fallen along
with unemployment. Some analysts assert that this is evidence of the effectiveness of the
changes to the income support system, and recommend only refined interventions
focused on education among the poor; “Aboriginal poverty; the mentally ill and
physically handicapped; the ghetto poor; high effective tax rates on the “near poor”; and
in-work benefits such as earnings supplements.”23
Others claim that these reduced low-income rates are still too high and reflect the benefits
of a robust economy. They predict that an economic downturn will reveal the flaws in
our income security system which “will become painfully evident.”24
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Expand (restore) EI eligibility
Within this broad direction, several more specific proposals were made.
outlined below:
They are
Option 2: Return the EI program to its pre-1996 status
Campaign 2000 recommended a uniform 360-hour qualifying period in all regions of
Canada and one year eligibility. (Issue 23, 10 May 2007) Other proposals call more
generally for restoring equal access to the program (eliminating preferential regional
treatment) and moving back to pre-1993 benefits.25
23
John Richards, Reducing Poverty: What has Worked and What Should Come Next?, C.D. Howe Institute,
Toronto, 2007. Richards acknowledges that a combination of policy change and favourable labour-market
conditions have reduced rates of poverty. http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_255.pdf.
24
Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Adults, Time for a Fair Deal, Toronto, May
2006, p. 12.
.http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:UNoA2h2fFv0J:www.torontoalliance.ca/MISWAA_Report.pdf+Mo
dernizing+Income+Supports+Working+Age+Adults&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1
25
The Canadian Labour Congress (which has not testified before the Committee), for example, calls for a
reduction in the number of qualifying hours to 360 in all regions, a longer duration of up to 50 weeks of
regular benefits and an increase to at least 60per cent in the percentage of insured earnings replaced by EI
benefits based on the best 12 weeks of earnings.
http://canadianlabour.ca/index.php/Unemployment_Insuran/1383
30 Stapleton, 2007, p. 22.
________________________________________________________________________
11
Option 3: Make EI extended leave benefits available to self-employed Canadians
Canadians who are self-employed do not pay EI premiums and are not eligible for
extended leave benefits offered under the Program, including parental, maternity and
compassionate leave. Witnesses suggested these extended benefits could be provided to
self-employed workers if they were funded out of general revenues.
Option 4: Restore eligibility for those who leave employment voluntarily
Those who leave their jobs voluntarily are no longer eligible for EI benefits; this can
discourage workers from leaving to seek better paying or more appropriate employment.
Previous to the changes of the 1990s, those who quit their jobs had to wait longer than
those who were laid off, but still received benefits. Should this practice be restored?
Option 5: Disconnect severance pay from EI eligibility
The EI Program currently requires that displaced workers deplete their severance pay
before becoming eligible for benefits. It is questionable whether this requirement is
appropriate within the context of an insurance program supported by premiums. Its goal
appears to be less related to helping those faced with job loss than it is to the reduction of
program payouts.
Option 6: Provide additional benefits and extend duration for long-term employees
Some workers have been stably employed over long periods of time, have paid EI
premiums, and then become unemployed. One expert witness advocated the provision of
additional benefits over a longer period to these workers, in recognition of their
infrequent EI claims and the longer adjustment period required to find new employment.
(Gray, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
Option 7: Create an EI transition fund for older unemployed workers
An option suggested during a roundtable in Toronto held by the Expert Panel on Older
Workers (chaired by former Senator Erminie Cohen) was the creation of an EI transition
fund for older workers. This fund could provide income support for older unemployed
workers who, for physical or psychological reasons, cannot reasonably expect to find
employment before they become eligible for Canada Pension Plan benefits.26
Option 8: Provide a premium rebate for low-wage workers in stable employment
Low-wage earners engaged in stable employment patterns and who are at low risk of
claiming EI benefits could benefit from a premium rebate, to function like the Working
Income Tax Benefit (WITB). A witness before the committee suggested that an EI
26
Expert Panel on Older Workers, Toronto Roundtable Summary, 5 June 2007, http://www.ow-tasec.org/en/consultation/report_from_consultation.shtml
________________________________________________________________________
12
premium rebate would also serve as a reward for stable employment patterns because the
system, as it is currently designed, “subsidizes and contains incentives that promote
part-year and unstable work patterns.” (Gray, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
Option 9: Broaden access to EI training programs
The EI program consists of two components: one is a pure income-support, or passive
program (EI Part I); the other (EI Part II) provides training to assist re-entry to the labour
market. One witness proposed separate and uniform entry requirements for EI Part II
benefits to broaden access to these programs, arguing that most provinces now have
Labour Market Development Agreements with Human Resources and Social
Development Canada, but it is still fairly difficult to qualify for skills development, job
training and job counselling. (Gray, Evidence, 29 May 2008)27
Option 10: Improve EI Part II training programs
The reforms to the EI Program in 1996 were intended (in part) to shift the emphasis from
passive income support to training for re-entry into the workforce. However, the
Committee heard expenditures on the active programs have been minute compared to
those made by Nordic countries. For example, Canada spends less than half a per cent of
its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on active measures, whereas countries like Denmark
and Sweden spend 1.5 to 2 per cent of GDP on these programs. (Van den Berg, Evidence,
29 May 2008)
The Committee also heard that the emphasis should be shifted from passive to active
aspects of the program, so that “policies should more broadly address the barriers to
employment faced by workers who are not well equipped to realize their full potential in
the labour market, whether they rely on EI or not.” (Vincent, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
Other specific suggestions were that more resources should be devoted to counselling and
monitoring programs, and to general employment search services; that more attention
should be paid to participant selection for the programs offered under EI Part II; and that
27
The federal government has already taken some steps in this direction. For example, the federal
government has signed agreements with the provinces of Saskatchewan (February 2008), New Brunswick
(February 2008), and Manitoba (April 2008) on training and skills development for people who are not
eligible for training under the Employment Insurance (EI) program. These agreements complement Labour
Market Development Agreements signed between the Government of Canada and these provinces, under
which the provinces assumed responsibility for designing and delivering employment programs and
services for unemployed people eligible under the EI program. Service Canada delivers the Employment
Assistance Services (EAS) program which provides funding to organizations offering employment services
to help clients re-enter the labour market. All unemployed Canadians have access to a range of services
under the EAS program. However, some EAS offerings are available only to clients who are eligible to
receive EI benefits, or who have recently been receiving EI benefits. Employment Assistance Services
include providing clients with information about the labour market, help preparing resumes, careerplanning services, employment counselling, diagnostic assessment, help with job-search skills, job-finding
clubs, and job-placement services.
________________________________________________________________________
13
programs should be closely tied to local labour markets (Van den Berg, Evidence, 29
May 2008).
Option 11: Reward companies for good human resource management through the EI
system
Witnesses suggested to the Committee that provincial labour codes be revised to reflect
changes in the labour market and to better protect workers (see below). One witness
suggested that the EI program be used to encourage and reward companies that adopt
good human resources management practices with respect to training programs for their
employees, which could in turn reduce worker reliance on EI.
Return the EI program to its insurance principles
The notion of shrinking EI to its original purposes – a program that insured against
income losses due to temporary and unpredictable unemployment, funded largely by
employers and employees — is appealing to analysts regardless of their place on the
political spectrum. Again, the specifics within this option are reflected in a number of
different options.
Option 12: Further restrict access to and benefits from EI programs
Some believe that further restrictions are needed on the scope, eligibility criteria, and
benefit levels under the EI Program. One witness argued that the 1995 EI reforms did not
go far enough because “by leaving intact the principle of regionally variable conditions
for access,” the reforms failed to restore the “credibility of the program as insurance
against unintended bouts of unemployment” and that regionally differentiated access to
the program creates a subsidy for seasonal unemployment and a disincentive for pursuing
“more productive employment options.”28
Option 13: Relocate social benefits currently offered under EI
All witnesses addressing the Committee specifically on EI (Vincent, Van den Berg,
Shillington, Gray, Evidence, 29 May 2008) supported a return to insurance principles, in
part so that the non-insurance-based benefits might be available to those not eligible for
EI benefits. In particular, witnesses identified the low proportion of women eligible for
maternity benefits under EI. One approach suggested was to model a new program after
the Parental Insurance Program in Quebec (Vincent), while another suggested a new fund
for these leave programs to be funded by employers and employees, or general taxpayers,
and to be more widely available.
28. Richards, 2007, p.14
________________________________________________________________________
14
Option 14: Create additional benefits for workers, to be funded and administered
outside the EI program
Several witnesses suggested that income-support initiatives designed to respond to labour
market impacts, including new ones, could be located elsewhere. For example, one
witness suggested that categorical grants for permanently laid-off workers from particular
companies or industries could support high-seniority workers who are laid off and face
very high adjustment costs. (Gray, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
Option 15: Remove training programs from the EI program
The possibility of removing the training component from the EI program was raised by
one witness, who suggested that a new retraining program for unemployed Canadians
could be funded from general tax revenues and be made available to people who might
not be eligible for EI benefits. (Vincent, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
Option 16: Create a separate EI program for seasonal workers and frequent users
Witnesses testified that the needs of occasional and frequent users of the EI program are
significantly different and that this should be reflected by splitting the Program into two
separate parts to reflect this difference.
Option 17: Conduct a full review of the EI program
More than ten years have passed since the last major changes were made to the EI
program. The labour market has evolved since that time. In its budget for fiscal year
2008-09, the federal government announced a new management and governance regime
for EI that will see the creation of a new Crown corporation, the Canada Employment
Insurance Financing Board (CEIFB). This will result in a new premium rate-setting
mechanism and different treatment of any future EI surpluses. However, these measures
will not involve any fundamental changes to the EI Program itself.
A full review could take into account the unique problems raised by the Committee’s
witnesses with regard to women, older workers, and immigrants and the EI Program. It
could also examine the Program’s core objectives, include an evaluation of its current
form and effectiveness, and take into consideration the options mentioned above, as well
as others.
Option 18: Rebuild income-support systems for working-age adults incorporating
successful elements of income-support systems for children and seniors
A second approach to full-scale rebuilding of income-support systems has been made by
John Stapleton. Observers indicate that the income-support systems now in place for
seniors have been, for the most part, a success. Some indicate that similar systems in
________________________________________________________________________
15
place for children have been successful as well (although many say these systems need to
be better funded and expanded).
Mr. Stapleton began by identifying the elements of the systems for seniors and children
that work well and then proposes that the income-support systems for working age adults
be adjusted to mirror those successful elements:
• federal accounts, such Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan
(CPP) for seniors, and the Child Tax Benefit for children;
• registered tax instruments such as Registered Retirement Saving Plans (RRSPs)
for seniors, and Registered Education Saving Plans (RESPs) for children;
• real benefits, such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for low-income
seniors, and the National Child Benefit Supplement for low-income families with
children; and
• contributions from government to encourage saving, such as the tax exemption
on RRSP contributions.
A more detailed description of this proposal can be found at Appendix I of this paper.
FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
The federal child benefits system has two aims: to reduce child poverty and to assist
parents with the costs of raising their children. The system has achieved some success in
reducing the levels of poverty among low-income Canadians with children; without
federal child benefits, 15 per cent of families would be low-income, compared with the
current rate of 9.3per cent. 29
The current system is made up of the tax-free Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) paid
monthly to parents of children under 18, based on the number of children and level of
family income. In 1998, the National Child Benefit Supplement was added to the CCTB
to provide increased benefits to all low-income families including those without taxable
income.
In 2006, the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) was added, with payments of monthly
instalments of $100 for every child under the age of 6 (regardless of parental income). In
2007, the federal government introduced a non-refundable child tax credit which provides
income tax savings of up to $300 for children of all ages to tax-paying parents.
Despite the impact of these programs on poverty rates, the Caledon Institute sees them as
flawed. The programs are complex and difficult to understand; they are “stealthy” in that
portions are subject to taxation; and, they are inequitable, in that the UCCB and the child
tax credit provide benefits to high income families and offer nothing to poor families with
children between the ages of 6 and 17.
29
Ken Battle, A Bigger and Better Child Benefit: A $5,000 Canada Child Tax Benefit, Caledon Institute,
Ottawa, January 2008, p.3. http://www.caledoninst.org/
________________________________________________________________________
16
Option 19: Eliminate the Universal Child Care Benefit and create a more generous
Canada Child Tax Benefit
The Caledon Institute has proposed the elimination of the UCCB and the child tax credit,
with the savings applied to a more generous CCTB. Under this proposal, the maximum
amount payable to low-income families would be $5,000 per year per child, up from the
current maximum of $3,271 per first child. Caledon asserts that the expanded CCTB
would also provide substantial benefits to modest- and middle-income families and have
a significant impact on poverty, reducing the current low-income rate for families (9.3per
cent) by a full percentage point30. The current federal child benefits system costs $13
billion annually. Caledon estimates that its proposal would cost $17 billion and has
suggested that it could be phased in over time. Campaign 2000 supports the Caledon
proposal to raise the maximum benefit to $5,000 per year per child. (Evidence, Issue 23,
10 May 2007)
This proposal is intended to fit within the framework of Caledon’s proposed new
architecture for adult benefits, addressed in more detail below. Is this the right approach
to addressing the challenges faced by low-income Canadians with children? In what way
would it improve the lives of children living in poverty? Should it be accompanied by
other measures needed to support poor children and ensure that they will be able to exit
low-income circumstances, thus breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty?
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
About a half-million people with disabilities are living in poverty in Canada. Despite
many programs at the federal level31 (and their provincial/territorial equivalents)
30
Ibid.
There are public programs that provide income support to a disabled person. The more generous of the
programs are funded by employers and employees through their contribution to Employment Insurance (EI)
(which provides sickness benefits), and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) (with provides disability benefits).
However, in both cases, individuals must qualify through their labour market participation over time.
People without sufficient labour market participation who become disabled are eligible for social assistance
benefits, generally at a higher level than is provided to non-disabled recipients. Anyone born with a
disability or who becomes disabled as a child does not receive any direct income support, unless their
parents qualify for welfare.
31
There are a number of federal tax and transfer benefits available for disabled persons. As of 2002, these
benefits consisted of: attendant care deduction, Canada Study Grant, CPPD, caregiver credit, Child Tax
Benefit, Disability Tax Credit, EI Sickness Benefit, GST Credit, Infirm Dependant Credit, Medical
Expense Tax Credit, Refundable Medical Expense Supplement, and Veterans Pensions and War
Allowances.
By 2007, additional federal programs were in place: Canada Access Grants for college and university
students, Child Disability Benefit, Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Disability Supports
Deduction (replaces Attendant Care Deduction), EI Compassionate Benefit, Registered Disability Savings
Plan (with Canada Disability Savings Bonds and Canada Disability Savings Grants), New Veterans Charter
________________________________________________________________________
17
Canadians with disabilities are disproportionately affected by low income, with a lowincome rate of 32 per cent, more than double the Canadian average (Treusch, Issue 21, 26
April 2007). Many of these individuals end up on provincial social assistance programs,
leading one witness to suggest that welfare has become the disability income program in
Canada, constituting from 50 to 70 per cent of provincial caseloads. Even with higher
benefits, the Committee heard, it is stigmatizing and inappropriate as a last-resort
program for people with disabilities. (Prince, Issue 1, 18 April 2008)
Option 20: A medium-term sickness/disability benefit
One witness focused his attention on the absence of income protection over the medium
term (at both the federal and provincial levels) for Canadians with illnesses and moderate
to severe disabilities. (Prince, Issue 1, 18 April 2008). At the federal level, working-age
Canadians with disabilities who do not qualify for EI sickness benefits or the Canada
Pension Plan disability (CPP-D) program include the self-employed, those in precarious
(non-standard) employment, and people with recurrent and cyclical health conditions.
Many employees – even those who are well-paid – do not have access to extended health
and disability insurance and there are gaps in the EI sickness and CPP disability
programs.
The Committee was offered three options for delivering a medium-term sickness and
disability benefit:
1. Extend the duration of EI sickness benefits to at least 26 (from the current 15) weeks
and up to 35, 45, or 50 weeks. Current EI eligibility criteria of 600 hours of insurable
earnings in the previous 52 weeks would be retained for the first 15 weeks of
coverage. Additional weeks’ coverage would either require no additional hours or
some additional number of insurable hours. The federal government could make this
change unilaterally.
2. Create a new sickness/disability program, a new federal income program separate
from, but associated with, EI sickness and CPP-D. It could have the same features as
option 1, to be funded from general revenues or a new dedicated tax, to ensure
fairness to business and employer groups. Provincial and territorial co-operation
would be needed if the benefits were seen as representing an example of, or
encroaching on, supplementary pension benefits.
31. (con’t) with Disability Awards and Allowances, Earnings Loss Benefit, and Supplementary Retirement
Benefit, and Working Income Tax Benefit and Disability Supplement.
Finally, the Canada Social Transfer (CST) is the mechanism by which the federal government transfers
funds to provinces and territories, on a per-capita basis, for children, post-secondary education, and social
assistance. The CST is scheduled to increase by 3per cent per year starting in 2009-2010. From the last
fiscal year to the current fiscal year, the federal government has increased the CST, with specific increases
for post-secondary education and children, while the amount for social assistance has remained constant.
________________________________________________________________________
18
3. Add benefits for partial disabilities to the CPP-D program, requiring a basic change to
the CPP program and legislation, and raising questions about how to define ‘partial’
disability as defined by whom. Furthermore, Parliament (House and Senate) plus twothirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of Canada’s population would have to
consent, and contributions would have to be increased.32
Option 21: Amend CPP legislation to allow pilot and demonstration projects
EI legislation allows for the funding of pilot and demonstration projects to test different
combinations of income supports, employment services and benefits in different regions
of the country to learn lessons. CPP legislation does not contain such a provision.
CPP will come up in the triennial reviews of Canadian finance ministers in 2009, creating
the opportunity to amend the legislation to allow funding for such projects. (Prince, Issue
1, 18 April 2008)
Option 22: Replace social assistance programs for people with disabilities
The Caledon Institute has proposed a basic income program for people with disabilities
that would remove most of them from provincial social assistance programs. The
replacement program would be funded and administered by the federal government and
would:
•
change the disability tax credit to a fully refundable tax credit at the current maximum
federal-plus-provincial level. This refundable credit would go to everyone with a
serious disability who can pass the existing test for the disability tax credit, and not
just to those on welfare;
•
provide a basic income proposal essentially designed like Old Age Security (OAS)
and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). There would be a 50 per cent tax-back
rate and the guarantee level would be the same as the OAS/GIS rate. The amount for
couples would also be the same as the OAS/GIS rate. Because some people with
disabilities also have children, there would a child allowance for disabled people with
children and a northern allowance. An individual would receive a guarantee of about
$13,300 and about $21,000 for a couple; and
•
be delivered through the tax system, thus eliminating the stigma associated with
welfare and without an asset test. Income that was not tax-reportable would not result
in reduction of the benefit. If there were a gift from a parent or from a friend, that
would not have to be taken into account.
32
Michael Prince, Canadians Need a Medium-Term Sickness/Disability Income Benefit, Caledon Institute
of Social Policy, Ottawa, January 2008, pp. 17-18.
________________________________________________________________________
19
According to Caledon, this change would have a huge impact on the extent of poverty, in
particular poverty among "unattached individuals” -- people without children, who are a
huge percentage of the population with poverty. Caledon acknowledges that a significant
test of disability would need to be included because it would be difficult to “promote this
as a program with a relatively adequate guarantee level unless there is a significant
barrier to entry so that Canadians can be assured that those on it cannot reasonably be
expected to earn a living through employment.” (Mendelson, Issue 1, 18 April 2008)
This reform would require federal/provincial/territorial agreement; Caledon believes that
agreement would be relatively easy to achieve because there is a promise of generous
savings to the provinces. The Caledon Institute’s basic income proposal is part of its
proposed new architecture for working-age adult income security. (See below)
Option 23: A national action plan on disability
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities called for a national action plan on disability
that includes proposals related to income support systems for persons with disabilities.
The Council has proposed that the federal government:
•
•
•
•
•
make the Disability Tax Credit refundable;
make those eligible for CPP-D benefits automatically eligible for the Disability Tax
Credit;
make CPP-D benefits non-taxable;
expand EI sick benefits to 52 weeks (similar to Michael Prince’s proposal); and
ensure new federal benefits such as the Registered Disability Savings Plan are not
clawed back from those on social assistance by provincial and territorial governments
through off-setting reductions in social assistance benefits.
In the longer term, the Council also proposed that the federal government assume an
expanded role in income support for Canadians with disabilities. According to the
Council, this will free up resources at the provincial and territorial levels for reinvestment in supports and services for disabled Canadians.33
Option 24: Remove disability benefits from CPP and establish as a separate program
One witness suggested that disability benefits do not rest comfortably within CPP.
Instead, he said that the program should be administered out of a social security program
funded like CPP, but not tied into labour market attachment issues. (Shillington,
Evidence, 29 May 2008)
33
Council of Canadians with Disabilities, From Vision to Action: Building an Inclusive and Accessible
Canada – A National Action Plan on Disability 2007, handout distributed to the Subcommittee on Cities of
the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, 18 April 2008.
________________________________________________________________________
20
SENIORS
At an aggregate, national level, efforts to reduce poverty among seniors have been the
most successful. The Committee heard that poverty among seniors fell from 9.8 percent
in 1996 to 5.6 percent in 2004 (Treusch, Issue 21, 26 April 2007). The absence of
concerns over potential disincentives to labour-market participation has made it easier to
provide relatively generous income-supports for seniors. Many of the Committee’s
witnesses pointed to the combined Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement
(OAS/GIS) as a model for reducing poverty rates among other groups, despite the labour
market disincentives it might create for working-age adults. Seniors’ incomes have a
number of possible sources: earnings from work or capital investments, pensions
(employer-sponsored and CPP), and federal income transfers. Until those transfers were
introduced and made adequate, a large number of seniors were well below the LICOs of
the day, with no obvious way to improve their situation.
Option 25: Raise the combined value of OAS/GIS to the average post-tax LICO for
individuals
The success of poverty-reduction initiatives among seniors as a whole masks a lack of
progress among certain groups within the overall senior population – particularly among
single unattached women, and among them, especially those living in major Canadian
cities where many costs are higher. (Young, Evidence, 4 June 2008).
BROADER OPTIONS
Adjustments made to specific elements of one income support system or another may not
be sufficient. In fact, incremental changes made at the program level that have taken
place without reference to the other parts of the system have produced inefficiencies and
have sometimes even (some would argue) exacerbated circumstances for low-income
Canadians. Another set of proposals heard by the Committee take the income-support
system in its entirety into consideration and call for harmonized change or for a full-scale
replacement of existing arrangements.
Option 26: Improve the Canada Social Transfer (CST)
In the post-war period, the federal government provided transfers to the provinces and
territories under Established Programs Financing and the Canada Assistance Plan to share
the costs of social assistance programs. In 1995, these two programs were replaced by the
Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) under which the federal government
withdrew from 50/50 cost sharing for provincial social assistance and social services
programs, and provided reduced funding for these purposes that was combined with an
existing block grant for post-secondary education and health. In 2004, the CHST was
________________________________________________________________________
21
split into two separate transfers to the provinces and territories: the Canada Social
Transfer (CST) and the Canada Health Transfer (CHT).
Proposed improvements to the CST include restoring 1994-95 funding levels
accompanied by clear principles and conditions governing what provinces and territories
can do with the funds. These principles and conditions should be accompanied by an
accountability mechanism to ensure transparency and adherence. (Frankel, Issue 23, 10
May 2007)
Option 27: Options proposed by the Modernizing Income Support for Working Age
Adults Task Force 34
The Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults (MISWAA)
was created by the Toronto City Summit Alliance and St. Christopher’s House (a
neighbourhood community centre that works closely with low-income Torontonians) in
2004. MISWAA was a collaborative effort that involved business, labour, religious,
policy, and other organizations. Although its focus was principally on Ontario, its
recommendations have a bearing on the federal government and the other provincial and
territorial governments as well.
Its recommendations specific to the federal government were to:
•
reform EI to address the decline in coverage of the unemployed and the related
decline in access to employment supports and training,
•
create a new refundable tax benefit consisting of a basic tax credit for all low-income
working-age adults and a working income supplement for low-income wage earners,
and
•
provide and administer a national disability income support program for persons
whose disabilities are so substantial that they are unlikely to enter the paid labour
force.
The Conference Board of Canada has recommended that the federal government
implement the recommendations of the MISWAA Task Force.35
34
Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Adults, Time for a Fair Deal, Toronto, May
2006.http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:UNoA2h2fFv0J:www.torontoalliance.ca/MISWAA_Report.pdf
+Modernizing+Income+Supports+Working+Age+Adults&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1
35
The Conference Board of Canada, The Canada Project, Mission Possible: Sustainable Prosperity for
Canada, Volume III Mission Possible: Successful Canadian Cities, Ottawa 2007, Recommendation 22, p.
51.
________________________________________________________________________
22
Option 28: Include references to the right to sustainable income in all income-support
legislation and policies
The Committee heard that a rights-based approach to income security would provide a
legal remedy. It “…provides a legal remedy to protect […] income security. It puts social
policy into a legal framework where low-income and disadvantaged groups have access
to enforcement mechanisms to protect their standard of living.” (Marrone, Evidence, 8
May 2008)
The Committee also heard that under international human rights law, Canadian
governments could provide for effective domestic remedies for the right to income
adequacy. A human rights framework could be built into federal legislation governing the
federal role in income-security programs, transfer agreements with provinces and
territories governing social programs or any federal poverty reduction strategies. Human
rights frameworks should also be built into trade and investment agreements entered into
by the federal government. (Porter, Evidence, 8 May 2008)
According to witnesses, affirming joint commitments to international human rights in
relevant agreements entered into by the federal government would in no way be an
encroachment on areas of provincial jurisdiction. Rather, it would be a fulfillment of the
obligation of the federal government, under international law, to ensure compliance by all
levels of government with Canada’s international human rights obligations:
The right to … income adequacy cannot be relegated to provincial
jurisdiction alone. These are central human rights values at the core of our
constitutional democracy. It is the federal government’s role and
responsibility to promote and protect these fundamental human rights in
every way that it can. (Bruce Porter, Evidence, 8 May 2008)
What are the possible implications of amending federal legislation and policies in this
way? Would it result in adequate income security for low-income Canadians?
Option 29: Replace both EI and social assistance programs with a new income-support
architecture for adults
The Caledon Institute has concluded that Canada’s income-support systems are
complicated, tangled, incoherent, dysfunctional, and unsuited to contemporary economic
and labour-market realities. It has proposed the replacement of the existing incomesupport systems by a new three-tier architecture for adult benefits, re-combining elements
of the social assistance and EI systems and assigning new responsibilities to the federal
and provincial/territorial governments. Several of these elements have been described in
previous sections; a description of the Caledon proposal can be found in Appendix II of
this paper.
________________________________________________________________________
23
Option 30: Replace the income-support system with a guaranteed annual income (GAI)
The provision of a Guaranteed Annual Income to all Canadians is more
than an anti-poverty measure: it is an idea whose time has come36.
This rallying cry from the Croll report has been heard by contemporary witnesses. The
federal government already plays a dominant role in poverty reduction through its system
of transfer payments to the provincial and territorial governments and individuals. In
particular, it is responsible for having greatly reduced poverty among seniors through the
CPP, and the OAS/GIS programs. This redistributive role is one that most will agree the
federal government performs well.
The federal government could become involved in poverty reduction more generally
through the provision of a Guaranteed Annual Income (or GAI) for all Canadians.
Although the Croll Committee’s recommendation was never adopted, the federal
government has implemented a de facto GAI for seniors through income support
programs that target them.
In its most fundamental form, a GAI would provide a basic income floor beneath which
no Canadian would be allowed to fall. A GAI could be delivered through the income tax
system; those citizens reporting an annual income beneath a designated level would have
their earnings “topped up” by the federal government. A GAI could replace virtually all
existing income-support programs at both the federal and provincial territorial levels and
would offer several benefits and potential drawbacks.
Among the benefits claimed for a GAI are administrative simplicity and, because of the
lack of means tests or requirements to get rid of personal assets, the absence of the stigma
that attaches to current social security programs. Furthermore, federal provision would
reduce the financial burden on provincial and territorial governments, allowing them, in
theory, to reinvest the savings in programs providing supports to low-income families
and individuals.
The drawbacks associated with this approach include the inevitable need to distinguish
among various groups of recipients in order to accommodate their specific circumstances,
the difficulty in establishing the level of an income floor, and the potential negative
impact the program might have on labour-market participation.
Would a GAI be acceptable to Canadians? Is it possible to provide an adequate income
that is affordable? Can a GAI be provided while at the same time ensuring that those
Canadians who require supports will continue to receive them and at appropriate levels of
quality?
36
Special Senate Committee on Poverty, Poverty in Canada, Ottawa, 1971, p. 175
________________________________________________________________________
24
Option 31: Require that the rules governing income support systems be written in plain
language
Committee witnesses testified that a universal characteristic of Canada’s income-support
systems is the convoluted language of their rules and regulations. The Committee heard
some particularly disturbing testimony with regard to the resulting inaccessibility of the
OAS and EI programs, with a strong recommendation for clarity, transparency and
simplicity to improve access to entitlements. (Shillington, Evidence, 29 May 2008)
Option 32: Improve delivery of income support programs
Those who provide front-line services in the income support system sometimes act more
as gate keepers than facilitators and do not always fully share information with clients on
how best to access available programs and benefits. Witnesses proposed greater emphasis
on service delivery with respect to EI, pointing out opportunities to turn service providers
into real mediators between the ‘client’ and the agency providing the services, in terms of
both navigating complex rules and monitoring and counselling the clients to ensure
accurate assessment and delivery of their benefits. (Van den Berg, Evidence, 29 May
2008)
Option 33: Find alternatives to the tax system to support social programs
Rather than directly spending on social programs that help to alleviate poverty
(particularly as it affects women), federal social programs have increasingly turned to tax
expenditures. This form of social spending uses the taxation system to fund social
programs. For example, a social program such as child care is delivered by reducing the
tax liability of the recipient of this tax measure. Other examples include the tuition tax
credit, caregiver credit, and child tax credit.
Scholars have found tax expenditures to be regressive in nature. The Committee has
heard that these measures have an ‘upside-down effect’ because those with the largest
incomes receive the greatest absolute benefit. Furthermore, tax expenditure measures
generally benefit taxpayers, excluding those individuals who are non taxpayers. More
specifically, 38per cent of women tax-filers do not pay taxes and thus do not benefit from
non-refundable tax expenditure measures. (Young, Evidence, 4 June 2008)
________________________________________________________________________
25
AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE ABOVE OPTIONS
Option 34: Federal/provincial/territorial review of income support systems
Canada’s income support systems fit within the definition of what analyst Neil Bradford
refers to as “wicked problems37”: highly complex, involving more that one government
and/or government department or agency, and notoriously difficult to understand and
resolve. Over the years, both EI and social assistance programs have been the subject of
piecemeal adjustments that have taken place without analysis of their impact upon oneanother. They have become, in the words of one specialist, a “tangled mess;” an opinion
that is shared even by those of widely divergent views. Such a review could include a
focus on overlapping policies with a view to reducing or eliminating barriers and
disincentives (such as marginal effective tax rates) to independence.
Existing proposals, including those cited in this report, could serve as a starting point, but
federal, provincial and territorial governments hold the authority and the means to
implement change that is meaningful and lasting. Would it be advisable to recommend
that the federal/provincial/territorial governments undertake a full review of income
support systems that takes into account the proposals contained in the options presented
above?
Under what conditions should such a review take place? Should the federal government
be the one to initiate a review? Should there be firm timelines and reporting mechanisms?
Once the process is completed, what next steps would be necessary?
37
Neil Bradford, Place-Based Public Policy: Towards a New Urban and Community
Agenda for Canada, Canadian Policy Research Networks, Ottawa, March 2005, p. 4.
http://www.cprn.org/doc.cfm?doc=1186&1=en
________________________________________________________________________
26
II. FACILITATING A TRANSITION FROM SOCIAL ASSISTANCE
TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND MAKING WORK PAY
In Canada, social benefits programs work in isolation of each other, often developed and
administered by more than one order of government. As a result, each is designed to
reduce benefits in some proportion of earnings when a social assistance recipient begins
to work. Payroll deductions (for income tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment
Insurance) combine with welfare and subsidy reductions, sometimes to the point where
someone poised between social assistance and full-time earnings from employment can
lose more than 100 cents on the earned dollar.38 Collectively, these reductions, taxes, and
premiums are known as “marginal effective tax rates,” or METRs39.
In Canada, these METRs on low- and moderate-income earners are high and serve as
barriers to labour-force participation.40. In its Economic Survey of Canada 2006, the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) observed that
although “considerable progress” had been made to reduce this burden, “low-income
families still face very high METRs, which reduce the reward from working longer
hours, taking on greater responsibilities or investing in upgrading skills.41” The OECD
called for further policy reform to “strengthen work incentives by reducing high Marginal
Effective Tax Rates faced by lower-income families.”42
Option 35: Reduce Marginal Effective Tax Rates over the medium- and long-terms
While it is desirable to reduce METRs on low-income earners, it is not an easy goal to
accomplish. An analyst with the C.D. Howe Institute has pointed out there are “no magic
resolutions” to the problem of high METRs43. Another analyst, however, recommended
collaboration among officials to ensure “that the combined Marginal Effective Tax Rates
do not exceed 75per cent of net earned income in the medium term, with a long term goal
of 50per cent.44” This could be achieved within the context of a broader review.
38
Stapleton, 2007, p. 7.
The marginal effective tax rate is the percentage of income forgone to taxes and the phasing out of
income support payments for each additional $1 of earned income. In other words, it reflects marginal
income taxes plus the claw back of income supports such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit (for families),
the Guaranteed Income Support (for seniors), social assistance payments (at the provincial level) and so on.
40
Finn Poschmann, Still High: Marginal Effective Tax Rates on Low-Income Families, C. D. Howe
Institute, Toronto, February 2008. http://cdhowe.org
41
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Policy Brief: Economic Survey of Canada
2006, June 2006, p. 9.
42
Ibid, p. 10.
43
Poschmann, 2008, p. 8.
44
Stapleton, 2007, p. 34.
39
________________________________________________________________________
27
Issue 2:
Labour-force participation is no longer enough
to keep many Canadians out of poverty
In 2001, over 653,000 Canadians were earning wages that classified them as “working
poor” (and 1.5 million people were directly affected, one third of them children under the
age of 18)45. The consequences of being unable to earn a sustainable wage from
employment manifest themselves in several ways. In 2007, for example, 13.5per cent of
the clients of Canadian food banks received their primary income from employment.46
Statistics Canada recently reported an increase in non-standard employment (part-time,
short-term, and contract work), in which a large number of low-wage workers are
employed.47 As the number of “standard,” full-time jobs stabilizes or declines, and nonstandard employment becomes increasingly common, the need to respond to their lowincome status becomes more pronounced.
One-third of Canada’s low-wage workers do not earn enough to meet their costs of
living. Among them, female lone parents in Quebec find it extremely difficult to make
ends meet with an hourly wage of $8.50.48 These workers and their families are not the
only ones who are adversely affected; the lack of adequate remuneration serves as a
disincentive for Canadians receiving social assistance to seek out and obtain employment.
While the proposed overhaul of the income support system made by the Caledon Institute
has taken the circumstances of low-wage workers into consideration, there are other
proposals that are more focused on this segment of the low-income population.
Option 36: Raise minimum wages and index them to inflation
In its Employment Outlook 2007, the OECD reported that low-wage employment in
Canada is “common,” with approximately 22per cent of Canadians earning less than twothirds of median earnings. While the majority of these low-wage workers are young
people, many of whom are also studying and tend to move into better paying jobs over
time, many are women, recent migrants and less-educated workers, for whom low-wage
work may be less transitory.49 One of the Committee’s witnesses testified that people
45
Myriam Fortin and Dominique Fleury, “Canada’s Working Poor,” Horizons 7, no. 2, 2004, p. 52, Policy
Research Initiative. The authors define the working poor as individuals 18 to 64 years old, who are not fulltime students, and who have worked a minimum of 910 hours per year whose and who, using their
disposable family income, cannot purchase the market basket of goods and services specified by the Market
Basket Measure (MBM) during the year in question.
46
Canadian Association of Food Banks, Hunger Count 2007, Toronto, p. 16. http://cafb-acba.ca
47
Statistics Canada, The Daily, 6 June 2008, http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/080606/d080606a.htm
Statistics Canada found that in May 2008, the economy lost 32,200 full-time jobs, while 40,600 part-time
jobs had been created.
48
Burrows, Fédération des femmes du Québec, Evidence, 4 June 2008.
49
OECD, Employment Outlook 2007 – How Does Canada Compare?
http://www.oecd.org/document/18/0,3343,en_2649_33927_38549906_1_1_1_1,00.html
________________________________________________________________________
28
“think it is wrong that Canadians can work full time and for the full year at the minimum
wage and still not rise out of poverty.”(Yalnizyan, Issue 4, 28 February 2008)
Some witnesses proposed significant and immediate increases in minimum wages to
between $10.00 and $10.50 an hour, and are involved in public campaigns to increase
minimum wages in most provinces.50 Other witnesses also argued for increases in
minimum wages. (Burrows, Evidence, 4 June 2008)
Economists and others have responded to these proposals in two basic ways. Some argue
that such measures would dampen employment because many small employers simply
could not afford them, and that many of those working for minimum wages are students
or teenagers who are living with their parents.51 Others claim that raising minimum wage
does not have a dampening affect on employment levels52. The provinces set minimum
wages; since a decision in 1996 not to set a federal minimum wage, permitted in the
Canadian Labour Code for workers in federal jurisdictions,53 the federal government
would have no role to play.
Option 37: Amend employment standards legislation to better address non-standard
employment
The Committee heard of the increase in non-standard work, and that provincial
employment standards have not kept pace with the changing labour market in Canada,
leaving workers to be exploited. (Pegg, Issue 21, 3 May 2007) Another witness also
called attention to the role of employment standards as they affect women working in
small companies and/or in non-standard employment. (Drover, Issue 23, 10 May, 2007)
Ninety percent of workers in Canada are covered by provincial or territorial employment
standards; only 10per cent work in federally regulated industries, where labour standards
are established federally.54 Should both levels of government be called upon to improve
their employment standards laws and to enforce those laws more rigorously? Should the
federal government provide the model for such protections?
50
National Anti-Poverty Organization; Campaign 2000; Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants;
Jean-Claude Icart.
51
For example, see David Pankratz, “Which Best Helps the Poor: Minimum Wages, Tax Credits or Tax
Exemptions?”, Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Winnipeg, 2008
http://www.fcpp.org/main/publication_detail.php?PubID=2001
52
For example, Stuart Murray and Hugh Mackenzie, Bringing Minimum Wages above the Poverty Line,
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, March 2007
53
Canadian Auto Workers, “Modernizing Part III of the Canada Labour Code”, Formal brief to Federal
Labour Standards Review Commission, September 2005.
http://www1.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/labour/employment_standards/fls/submissions/formal_briefs/brief43/p
age02.shtml#t2 June 10, 2008.
54
Human Resources and Social Development Canada, “Employment Standards”. Accessed from
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/labour/employment_standards/index.shtml June 10, 2008.
________________________________________________________________________
29
Option 38: Adopt the recommendations of the Federal Labour Standards Review (the
Arthurs Report)55
The Federal Labour Standards Review acknowledged that the federal government no
longer sets minimum wages; they have become a provincial responsibility. However, the
Review recommended that the federal government:
[s]hould resume responsibility for ensuring that a proper minimum wage
covers the small number of vulnerable employees in the federal domain
who are in need of protection against exploitation or abuse. Rather than
adopt a specific dollar figure, …the government should adopt the principle
that no Canadian worker should work full-time for a year and still live in
poverty. This principle should be translated into practice over a phase-in
period of several years, during which the federal minimum wage should be
raised until it meets the low-income cut-off (LICO) index. Thereafter, it
should be adjusted at fixed intervals according to an agreed formula.56
The authors of the Review’s Report added: “This is an issue of fundamental decency that
no modern, prosperous country like Canada can ignore. Fortunately, a minimum wage
can be established with few, if any, negative consequences on employment in the federal
sector.57” Campaign 2000 advocates increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 per
hour. (Evidence, Issue 23, 10 May 2007)
Should the federal government show leadership by establishing an adequate minimum
wage for those sectors of the labour market that it regulates58? Would this have an affect
on provincial minimum wages and labour standards?
Option 39: Improve income supplements for low-wage earners
The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) is an income tax credit introduced by the
federal government in Budget 2007. The benefit is available to individuals over the age
of 18 who are not enrolled in school for more than three months and who have an earned
income over $3,000. The maximum amount for an individual without children is $500;
for families (couples and single parents), the maximum is $1,000. The credit is
refundable: It is reduced by 15 per cent of net income in excess of $9,500 for single
individuals and $14,500 for families. It phases out completely at $12,833 for individuals
and $21,167 for single parents and couples.
55
Federal Labour Standards Review, Fairness at Work: Federal Labour Standards for the 21st Century,
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Ottawa, 2006.
56
Ibid, p. xvi.
57
Ibid.
58
These sectors include banking, airlines, telecommunications and broadcast firms, postal services and
pipeline companies, road transportation firms and a miscellany of jobs in airports and seaports, grain
handling facilities, nuclear facilities and First Nations governments. According to the Arthurs report,
approximately 12,000 enterprises are subject to federal jurisdiction and 840,000 of their employees are
subject to Part III of the Canada Labour Code which regulates minimum wages. Ibid, p.ix.
________________________________________________________________________
30
Although the program is federal, provincial and territorial governments are permitted to
vary the design of the program to suit their own circumstances and needs and to better fit
with other elements of their income security systems, like minimum wage, social
assistance and provincial wage supplements, as long as the changes don’t increase the
costs. 59
Creation of the benefit (first proposed under the previous government in the 2005 miniBudget and resurrected by the subsequent government) received wide praise. Caledon
Institute, for example, greeted its introduction, stating that such a benefit would help
compensate for the loss of benefits experienced by those moving from social assistance to
employment and could be “good for fighting poverty and removing barriers to
employment.”60
For some, the benefit is too modest and should be enriched to go beyond assistance to
part-time workers, and grant benefits for full-time low-income earners whose wages,
though modest, are too high to benefit. (Battle, Evidence, 28 February 2008; Richards,
Issue 2, 13 December 2007).
Witnesses also argued that the benefit should be paid more often, to reduce stigma as has
been accomplished by recent changes to the delivery of Saskatchewan’s social assistance
benefits (Richards, Issue 2, 13 December 2007) and to provide a more predictable source
of income for beneficiaries (Stapleton, Issue 2, 13 December 2007)
Option 40: Improve training for low-wage workers
In 2007, the OECD commented that “[i]mproving access to training for low-wage
workers would boost their earnings ability and increase productivity.”61 Is this the best
way to improve incomes for low-wage workers? Should the provision of training be the
sole focus of government or should there be an increase of minimum wages followed by
indexation as well?
59
Battle, Library of Parliament Seminar, 11 April 2008.
Caledon Institute, “A Working Income Tax Benefit That Works,” Caledon Commentary, November
2005.
61
OECD, 2007,
60
________________________________________________________________________
31
III. POVERTY BEYOND MONEY
The Committee heard from many witnesses that income security programs alone were
neither the ideal nor sufficient remedies for the poverty of some groups. For these groups
– families with young children, people with disabilities, and newcomers to Canada –
access to adequate and appropriate supports is an important part of the solution.
FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
The Committee heard extensively about the challenges of raising children in poverty, and
of increasing earnings in the labour market without affordable care for children that also
contributes to their development and preparation for school (Yalnizian, Browne, Battle,
Issue 4, 28 February 2008). The same witnesses emphasized that a small universal
contribution to families with young children, like the current Universal Child Care
benefit, was not sufficient to purchase childcare.
For these and other witnesses, a full national child care strategy with appropriate funding
was essential to reducing poverty for families, including lone-parent families, who are
over-represented among poor Canadians.
Option 41: Ensure that a fixed proportion of federally funded child care programs be
available, on a priority basis, to low-income families with young children
International research has demonstrated the importance of child care to reintegration of
social assistance-reliant parents into the labour force.62 At the same time, researchers
have identified the unequivocal and considerable benefits of quality child care programs
for children in low-income families and from otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds.63
Witnesses also identified the need for child care as a poverty reduction strategy, noting
that without such services, low-income parents may have to choose between training or
work on the one hand, and care for their children on the other. Quebec’s experience with
the introduction of subsidized spaces saw these spaces go disproportionately to middleand upper income households.64
62
OECD, “Reconciling Work and Family Life in OECD Countries: Main Findings and Policy
Recommendations”, Babies and Bosses: Reconciling Work and Family Life: A Synthesis of Findings for
OECD Countries, 2007, p.19.
63
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. A Science-Based Framework for Early Childhood
Policy: Using Evidence to Improve Outcomes in Learning, Behavior, and Health for Vulnerable Children,
2007, p.18.
64
Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan, “What can we Learn from Québec’s Universal
Childcare Program, C.D. Howe Institute, Toronto, 2006,
http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-social&year=2006 ;Christa Japel, Richard Tremblay,
Sylvana Côté, Quality Counts! Assessing the Quality of Daycare Services Based on the Québec
Longitudinal Study of Child Development, IRPP, Montréal, 2005,
http://www.irpp.org/choices/archive/vol11no5.pdf.
________________________________________________________________________
32
Option 42: Increase federal investments in child care.
The Committee heard of the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and child
care to the self-esteem and health of both children and parents as well as readiness to
learn and share success, and that supports including child care showed almost immediate
savings to health and income assistance programs (Browne, Issue 4, 28 February 2007).
Other witnesses articulated the need to support parents in their skills upgrading and
labour force participation with high-quality, affordable and accessible child care to
contribute to both child development and training or labour force participation of parents.
Such programs could require greater federal investment, with incremental increases over
time.
Option 43: Work with other levels of government and non-government organizations to
identify gaps and solutions for child care provision for low-income families
While all families could benefit from such child care services, they are particularly
important for low-income families, whose earnings are or would be insufficient to cover
the costs of such care. Yet, the Committee has heard testimony, addressed in more detail
later in the report, that well-intentioned and otherwise effective programs are too often
developed and implemented in isolation of each other, and have negative unintended
impacts on those they are intended to help. (Stapleton, Issue 2, 13 December 2007)
With child care, provincial, territorial and local governments and non-government local
organizations are active participants in meeting the income and social support needs for
such families. Their collaboration and co-operation would be required to ensure that such
supports were available and accessible to assist low-income families in escaping poverty.
Option 44: Provide funding for programs for parents, particularly those with low
incomes, to develop skills and techniques to support their children’s development
Research has shown that while low-income status may be transmitted intergenerationally,
programs to assist parents with behaviour or health issues in their children have positive
health and educational outcomes for their children65, and reduce family poverty.
Option 45: Provide low-income parents with financial support to register their children
in appropriate recreational and cultural programming
The Committee heard of the benefits to both parents and children in low-income families,
and the savings to both income security and health care systems, of the children’s
participation in mainstream cultural and recreational programs of their choice. (Browne,
Issue 4, 28 February 2008)
65
Marni Brownell, Noralou Roos, Randy Fransoo et al., “Is the Class Half Empty? A Population-Based
Perspective on Socioeconomic Status and Educational Outcomes”, Choices, Institute for Research on
Public Policy, Vol. 12,, No, 5, 2006, p.30; Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain, J. Fraser Mustard, and Dr. Stuart
Shanker, Early Years Study 2: Putting Science into Action, Council for Early Childhood Development,
2007, p.135.
________________________________________________________________________
33
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The Committee has heard from witnesses that to be full participants in the social and
economic life of their communities, people with disabilities require more than an
adequate income; they also require appropriate supports. These supports may involve the
removal of physical barriers to work places and community centres, or prostheses or
wheelchairs, or attendant care or interpreters. (Battle, Issue 21, 3 May 2007; Mendelson,
White, Issue 1, 18 April 2008)
Option 46: Link any increase in federal transfers to people with disabilities to increases
in provincial and territorial spending on disability supports
As noted above, the Committee has heard from witnesses of the need for both increased
income and increased supports to people with disabilities. Recommendations from the
Caledon Institute call for federal responsibility for an increased disability income benefit,
which would result in a decrease in provincial and territorial welfare spending. These
witnesses have also suggested that these funds should be re-invested in non-income
supports.
Option 47: Designate a fixed percentage of Labour Force Development Agreement
funds for persons with disabilities
Disability organizations and the people they represent have been calling for increased
training opportunities for persons with disabilities, whether programs for people with
disabilities, or spaces within mainstream programs. Most recently, this recommendation
has taken the form of demanding that a proportion of funding to provincial and territorial
governments in the form of Labour Market Development Agreements equal to the
proportion of the population that has a disability be designated for training “spaces” for
that population. (“From Vision to Action: Building an Inclusive and Accessible Canada –
A National Action Plan 2007”, Official submission by the Council of Canadians with
Disabilities, March 28, 2008, p. 5)
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
The Committee heard from several witnesses of the particular challenges faced by
newcomers to Canada whose language and culture are not accommodated in public or
other services. For these individuals and families, income support is only part of what is
required to facilitate their integration into the broader Canadian society and economy.
Option 48: Improve English and French as a second language program
The Committee heard that “40per cent of immigrants over the past 10 years did not
speak English or French at the time of arrival. Moreover, in a post-industrial economy
inter-personal skills are of greater importance, and poorer communication skills, such as
accented English, can be a liability in the marketplace.” (Gray, Evidence, 29 May 2007).
________________________________________________________________________
34
Research confirms that the ability to speak the host community language (either English
or French) is a key factor in employment and community integration. Further, as one
analyst notes, host-country language facility also impacts other aspects of integration,
such as credential recognition.
Federal and provincial governments fund English as a second language programs and
Francisation for newcomers. However, there are some concerns that these efforts are
inadequate – in particular that the level of language instruction offered is inadequate for
workplace competency. In response, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
introduced Enhanced Language Training (ELT) in 2004, to provide job-specific, labour
market-level language training, often including a bridge-to-work component. Recent
evaluations are promising.
Option 49: Work with the provinces to establish minimum standards for English or
French second language training
Witnesses reported to the Committee that the level of teaching English as a second
language varies considerably across the country. Witnesses suggested these differences
may be the result of devolution of responsibility for settlement services to the provincial
governments, accompanied by the transfer of funds from the federal government into
general provincial revenues.
Option 50: Change English and French assessment process for economic immigrants
The percentage of economic immigrants who come to Canada with an English-speaking
background has declined over time, reflecting shifting source countries away from
Europe and the United States and towards Asia and the Middle East. While ability in
English and/or French accounts for a maximum of 24 of 67 points for economic
immigration, Canada’s skilled worker application process relies on self-assessment of
language ability.
Australia implemented mandatory externally validated pre-migration English-language
assessment and has seen a corresponding increase in the proportion of economic migrants
with a good command of English. A recent migration review in that country confirmed
that the change to independent language ability assessment has had a positive impact on
labour market outcomes.66 At the same time, the changes to economic immigration have
not altered the ethnic composition of immigrants to Australia.
Option 51: Scale up successful initiatives, such as bridging programs
Several witnesses mentioned bridging programs as a successful way to surmount the
Canadian experience barrier. These programs operate alongside other initiatives intended
to integrate immigrants into the workforce. A recent survey of practitioners in this field
66
Lesleyanne Hawthorne, “The Impact of Economic Selection Policy on Labour Market Outcomes for
Degree-Qualified Migrants in Canada and Australia,” IRPP Choices, Vol. 14, no. 5, May 2008, p.35.
________________________________________________________________________
35
found “three primary characteristics of successful bridging programs: they must be
designed with input from all stakeholders involved, include accurate and comprehensive
assessment of participants, and be financially solvent.”67 While many of the programs
offered are provincially funded, some receive federal funding. Further federal leadership
could be provided in collecting and disseminating best practices or facilitating
information exchange among practitioners.
Option 52: Ensure on-going monitoring of federal efforts to coordinate foreign
credential recognition
While the federal government is responsible for establishing immigrant selection criteria,
the responsibility for recognizing experience and credentials is shared among five
provincial assessment authorities, over 400 regulatory bodies, more than 200 accredited
post-secondary institutions, industry sector councils, non-governmental organizations,
and employers.68 The federal government plays a co-ordinating role, both through the
Foreign Credential Recognition program, which coordinates the efforts of over 14 federal
departments in this area, and through the Foreign Credential Referral Office (FCRO),
launched in May 2007. The FCRO is intended to better inform prospective immigrants
and newcomers about the Canadian labour market and participation requirements.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Dianne Finley announced in May 2008 new
funding for the FCRO as well as plans to expand its overseas services.
Option 53: On-going support for Canada’s action plan against racism
The Committee heard that, according to recent citizen engagement initiatives,
“unanimously, the number one cause of racialized poverty that has been identified is
systemic racism and its manifestation in various forms.” (Go, Issue 4, 13 March 2008)
Witnesses have pointed to the uneven labour market outcomes of Canadian-born
descendents of immigrants as proof that lack of Canadian experience and foreign
credentials are not the only factors contributing to these outcomes.
Under Canada’s action plan against racism launched in 2005, several initiatives have
been implemented to increase knowledge and understanding of diversity, facilitate more
engagement of federal partners and other stakeholders on racism-related issues, and
increase the consideration given to the needs of cultural and Aboriginal communities.
These initiatives have undertaken data collection, research and consultation; training,
information and awareness development; financial support and partnership development;
and policy, programs and service development.69 The most recent report indicated that
67
David Duncan, “Improving Bridging Programs: Compiling Best Practices from a Survey of Canadian
Bridging Programs”, Public Policy Forum, January 2008, p. 1
68
Lesleyanne Hawthorne, “Foreign Credential Recognition and Assessment: An Introduction,” Canadian
Issues, Spring 2007, p. 3.
69
Reporting on Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism is part of the Annual Report on the Operation of the
Canadian Multiculturalism Act.
________________________________________________________________________
36
stakeholders welcome the plan, but would like to see greater focus on the following
areas: providing more public education to increase the understanding of racism; more
attention to the challenges of combating racism outside major urban centres; better
integration of the perspectives of youth, women and Aboriginal peoples; closer
partnership with other levels of government on issues such as housing and education; and
a broader discussion on eliminating racism in the workplace to include more partners.70
70
Canadian Heritage, Promoting Integration, Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian
Multiculturalism Act, 2008, p. 26
________________________________________________________________________
37
IV. HOUSING
Issue 3:
Too many Canadians do not have access to
adequate and affordable housing
Like poverty, unaffordable and/or inaccessible housing and homelessness are complex
issues, with many causes and a panoply of proposed solutions. In an even more general
sense, housing and homelessness are intertwined with poverty and risk of income
inadequacy across the population, because housing is the single largest regular
expenditure most Canadian households face.71
Moreover, as the Committee heard from several witnesses, housing can often be the
anchor needed for disadvantaged Canadians to gain access to other supports and services
that will assist them and their families to move forward in their lives. The following
graphic demonstrates the integrating role that housing can play:
Figure 4:
Source: Tom Carter and Chesya. Housing Is Good Social Policy. CPRN Research Report F|50.
Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks, 2004, p. 31. Accessed from
http://www.cprn.org/download.cfm?doc=1131&file=33525_en.pdf&format=pdf&l=en
June 4, 2008.
71
The Dynamics of Housing Affordability, Research Highlight, Socio-economic Series 08-002, Canada
Mortgage and Housing, January 2008, p. 1.
________________________________________________________________________
38
Housing markets in Canadian cities offer a range of accommodation, from emergency
shelters, through transitional housing, social rental housing, private market rental
housing, and home ownership. Most Canadians are housed in the private market, either as
tenants or owners. And most are in housing that is affordable.72
AFFORDABILITY
A study based on longitudinal data showed that the situation of households facing
affordability problems may be short-term or long-term. While one-fifth of households in
Canada spent more than 30per cent of their income on housing in any given year between
2002 and 2004, fewer than one in ten did so in all three years, and more than one in four
did so at least once over the three years.73 This suggests that for some people, housing
affordability is a chronic problem, while for others it is transient. In either case, finding
affordable housing was a challenge for 28per cent of households.
The following chart (Figure 5) from the study shows that groups that are over-represented
among low-income Canadians are also more likely to face both short-term and persistent
affordability problems. These include adults living alone, lone parents, people with
disabilities, recent immigrants, visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples.
These same groups are more likely to face a severe affordability burden, in that more than
50per cent of their income is spent on housing.74 Among renters in the private market
only, 7per cent faced a severe affordability burden. That proportion rose to 40per cent
for non-seniors living alone, 44per cent for people with a disability, and 80per cent for
households with incomes below $20,000.
As well, many women experience disproportionate housing affordability problems,
especially unattached women and female lone parents who rent their homes. In 2003,
72per cent of unattached women aged 65 and over who rented were considered to have
housing affordability problems. 42per cent of renter families headed by female lone
parents had housing affordability problems.75 Figure 3 below demonstrates some of the
gender differences in terms of affordability. Witnesses also identified these issues
(Kothari, Evidence, 8 May 2008; Klodawsky, Evidence, 4 June 2008).
72
CMHC defines affordability in terms of “the share of before-tax household income spent on
shelter costs, or the Shelter Cost-to-Income Ratio1 (STIR).” According to CMHC, “A benchmark of less
than 30 per cent for the STIR is commonly accepted as the upper limit for defining affordable housing.”
Ibid.
73
Ibid., p. 2.
74
This definition and the data in this section are taken from Jacqueline Luffman, “Measuring housing
affordability”, Perspectives, 2006, Statistics Canada Catalogue Number 75-001-XIE.
75
Fran Klodawsky, “Landscapes on the Margins: Gender and homelessness in Canada,” Gender, Place and
Culture, Vol. 13, No. 44, p. 366.
________________________________________________________________________
39
Figure 5: Probability† of people exceeding the housing affordability benchmark
(STIR ≥ 30per cent) over 2002-2004, Canada, Selected socio-economic variables
Source: The Dynamics of Housing Affordability, Research Highlight,
Socio-economic Series 08-002, Canada Mortgage and Housing, January 2008, p. 6.
________________________________________________________________________
40
Figure 6: Percentage of women and men paying 30per cent or more
of total gross household income on shelter costs, by household type, 2003
Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Household Spending
As demonstrated in Figure 6 above, persistent low income has affected housing
affordability for immigrants. Recent Statistics Canada research indicates that “for
immigrants, the median household income is lower and shelter costs higher than that of
the Canadian-born population”.76 In 2006, the proportion of immigrants living in
households that spent 30per cent or more of their income on shelter was highest for
recent immigrants (41.4per cent) and declined over time. The proportion of total
immigrants who spent more than the affordability threshold was 28.5per cent, compared
to 18.6per cent of the Canadian-born population.
Option 54: Encourage provincial governments to increase levels of income assistance
Among the elements proposed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for a
National Housing Strategy is the enhancement of the shelter components of social
assistance or social assistance levels more generally.77 The importance of increasing
assistance rates for women was also identified by a Committee witness. (Kothari,
Evidence, 8 May 2008)
76
Statistics Canada – Catalogue no. 97-554, p.28
“Housing for All”, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Accessed from
http://www.fcm.ca/english/View.asp?mp=467&x=712 June 3, 2008.
77
________________________________________________________________________
41
Option 55: Provide rental subsidies or vouchers to individuals in need.
Subsidies to make rents more affordable have often been provided to landlords; the
Committee heard another option which is to provide a subsidy directly to the individual
with the affordability problem. (Drover, Issue 23, 10 May 2007)
Such a program, whether a shelter allowance or voucher, is also one short-term element
of the National Housing Strategy proposed by the FCM78, Winnipeg Harvest (Winnipeg
Harvest, “Brief To the Senate Subcommittee on Cities”, May I, 2008, p. 5. Official
submission to the Committee), and the Frontier Centre on Public Policy.79
A detailed shelter allowance program forms a recommendation in transition to a longer
term housing strategy (addressed below) from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities:
… in the short-term, the Government of Canada should take immediate
steps to address affordability problems by providing people with the
income assistance they need to afford housing. A shelter allowance
program should be targeted to working poor households with the objective
of reducing excessive rent burdens (for those paying more than 50 per cent
of income for rent) to a ratio closer to the 30 per cent norm. This would
improve opportunities for households to avoid housing-induced poverty
and related issues of evictions and recurrent moves.80
SUPPLY OF AFFORDABLE MARKET HOUSING
While market housing construction targeted for ownership has outstripped household
formation in recent years,81 the same is not true of rental housing supplied by the private
market. For example, there were 39,070 fewer private rented units reported in the 2006
Census than in the 2001 Census.82 The following chart (Figure 7) demonstrates the
impact this has had on affordable rental units.
78
“Housing for All”, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Accessed from
http://www.fcm.ca/english/View.asp?mp=467&x=712 June 3, 2008.
79
Rebecca Walberg, “Escaping the poverty trap: from public housing to home owner”, Frontier Centre on
Public Policy. Accessed from http://westernstandard.ca/website/article.php?id=2788&start=0 June 6, 2008.
80
“Housing for All”, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Accessed from
http://www.fcm.ca/english/View.asp?mp=467&x=712 June 3, 2008.
81
2006 Census Housing Series: Issue 1— Demographics and Housing Construction, Research Highlight,
Canada Mortgage and Housing, January 2008, p. 3.
82
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, “Rental Housing in Ontario”. Accessed from
http://www.acto.ca/english/acto_content.php?topic=7&sub=184 June 4, 2008.
________________________________________________________________________
42
Figure 7 – Change in number of rental units by rent level, Canada, 1996-2001
Source: Steve Pomeroy, “Rental Housing in Canada’s Housing System”, presentation to
Australian National Housing Conference, 2008.
http://nationalhousingconference.org.au/downloads/2008/DayOne/Pomeroy_NHC2008.pdf
June 6, 2008.
Option 56: Amend taxation policies and regulations to encourage the private
construction of rental housing
As noted above, private construction of rental housing has been minimal over the last
decade. A number of witnesses have suggested that the federal tax system could be used
to provide incentives for such construction, along the lines of grants offered in the 1970s,
and tax credits offered in the 1980s. (Hanson, Evidence, 5 June 2008, Ballantye, Issue 1,
21 November 2007) Private developers have made the same recommendation,83 as has
the FCM.84
83
Urban Development Institute Canada & Urban Development Institute/Ontario, “Investing for the Future:
The Needs of Urban Regions in Canada”, Presentation to the Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on
Urban Affairs, 2001, p. 10.
84
“Housing for All”, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Accessed from
http://www.fcm.ca/english/View.asp?mp=467&x=712 June 3, 2008.
________________________________________________________________________
43
Option 57: Create a national roundtable on rental housing
Private housing developers have called for the creation of a national roundtable on rental
housing, including all three levels of government and the development industry, to work
together to encourage the creation of rental housing supply.85
Option 58: Provide rent supplements to landlords
Historically, rental supplements paid directly to private landlords have contributed to
meeting some of the need for affordable rental housing. One policy analyst has
recommended $500 million a year for rent supplements for about 160,000 households. He
proposes rent supplements based on a formula linked to household income that establish
a legal relationship between government and landlord.86
Option 59: Dedicate a portion of federal funding on housing to affordable home
ownership
The Committee has heard of benefits associated with home ownership, including
community regeneration, asset-building for owners, and an easing of the demand for
rental accommodations (Gadon, Issue 4, 6 March 2008; Hanson, Evidence, 5 June 2008;
Paris, Evidence, 5 June 2008; Pomeroy, Evidence, 5 June 2008). For low-income
Canadians, these benefits could be especially attractive. However, for many of them, the
housing market is not affordable or accessible. The “affordability gap”, the amount
between what even the high end of low-income Canadians can afford and the costs
associated with private ownership, is demonstrated in Figure 8 below.
Additional barriers might be the lack of a down payment or a credit rating that would
permit the acquisition of a mortgage. The current federal funding agreements have
included some affordable home ownership projects in many provinces and territories.
While other such projects have been constructed without federal funding of any kind, the
Committee heard from witnesses that home ownership for Aboriginal peoples in cities
would not be possible without federal support, which was recommended by one witness
(Seymour, Issue 1, 29 November 2007) and a recent conference on aboriginal housing.87
85
Urban Development Institute Canada & Urban Development Institute/Ontario, “Investing for the Future:
The Needs of Urban Regions in Canada”, Presentation to the Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on
Urban Affairs, 2001, p. 10.
86
J. David Hulchanski, “Rethinking Canada’s Affordable Housing Challenge”, Centre for Urban and
Community Studies, University of Toronto, 2005, p. 11. Accessed from
http://www.urbancentre.utoronto.ca/pdfs/elibrary/Hulchanski-Housing-Affd-pap.pdf June 4, 2008.
87
Report on Workshop Affordable Home Ownership for Aboriginal People, cited in “Report on
Proceedings: National Summit on Urban Aboriginal Housing-Winnipeg-March 10-12, 2007”, p. 17.
Accessed from http://www.aboriginalhousing.org/PDF/FINALREPORT_ON_SUMMIT_PROCEEDINGS-JUNE_20-07.pdf June 9, 2008
________________________________________________________________________
44
Figure 8: Affordability gap in affordable home ownership
Household financial capacity
40 yrs @ 6%
$350,000
$300,000
25 yrs @ 6%
Entry Level Home Price
$250,000
$200,000
GAP
$150,000
Maximum Mortgage Capacity
$100,000
$50,000
$36,000
$48,000
$60,000
$72,000
$76,000
Source: Keith Hanson, “Affordable Ownership Housing”,
Official submission to the Committee, June 5, 2008.
Supporting capital costs, as is now possible under the bilateral agreements can
significantly reduce the costs of producing housing, and therefore can make the costs
more affordable. This was a particular recommendation of one witness. (Paris, Evidence,
5 June 2008)
Option 60: Amend the Income Tax Act to make investment in affordable home
ownership development more attractive to investors
Witnesses with direct experience in developing affordable housing for ownership and an
analyst on the same panel suggested to the Committee that steps be taken to provide some
tax incentives to private investors to invest in home ownership Examples included
“shared equity” plans which would allow a small investor to own part of a unit that was
occupied by someone else (Paris, Evidence, 5 June 2008), or allowing such an investor to
benefit from part of the capital gain when the housing unit was sold, equivalent to the
proportion of the purchase price provided by the investor (Hanson, Evidence, 5 June
2008). A third example was permitting risk-averse investors to benefit from the same tax
benefit provided to venture capitalists on their gains. (Hanson, Evidence, 5 June 2008;
Pomeroy, Evidence, 5 June 2008).
________________________________________________________________________
45
SUPPLY OF SOCIAL HOUSING
The supply of non-market housing was frozen for about ten years in most of Canada,
tapering off with the end of federal funding for non-profit construction in 1993. Nonmarket housing includes non-profit (private or municipally owned) and co-operative
housing, in the rental market.
Option 61: Sustain and extend current federal investment in construction of new social
housing
The federal government’s involvement in supporting the construction of new rental
housing to be held by public or non-profit landlords goes back more than 50 years. In
addition to providing the actual rental units, the federal investment could be seen as a
means of providing roughly equal housing opportunity to Canadians across the country,
regardless of specific local housing conditions.88 The most recent form of federal
investments has taken the form of bilateral agreements with every province that included
funds designated for new rental construction.
Witnesses have told the Committee that funding for new construction is an important part
of the solution to the affordability problem. For example, one witness described the
importance of this and other federal programs: “These [federal] national housing and
homelessness programs and the positive results they produce are no less than housing life
rafts to the families and individuals who have been set adrift in a turbulent housing
market that they cannot compete in or afford.” (Gadon, Issue 4, 6 March 2008)
Recommendations for sustaining this funding and adding to it came from many
witnesses. For example, the Canadian Council on Social Development called for an
annual expenditure of $2 billion for new housing for low-income Canadians (Scott, Issue
23, 10 May 2007). The FCM is looking for expansion of the non-market affordable
housing by 15per cent of total housing starts each year, to stabilize anticipated new need
(DeCicco-Best, Issue 4, 6 March 2008). A housing analyst and scholar who was not able
to appear before the Committee proposed an annual budget of $1 billion for new social
housing units. 89 Finally, the government’s National Advisory Council on Aging called
for increased investment in seniors’ housing.90
Other witnesses specifically cited the absence of new construction of social housing as a
problem, without proposing specific remedies.91
88
Tom Carter and Chesya. Housing Is Good Social Policy. CPRN Research Report F|50. Ottawa: Canadian
Policy Research Networks, 2004, p. 35. Accessed from
http://www.cprn.org/download.cfm?doc=1131&file=33525_en.pdf&format=pdf&l=en June 4, 2008.
89
J. David Hulchanski, “Rethinking Canada’s Affordable Housing Challenge”, Centre for Urban and
Community Studies, University of Toronto, 2005, p. 11. Accessed from
http://www.urbancentre.utoronto.ca/pdfs/elibrary/Hulchanski-Housing-Affd-pap.pdf June 4, 2008.
90
National Advisory Council on Aging, Aging in Poverty in Canada, 2006, p. 29.
91
Hunter, no. 25, 13 June 2007; Kraus, Issue 2, 6 December 2007; Noble, Issue 4, 7 February 2008.
________________________________________________________________________
46
Option 62: Sustain existing funding for operational subsidies
Federal operating subsidies for non-profit housing (some downloaded from the federal to
provincial and from them to municipal governments) were all scheduled to expire with
the mortgages on those properties. This would result in a loss of $2 billion over the 20
years, as demonstrated by the following chart (Figure 9). While some non-profit housing
providers (both municipal and private) are trying to continue to provide affordable
housing by cross-subsidizing from market to non-market units, others are all non-market
units (including those specific units downloaded by the federal government in the late
1980s, and urban Aboriginal housing), and affordability cannot be sustained beyond the
life of the agreements.92
Figure 9:
Annual Federal Housing Subsidy Expenditures Decline Dramatically 2000
2005
2010
2015
2020
2025
2030
‐
(200.0)
(400.0)
$ Millions
(600.0)
(800.0)
(1,000.0)
(1,200.0)
(1,400.0)
(1,600.0)
(1,800.0)
Source: Steve Pomeroy, “Where’s the Money Gone? An Analysis of Declining Government
Housing Expenditures”, Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, 2007, p. ii.
With respect to urban Native housing, witnesses reported that some providers are already
selling off units to subsidize operating costs on others, as federal contributions for
operating expenses have expired (Seymour, Issue 1, 29 November 2007) and that more of
the same should be expected. (Brown, Issue 1, 29 November 2007)
Three national organizations – the FCM, the Canadian Cooperative Association, and the
Canadian Housing and Renewal Association - and one municipality have identified the
importance of sustaining operating subsidy funding in the housing system as well93 .
92
Steve Pomeroy, “Where’s the Money Gone? An Analysis of Declining Government Housing
Expenditures”, Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, 2007, p. 14.
93
Chisolm, Issue 1, 21 November 2007; Gazzard, Issue 1, 21 November 2007; Federation of Canadian
Municipalities, “Sustaining the Momentum: Recommendations for a National Action Plan on Housing and
________________________________________________________________________
47
2035
Option 63: Extend and stabilize funding for Residential Rehabilitation Assistance
Program (RRAP)
The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program is one of the longest standing federal
programs with respect to housing, assisting low-income Canadians and those providing
housing for them to make needed repairs to their properties. This program has never
been given on-going funding, with current agreements requiring extension or renewal
every three years. The current agreement will expire at the end of this fiscal year, March
2009. Several witnesses have made the strong case for renewing this funding, and
making it permanent. (DeCicco-Best, Issue 4, 6 March 2008; Kothari, Evidence, 8 May
2008)
Option 64: Make federal housing-related programs longer term
Federal housing programs over the last decade and more have consisted of short-term
programs of no more than three years’ duration. Given the length of time required to
submit proposals for affordable housing, have them accepted, acquire land, get necessary
permits and approvals, and undertake construction, these time-frames are not sufficient,
and create pressures that are sometimes insurmountable. Witnesses before the
Committee have made the case for longer term commitments when housing programs are
developed.
The Committee heard from witnesses about the need to make funding more predictable,
to allow for the time involved in the planning process, and to allow communities to take
advantage of funds available to them (Fairbairn, Issue 4, 6 March 2008; DeCicco-Best,
Issue 4, 6 March 2008; Hanson, Evidence, 5 June 2008). Research by another witness
made a similar recommendation with respect to programs targeted to immigrants to
Canada.94
Option 65: Encourage private investment in social housing
Public-private partnerships are being encouraged by federal policy and programs,
including within Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and could be
applied to the supply of social housing as well. The Committee heard that involving the
private sector is critical to meeting the housing needs of low-income Canadians in
particular. (Matthews, Issue 21, 26 April 2007)
Whether in reference to old programs (Wake Carrol, Issue 23, 17 May 2007), or
describing current practices (Gadon, Issue 4, 6 March 2008; DeCicco-Best, Issue 4, 6
March 2008), there was agreement that encouraging private-sector involvement is
Homelessness”, January 2008, p. 4. Official submission to the Committee, 6 March 2008; Gadon, Issue 4, 6
March 2008)
94
Sarah V. Wayland, “The Housing Needs of Immigrants and Refugees in Canada”, Canadian Housing and
Renewal Association, May 16, 2007.
________________________________________________________________________
48
beneficial in terms of cost and engaging private-sector developers in issues of affordable
housing and homelessness.
Option 66: Sustain targeted program for Urban Aboriginal Housing
The Committee has heard extensively about the over-representation of Aboriginal people
among the poor, especially in Canadian cities, the trend to increasing proportions of onreserve First Nations people moving into Canadian cities, and the dearth of affordable
housing available to them. The chart below (Figure 10) demonstrates the depth of
affordability problems facing Aboriginal people in Canadians cities.
Option 67: Allocate a percentage of all federal social housing dollars to housing for
Aboriginal peoples off-reserve.
The Committee heard from witnesses of the particular disadvantages faced by Aboriginal
peoples in Canada’s cities, particularly with respect to housing. A recent national
conference on Aboriginal housing recommended that a fixed percentage (the example
given was 25per cent) of all federal housing commitments be so allocated.95 A committee
witness echoed this recommendation. (Seymour, Issue 1, 27 November 2007)
Witnesses have stressed to the Committee that the operating subsidies for affordable
rental accommodation for Aboriginal peoples will need to match costs, and must be made
permanent. (Poirier, Issue 1, 29 November 2007; Brown, Issue 1, 29 November 2007).
.95 Report on Workshop on Policies & Legislative Changes Needed to Improve Urban Aboriginal Housing
Operation & Delivery, 2007. p.15
________________________________________________________________________
49
Figure 10:
Source: Ryan Walker, “Social Housing and the Role of Aboriginal Organizations
in Canadian Cities”, IRPP Choices, Vol. 14, No. 4, May 2008, p. 5.
As has been described for social housing in general, the operating agreements for the
Urban Native Housing Program are coming to the end of their 35-year life-span. As noted
above, some are already reducing the number of affordable units, and others are expected
to do so in the future. Because these projects were created and funded on the basis of all
units being rent-geared-to-income, there is no cross-subsidization possible between
market and non-market units. Finally, the lack of supply of affordable housing for
Aboriginal people moving into cities has often resulted in overcrowding in existing units,
resulting in high maintenance costs.
Witnesses have told the Committee that not only must the operating agreements be
extended, but the time-line for the agreements must be long-term, if not permanent.
(Poirier, Issue 1, 29 November 2007; Anderson, Issue 1, 21 November 2007; Brown,
Issue 1, 29 November 2007). The FCM has called for the creation of a special fund to
________________________________________________________________________
50
address on- and off-reserve housing96, as has the National Association of Friendship
Centres97 and the Assembly of First Nations.98
Option 68: Develop Aboriginal housing strategy in collaboration with Aboriginal
organizations and housing providers
Several witnesses identified the particularly dire circumstances facing Aboriginal peoples
living in cities and their increasing numbers. In addition to the calls for sustained and
increased funding, a separate housing strategy for Aboriginal peoples to be delivered by
Aboriginal organizations was a strong recommendation from a recent national conference
on Aboriginal housing.99
Option 69: Provide short-term use-specific funding to non-profit housing providers to
retrofit and/or maintain existing social housing units
Federal funding arrangements for housing have been based on an end to operating
subsidies when mortgages are paid off, on the assumption that the equity in these
buildings could be the basis for on-going operating funding. Regrettably, this is not the
reality that non-profit housing providers are facing.
Several witnesses before the Committee described a need for significant renovation
and/or retrofitting in much social housing stock. In some cases, historical restrictions on
capital reserves and/or maximum unit costs imposed by government programs have had
an impact on the current demand for such major investments.
The situation is, perhaps, most dire in Toronto:
About 65 per cent of the units of the 60,000 units we have were built prior
to 1975. They are well beyond the stage in which you need to renew that
housing stock and refurbish it and regenerate for low-income households.
One of the great difficulties … is that the investments that we made in
housing as a nation, as federal, provincial and municipal governments,
have to be renewed, and currently there is no way of assembling the
capital to do that. (Ballantyne, Issue 1, 21 November 2007)
96
“Housing for All”, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Accessed from
http://www.fcm.ca/english/View.asp?mp=467&x=712 June 3, 2008.
97
Alfred Gay, National Association of Friendship Centres, cited in “Report on Proceedings: National
Summit on Urban Aboriginal Housing-Winnipeg-March 10-12, 2007”, p. 8. Accessed from
http://www.aboriginalhousing.org/PDF/FINAL-REPORT_ON_SUMMIT_PROCEEDINGS-JUNE_2007.pdf June 9, 2008
98
Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Housing Action Plan, 2005, p. 6. Accessed from
http://www.afn.ca/cmslib/general/Housing-AP.pdf June 10, 2008.
99
Report on Workshop on Policies & Legislative Changes Needed to Improve Urban Aboriginal Housing
Operation & Delivery, cited in “Report on Proceedings: National Summit on Urban Aboriginal HousingWinnipeg-March 10-12, 2007”, p. 15. Accessed from http://www.aboriginalhousing.org/PDF/FINALREPORT_ON_SUMMIT_PROCEEDINGS-JUNE_20-07.pdf June 9, 2008
________________________________________________________________________
51
This witness identified a $300 million shortfall. A $90 million investment is also needed
in Manitoba over the next five years (McCracken, Issue 23, 17 May 2007). FCM has
included preservation and modernization in its national strategy, reporting that one-third
of existing social housing stock – or 200,000 units – is at risk, and calling for funds to
upgrade 20,000 units per year. (DeCicco-Best, Issue 4, 6 March 2008)
Option 70: Develop a national housing strategy in collaboration with provincial and
territorial and municipal governments, and housing providers, realtors and lenders
Virtually every witness who appeared before the Committee to address housing-related
issues cited the need for federal leadership with respect to housing affordability, and most
called for a national housing strategy or framework. These witnesses, like the research
study cited below, are looking for more than money, though funding is critical:
The federal government has to provide more than funds and guidelines,
however, on how money is to be spent. Leadership is required to initiate
new programs, to work to rationalize policy at the federal level, to engage
other federal departments in making the necessary changes to integrate
housing with other areas of the social and economic sectors, and to
enhance research and development.100
The FCM has released the most detailed proposal, most of which have already been cited.
Its general recommendation, setting the context for such a strategy, called for
collaboration with provincial/territorial and municipal governments, and that its goal is to
eliminate homelessness within 10 years. Other specific recommendations not cited
elsewhere include targeting energy retrofit programs to low-income homeowners and
tenants, and regulatory reform to ensure greater affordability.101
Other witnesses explicitly calling for federal leadership included municipal officials and
non-government organizations, (Go, Issue 4, 13 March 2008; Gadon; Issue 4, 6 March
2008; Donio, no. 25, 14 June, p. 4; Gazzard. Issue 1, 21 November 2007; Association of
Food Banks, Issue 21, 3 May 2007; Big Cities Mayors’ Caucus of the FCM; Yalnizyan,
Issue 4, 28 February 2008; Winnipeg Harvest, “Brief To the Senate Subcommittee on
Cities”, May 1, 2008, p. 15. Official submission to the Committee; Klodawsky,
Evidence, June 4, 2008; Kothari, Evidence, May 8, 2008; and Porter, Evidence, 8 May
2008)
Some witnesses explicitly called for a national housing strategy as a companion to a
national poverty-reduction strategy (Anderson, Issue 1, 21 November 2007; Crooks,
100
Tom Carter and Chesya. Housing Is Good Social Policy. CPRN Research Report F|50.
Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks, 2004, p. 33. Accessed from
http://www.cprn.org/download.cfm?doc=1131&file=33525_en.pdf&format=pdf&l=en June 4, 2008.
101
“Housing for All”, Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Accessed from
http://www.fcm.ca/english/View.asp?mp=467&x=712 June 3, 2008.
________________________________________________________________________
52
Issue 2, 6 December 2007). The need for a similar linkage between strategies on housing
and homelessness has also been identified:
A homelessness program that is not part of a housing strategy simply
maintains people in their houseless state and requires more funding for
further services as the number of such people increases.102
Option 71: Designate federal lands which have been used for housing to be provided to
non-profit housing developers to retrofit or redevelop for affordable rental or
ownership units
When urban military bases have been closed in the past, they revert to the Canada Lands
Corporation, “…an arm’s length, self-financing Crown corporation” which has dual
goals: to provide the best possible benefit to local communities and to the Government of
Canada.103 As part of the National Homelessness Initiative and then the National
Homelessness Partnership, the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative
has made some surplus federal lands available to non-profit housing developers,
sometimes at a below-market price. A more formal and non-program-dependent
commitment would assist providers of both rental and ownership units on an affordable
basis to acquire land in areas that might otherwise be unaffordable. Witnesses have
suggested that making affordable housing facilitation a mandate of the Canada Lands
Corporation might achieve the same goal (Carr, Evidence, 5 June 2008).
ACCESS
The Committee has heard about physical barriers to affordable housing for persons with
mobility or other impairments; about barriers created by discrimination, based on source
of income or race, for example; and about access issues for immigrant families based on
inadequacy of housing to meet their needs, which include larger housing units to
accommodate larger and extended families. With respect to immigrants, these barriers are
also a serious impediment to immigrant settlement and integration in Canada.
Option 72: Require all rental units built with federal funds or land subsidies to be
universally accessible, meeting standards that permit access by those with physical
impairments
While some units built with federal subsidies have been accessible, for example, for
individuals who rely on wheelchairs for mobility, they have usually been in dedicated
projects or a small proportion of units in large multi-unit buildings.
102
J. David Hulchanski, “Rethinking Canada’s Affordable Housing Challenge”, Centre for Urban and
Community Studies, University of Toronto, 2005, p. 12. Accessed from
http://www.urbancentre.utoronto.ca/pdfs/elibrary/Hulchanski-Housing-Affd-pap.pdf June 4, 2008.
103
“CLC ANNOUNCES SALE OF BENNY FARM VETERANS BUILDINGS TO OMHM”, News
release from Canada Lands Corporation, October 21, 2007. Accessed from
http://www.clc.ca/en/NR/news/pdf/2007/sale.pdf June 5, 2008.
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53
The Committee has heard that to allow equitable access to affordable housing, all units
should be built to meet universal accessibility standards. (COPHAN, « La Lutte Contre
la Pauvreté et l’Exclusion Sociale des Personnes ayant des Limitation Fonctionnelles :
Appliquons les Droits », Présentation au Sous-Comité Sénatorial sur les Grandes Villes,
17 April 2008)
OPTIONS TO INCREASE ACCESS FOR IMMIGRANT FAMILIES
As noted above, witnesses described housing challenges faced by immigrant families.
One of these witnesses, Sarah Wayland, also researched these housing issues,104 and
proposed the following options to improve access:
•
•
•
•
With provincial and territorial governments, provide incentives to social housing
providers and private rental landlords to modify existing stock and supply new
stock that will accommodate larger newcomer families.
With provincial and municipal authorities, work with service providers to better
educate newcomers about existing laws regarding landlord-tenant issues as part of
the settlement process; provide better information on how to search for housing;
and educate newcomers about rules of living in high rise units, perhaps in video
form.
Federal authorities (Citizenship and Immigration, CMHC, Department of Justice)
undertake a national initiative to translate basic housing documents into a number
of languages which could be used across the country (with some leeway for
provincial and territorial differences).
In future funding programs, encourage collaboration between housing help/rent
bank/eviction prevention services and immigrant settlement services.
Option 73: Restore federal funding, through the Canada Social Transfer, for Court
Challenges and civil legal aid services
Although the Canada Assistance Plan explicitly included matching federal dollars for
provincial expenditures on civil legal aid services, when the program was replaced with
the Canada Health and Social Transfer, and then the Canada Social Transfer, civil legal
aid was not included among social services that could be supported with these federal
funds. Witnesses and research have reported that some tenants face discrimination based
on prohibited grounds contained in provincial or federal human rights legislation or even
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
While federal funds for legal aid support criminal cases, they do not extend to
administrative law, where many housing decisions lie. For example, decisions about
eviction can often be appealed to administrative tribunals, or appeals can be made on
fines or fees imposed by public utilities. Yet, without civil legal aid funding, which many
104
Sarah Wayland, “The Housing Needs of Immigrants and Refugees in Canada”. Canadian Housing and
Renewal Association, 2007, pp. 37-39.
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54
provinces and territories have reduced or eliminated since the loss of federal cost-sharing
for the purpose, many tenants do not have access to these bodies. For this reason,
reinstatement of these funds is an important contributor to access to affordable housing
(Income Security Advocacy Centre “Rights-based Approaches to Income Security”,
Official submission to Committee, p. 4, May 8, 2008).
Option 74: Embed international human rights obligations with respect to shelter into
federal legislation, and federal agreements with provincial, territorial and local
governments
Witnesses before the Committee described the importance of claiming rights under
international obligations before the Courts and public policy deliberations. The UN
Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing cited Canada’s persistent violations of its
international obligations with respect to housing in his interim report. This option has
been suggested by a witness, as a means to begin to give more meaning and weight to
these obligations (Bruce Porter, “Opening Remarks”, Official submission to the
Committee, May 8, 2008, pp. 4-5.). It is noteworthy that federal legislation with respect
to immigration imbeds relevant international obligations.
HOMELESSNESS
While estimates of the number of people who are homeless in Canada vary, even counts
carried out in cities would miss the invisible homeless, those who are sharing crowded
accommodation, moving from one friend’s home to another, or simply not using any
services provided to people who are homeless in their communities. The Committee has
heard that this group includes newcomers to cities, whether people moving from rural to
urban communities, Aboriginal peoples leaving their reserves or isolated northern
communities to move into cities, women or youth escaping violent homes, or refugees
and immigrants who find themselves in our urban communities.
Whatever the actual number, there is widespread agreement that there are too many
people who are homeless, that their numbers are growing in some communities, and that
action by all governments, faith communities and other non-government organizations
have not yet been sufficient to provide shelter or housing for all who are in need.
This is not to suggest that programs that have emerged, many funded at least in part with
federal funding, have not been important and have not alleviated the stress on homeless
individuals and families. Witnesses told the Committee of the positive outcomes
supported by these programs, formerly under the National Homelessness Initiative, and
more recently through the National Homelessness Partnership programs. These included
the requirement for community co-ordination (Kraus, Issue 2, 6 December 2007; (FCM,
“Sustaining the Momentum: Recommendations for a National Action Plan on Housing
and Homelessness”, January 2008, p. 4. Official submission to the Committee, March 6,
2008). One witness described the federal programs “no less than ‘housing life rafts’ to
families and individuals who have been set adrift in a turbulent housing market they
cannot compete in or afford.” (Gadon, Issue 4, 6 March 2008)
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55
Some of those who are homeless would be housed if the recommendations above on
housing were implemented. However, until supply and affordability issues are resolved,
they remain without stable housing. For those individuals and families, witnesses told the
Committee, there is a need to sustain existing emergency shelters and transitional
housing.
For others, the problem is not simply one of supply or affordability. For some who are
homeless, the issues are more complex, and their homelessness may be a proxy for a
combination of other issues that prevent them from finding and keeping affordable
housing, or even emergency shelter.
Yet witnesses told the Committee that homelessness exacerbates illness and addiction.
When asked to comment on the interrelationship between mental illness and
homelessness, one expert witness was unable to determine decisively in her research
which was the cause and which was the effect:
The relationship between mental health and homelessness is complex.
However, while it is not always clear what comes first, it is clear that
many factors that affect patterns of health are also linked to determinants
of homelessness. People with severe mental illness may experience limited
housing, employment and income options. People who are homeless tend
to report higher stress, lower self-worth, less social support and less
effective coping strategies. These factors are associated with depressive
symptoms, substance abuse and suicidal behaviours. Information
presented in CPHI's report indicates that programs that provide housing
first, twinned with appropriate and flexible mental health services, appear
to be effective at helping those who are homeless to stabilize their mental
health problems and to achieve stable housing.
(Votta, Issue 2, 6 December 2007)
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56
Option 75: Increase the supply of supportive housing
The Committee has heard witnesses describe the multiple problems that face too many of
Canada’s homeless: mental illness, addiction, family violence, and/or sexual abuse are
some the Committee has heard about specifically. While stable housing is necessary, the
Committee heard, to allow people to access the services to address these issues, it may
not be enough for some people. For some, services available as an adjunct or component
of their stable shelter is recommended.
Providers of support services to people who have been housed using a “Housing First”
approach report success helping people reduce or stop substance use, and in helping
people cope with mental illness to participate fully in their communities. (Kraus, Issue 2,
6 December 2007)
This recommendation is also consistent with the National Action Plan on Disability
submitted as a brief to the Committee (Council of Canadians with Disabilities, “From
Vision to Action: Building an Inclusive and Accessible Canada – A National Action Plan
on Disability, 2007”, submitted to Subcommittee, March 25, 2008).
Option 76: Extend and stabilize federal funding for programs that can be used to
provide housing and appropriate supports
As noted above, witnesses described the progress that has been facilitated by federal
homelessness programs, and have called for a continuation of these programs to respond
to the need for supportive housing (Kraus, Issue 2, 6 December 2007; FCM, “Sustaining
the Momentum: Recommendations for a National Action Plan on Housing and
Homelessness”, January 2008, p. 20. Official submission to the Committee, March 6,
2008).
Option 77: Support “housing first” approaches to homelessness
The Committee has heard two different perspectives on how to approach homelessness
and permanent affordable housing. The first is a continuum, with emergency shelter at
one end, and permanent housing, ideally owner-occupied in the private market, at the
other. This is represented in Figure 11.
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57
Figure 11:
Source: Housing First: An Investment with a Return in Prosperity,
Report of the Alberta Affordable Housing Task Force, March 2007, p. 13.
This approach was the basis for the federal government’s entry into homelessness
programming, when capital funding was available only for shelters. An alternative
approach is “housing first”, which is based on finding affordable housing with secure
tenure as a first step, which provides the foundation for addressing factors that may have
contributed to an individual becoming homeless, such as addiction or mental health
issues.
Witnesses cited the success of such approaches from research in Canadian cities.
(Votta, Issue 2, 6 December 2007; Kraus, Issue 2, 6 December 2007)
Option 78: Support addiction treatment, including harm reduction, as an approach to
reducing homelessness.
Witnesses identified addiction or substance abuse as a contributing cause, or possibly an
effect, of homelessness for some, with estimates as high as 30 to 40per cent of shelter
clients in major Canadian cities in 2001, and about one-half of homeless people in
Vancouver in 2005. Further, research has demonstrated that conventional addiction
treatment programs are often unsuccessful with people who are homeless. (Kraus, Issue
2, 6 December 2007)
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58
Option 79: Create a national pharmacare program
One expert witness told the Committee about the common physical problems of people
who are living in shelters or are in precarious housing, and about the barriers to their
access to appropriate health care. Primary among these was the lack of access to
prescription drugs, to treat the ailments that may have led to their homelessness and/or
are exacerbated by their precarious living situations. (Peters, Issue 2, 6 December 2007)
It is noteworthy that the creation of such a program would be in keeping with
recommendations made by this Committee and others. In a previous Report, this
Committee called on the federal government to cover 90 per cent of the costs of
prescription drugs above a specified amount.105 The Committee also called for the
creation of a national drug formulary. In 2004, Canada’s First Ministers directed
federal/provincial/territorial health ministers to establish a task force to develop and
implement a national pharmaceuticals strategy. The federal and provincial/territorial
health ministers (with the exception of the Quebec minister of health), participated in the
task force and issued a progress report in 2006 calling for the establishment of a national
drug formulary.106 In 2007, the Canadian Nurses Association adopted a resolution calling
for the creation of a national pharmacare plan.107
Option 80: Create a national homelessness strategy
As noted above, some witnesses called for a housing strategy to address homelessness, or
some combination of the two. One witnesses called for a national homelessness strategy
in its own right. (COPHAN, « La Lutte Contre la Pauvreté et l’Exclusion Sociale des
Personnes ayant des Limitation Fonctionnelles : Appliquons les Droits ». (Présentation au
Sous-Comité Sénatorial sur les Grandes Villes, 17 April 2008)
Option 81: Stabilize adequate funding to organizations providing services to prevent
homelessness and to re-integrate people who are homeless
The Committee had heard from many witnesses of the importance of the contribution
made by non-government organizations in supporting people who are homeless and in
moving them into stable housing and greater social and economic integration. The
Committee has also heard from non-government organizations that unpredictable and/or
inadequate government funding has meant that an increasing proportion of their limited
resources are being allocated to fundraising. (Crooks, Issue 2, 6 December 2007; Kothari,
Evidence, 8 May 2008)
105
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, The Heath of Canadians –
The Federal Role, Vol 6, Recommendations for Reform, October 2002, Chapter 7.2,
http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/2/parlbus/commbus/senate/Com-e/soci-e/rep-e/repoct02vol6-e.htm
106
Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministerial Task Force on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy, National
Pharmaceutical Strategy: Progress Report, 2006 http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/pubs/pharma/2006-npssnpp/2006-nps-snpp-eng.php
107
Canadian Nurses Association, Annual Meeting 2007, Resolution 7, http://www.cnaaiic.ca/CNA/about/meetings/resolutions_2007/default_e.aspx
________________________________________________________________________
59
The Committee also heard from non-government organizations and others that year-toyear funding is not only unworkable for housing programs, but also prevents planning
and efficient program delivery in related programs and services. The Blue Ribbon Panel
on Grants and Contributions Programs and the Auditor General also encouraged the
implementation of longer-term funding agreements.108
Option 82: Simplify application and reporting requirements associated with federal
funding for voluntary organizations
The Committee heard from the witnesses noted above and others of the increasing
administrative burden they are facing to both apply for and report on federal funding
sources (Peters, Issue 2, 6 December 2007; Brown, Issue 1, 29 November 2007. This
recommendation also appears in the report of the Blue-Ribbon Panel.109
Option 83: Develop funding mechanisms for non-government organizations that
encourage innovation building on community strengths and successes
The Committee heard from many non-government witnesses how they have faced
changes in public policy with flexibility, often coming up with innovative approaches to
continue to serve their missions. One witness, representing community foundations,
called on the federal government to fund innovative approaches, and those that build on
successes. (Patten, Evidence, 1 May 2008)
108
From Red Tape to Clear Results, The Blue-Ribbon Panel on Grants and Contributions Programs,
Treasury Board of Canada, 2006, p. 27; Office of the Auditor General, May 2006 Status Report of the
Auditor General of Canada, Chapter 6 “Management of Voted Grants and Contributions”, paragraphs
6.59 to 6.61
109
From Red Tape to Clear Results, p. 19.
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60
V. MACHINERY
Canadian governments are not sufficiently well organized internally or collectively to
harmonize, deliver, or revamp policies and programs related to affordable housing and
the reduction of poverty and homelessness. In particular, there are no formal mechanisms
(with the exception of isolated Urban Development Agreements mentioned below) that
provide for the participation of municipal governments. As political scientist Neil
Bradford (who has not testified before the Committee) observes:
Canada’s national policy machinery and intergovernmental system
remains ill-adapted to changing policy realities and spatial flows. While
governments at all levels are active in cities, there is little evidence of a
coherent agenda, systematic coordination, or even appreciation of
importance of place quality to good outcomes110.
A. Intra-Governmental Arrangements
Issue 4:
The Federal Government is not organized internally
to meet the challenges of poverty, housing and homelessness
The complex challenges involved in resolving poverty, housing and homelessness require
a coordinated, collective response from government departments and agencies. However,
these structures are hierarchic and designed to address narrowly defined issues such as
health, human resources, or transportation while the task of ensuring policy coherence
has fallen to central agencies. This arrangement is ill-suited to deal with complex issues
such as poverty that cross jurisdictional boundaries, whose causes and effects are
multiple and which cannot be resolved by one single-purpose agency of government
acting alone in isolation.
Despite ongoing efforts to realign government to better confront complex issues – to
make government more “horizontal” or “joined-up” – government departments still tend
to function as discrete units or “silos.” Attempts to break down the isolation between and
within departments and agencies have achieved some success but this process runs
counter to entrenched practice and progress has been difficult and slow.
Option 84: Create a cabinet committee chaired by a minister supported by a department
to take the lead on poverty reduction, affordable housing and homelessness
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken an integrated, governmentwide approach to poverty reduction. The province’s Department of Human Resources,
110
Neil Bradford, “Place Matters and Multi-Level Governance: Perspectives on a New Urban Policy
Paradigm”, Policy Options, February 2004, Vol. 25 No. 2.
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61
Labour and Employment was given the lead role in bringing about a collaboration among
seven departments and agencies to develop and deliver a provincial poverty reduction
strategy. This collaborative effort brought together the Departments of Education,
Finance, Health and Community Services, Innovation, Trade and Rural Development,
Justice, and Aboriginal Affairs. The ministers of these departments form a committee of
cabinet whose focus is the poverty reduction strategy. There is a deputy ministers’
committee that backs the cabinet committee and an interdepartmental working group
made up of departmental directors engaged in delivery of the strategy. Newfoundland
and Labrador’s Labour Relations Agency, the Housing Corporation, the Rural
Secretariat, the Women's Policy Office and the Cabinet Secretariat are also involved.
According to testimony given by Ms. Aisling Gogan, of the Newfoundland and Labrador
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, the creation of the cabinet
committee and the interdepartmental deputy ministerial committee have been key to
delivering a coordinated, focused effort to reduce poverty. Program overlap and
duplication have been minimized or eliminated, communications between those involved
in the design and delivery of the strategy have been enhanced, and a long-term focus on
poverty reduction has been developed and sustained. (Issue 23, 17 May 2007)
Option 85: Create a minister/secretary of state for poverty reduction, housing and
homelessness
As an alternative to establishing a new minister, the government (Governor-in-Council)
could establish a minister/secretary of state with responsibilities for poverty reduction,
housing and homelessness. A minister of state might be backed by a new department, or
support existing ministers with responsibilities in these areas.111
Option 86: Appoint a poverty commissioner
In the past, the federal government has created commissioners (for example, the
Commissioner for Sustainable Development and the Environment) whose role it is to
monitor and report on the federal government’s delivery of initiatives within its own
jurisdiction. The government could establish a commissioner to monitor its efforts to
reduce poverty and homelessness and increase affordable housing. The commissioner
could be given the status of Officer of Parliament – such as the Auditor General or the
Chief Electoral Officer who report directly to Parliament and are accountable to it.
Option 87: Create a single window within the federal government to supply expertise
on place-based policy issues such as poverty, housing and homelessness
A witness suggested that a single-window office could be established in the federal
government where the expertise in place-based policy could be clustered and work as a
service to any ministry that could be brought into a particular initiative, be it CMHC,
111
More detail on these and other federal-level positions can be found in Library of Parliament publication
Minster of State for Children, PRB 08-03E
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62
Citizenship and Immigration, Human Resources and Social Development, Public Safety
or Justice. She indicated that the reason for creating such an office is that it is “very
difficult for each of those departments to have a depth of understanding of place-based
issues.” (Maxwell, Evidence, 15 May 2008)
Option 88: Horizontal initiatives focused on poverty, housing and homelessness
The federal government acknowledges that some issues are complex, have multiple
causes, have evolved and developed over long periods of time, and cannot be addressed
effectively by one department or agency. This has led to attempts to manage efforts
across several federal organizations, most frequently on a case-by-case basis.
The government has already had experience in adopting a horizontal approach to
homelessness. The National Homelessness Initiative, launched in 1999, saw the
involvement – to varying degrees – of CMHC, Health Canada, Human Resources and
Skills Development Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Works and
Government Services Canada, and Treasury Board Secretariat. While this initiative was
not without significant problems112, it and other initiatives have served as learning
opportunities that could provide the basis for designing a similar initiative aimed at
reducing poverty, eliminating homelessness, and enhancing access to affordable housing.
B. Inter-Governmental Arrangements
Issue 5:
Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments are not organized
collectively to deliver a coordinated response to poverty,
housing and homelessness
The Committee’s witnesses called for Canadian governments to work together in
addressing poverty, providing affordable housing, and reducing or eliminating
homelessness. These issues are complex, not given to simple solutions, and require the
attention of governments and civil society working together in a coordinated partnership.
A collective governmental response, including increased federal government
involvement, is constrained by important structural factors. The first of these concerns the
federal and constitutional arrangements that assign responsibilities to the different orders
of government.
However, there have been informal examples of extra-constitutional collaboration
between levels of government that can offer lessons in how Canadian governments can
work around obstacles to tackle complex problems. Some of these arrangements
constitute useful models upon which to build partnerships between the orders of
112
See, for example, Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Report of the Auditor General of Canada,
November 2005, Chapter 4, “Managing Horizontal Initiatives.”
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63
government and civil society to collectively address complex issues such as poverty,
affordable housing, and homelessness. There are also international models that facilitate
intergovernmental cooperation and coordination and that could be adapted for use in
Canada.
Option 89: Expanded Council of the Federation
The Council of the Federation was created in December 2003 by provincial premiers who
intended it to be “an enduring and evolving institution that will be flexible, efficient and
able to anticipate and act quickly to make Canada work better for Canadians.”113 The
governments of the ten provinces and three territories are represented on the Council by
their premiers and are supported by a small secretariat located in Ottawa.
The Council has a number of objectives, including strengthening interprovincialterritorial co-operation, exercising leadership on national issues of interest to the
provinces and territories, and improving federal-provincial-territorial relationships.
Could the Council serve as a vehicle for the development of a coordinated approach to
poverty reduction, the exchange of best practices, and the development of a common set
of indicators to measure progress in reducing poverty? Could the Council be expanded to
include representation from the federal and or municipal governments? Even were its
membership to remain as is, could the Council have a role to play in poverty reduction
strategies?
Option 90: Federal/provincial/territorial ministers responsible for poverty reduction,
housing and homelessness
Federal/provincial/territorial ministers (and deputy ministers) responsible for specific
portfolios meet occasionally to discuss matters of common concern. For example,
provincial and territorial ministers responsible for housing meet to examine housing
policies. These meetings offer governments the opportunity to communicate, consult each
other, harmonize their policies and programs, coordinate their activities, resolve conflict,
and, in some instances, develop policy jointly.
Option 91: Create a federal/provincial/territorial body modeled on the OECD
Currently, there is no permanent forum in which elected members and public servants
from all three orders of government can meet to discuss common challenges and
exchange information and ideas. Such a forum could provide an institutional framework
within which data and knowledge is shared and complex issues such as poverty could
become the focus of concerted and co-coordinated action. Such a forum could be
modeled after the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The OECD brings together elected representatives and officials from 30 governments to:
113
Council of the Federation, Founding Agreement, Preamble, Ottawa, 5 December 2003, p. 1.
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64
•
•
•
•
Support sustainable economic development;
Boost employment;
Raise living standards; and
Maintain financial stability.
Issue 6:
Cities must be partners in poverty reduction
The Committee heard from witnesses that a “place-based” approach to poverty reduction
is necessary. The federal and provincial/territorial governments play important roles in
the provision of broadly based programs and supports. However, as Judith Maxwell
reminded the Committee, these orders of government have the
big levers of public education, health care, income security programs and
social policy programs flying at 30,000 feet, while down on the ground we
have pockets of quite severe poverty. (Evidence, 15 May 2008)
Place-based approaches, or interventions, are meant to take into account the different
dimensions and impacts that poverty has on different communities. Instead of replacing
the social-policy programs at the 30,000-feet level, place-based approaches are meant to
complement them. The challenge, therefore, is to establish the machinery that will bring
“place” into the processes of designing and delivering programs and services to reduce
poverty and increase access to affordable housing.
Option 92: Use tri-level arrangements involving federal/provincial/territorial and
municipal governments to build and deliver local poverty reduction initiatives
The federal government has been involved in partnerships with provinces and local
governments since the 1970s. A notable example is the Winnipeg Core Area Initiative, a
tri-level arrangement administered by a Winnipeg-based secretariat responsible to the
municipal, provincial, and federal governments. The initiative has since been “all but
institutionalized,” evolving most recently into the Winnipeg Partnership Agreement.114
This arrangement, commonly referred to as an Urban Development Agreement (UDA)
was subsequently implemented in other western provinces and cities, most notably in
Vancouver where the Vancouver Agreement has been in place since 1995 and has been
renewed every five years.
A goal of the UDAs is to transform the silo approach into a more integrated and
horizontal approach to governance and service delivery based on collaboration and
problem solving.
114
Christopher Leo, “Deep Federalism: Respecting Community Difference in National Policy”, Canadian
Journal of Political Science, 39:3, September 2006, p. 489.
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65
The Vancouver Agreement is both a tri-partite and horizontal initiative that has won
praise and awards. The Auditor General of Canada has reported that the Agreement has a
“promising governance model,” although she found some areas of weakness in terms of
accountability arrangements.115 Committee witnesses indicated that UDAs would be
appropriate mechanisms for collective action by the different orders of government and
civil society in large cities. (Maxwell, Torjman, Evidence, 15 May 2008)
Option 93: Regional Federal Councils
Federal departments and agencies participate in regional federal councils located in each
province and territories. These councils are meant to help coordinate the work of federal
agencies, provide a means of sharing information, and focus attention on issues that are
unique to the region in question.
Regional Federal Councils play an important role as an executive forum and in integrated
and improved service delivery, two-way communication with Ottawa / headquarters on
regional perspectives and federal initiatives, and co-operation with other jurisdictions (the
Councils establish links with counterparts in other orders of government – including
municipalities – and with the business community and voluntary sectors in their
province/territory).
Option 94: Create a federal/provincial/territorial municipal body modeled on the
Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
Another potential model for federal, provincial/territorial and municipal cooperation with
regard to poverty reduction comes from Australia, which, like Canada, is a federation.
The Council of Australian Governments, or COAG, has been in existence since 1992.
The Australian prime minister, the premiers of the states (provinces), and the chief
ministers of the territories all sit on COAG, as does the President of the Australian Local
Government Association or ALGA (the Australian equivalent of the FCM).
115
Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Report of the Auditor General, November 2005, Chapter 4,
“Managing Horizontal Initiatives”, p. 16.
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66
Option 95: Involve the voluntary and non-profit sectors
The voluntary sector is crucial to the design and delivery of effective, place-based,
programs to reduce poverty and homelessness. The Committee met with many of the
organizations in this sector during its hearings and was impressed by the depth of their
knowledge, experience, and – above all – their devotion.
The role of the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors has been touched on earlier in the
section on affordable housing. Are there ways to ensure that these organizations are
directly and formally involved in all efforts aimed at reducing poverty and homelessness,
and the provision of affordable housing?
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67
VI. ACTION
Issue 7:
Programs and activities need to be better designed
A. Unilateral Action
Option 96: Improve federal government programs related to poverty reduction
Dr. Alain Noël (who has not been heard by the Committee) points out that the federal
government currently plays a major role in reducing poverty through the Employment
Insurance program, Old-Age Security, equalization, taxation and its relationship with
Aboriginal peoples. He argues that “before establishing a framework for everyone, the
federal government ought to take a closer look at its own programs and establish clear
objectives to fight poverty.”116 [Translation] As an alternative to involvement in a
national or bilateral poverty-reduction strategy (or strategies), the federal government
could review its programs and re-focus them to meet poverty-reduction goals nationally.
Option 97: Make improvements to federal income-security programs
As noted above, Committee witnesses suggested a number of changes that the federal
government could make to those elements of the income-support system for which it is
responsible.
Option 98: Promote rights to security of the person, shelter, food, and adequate income
(Note: This option also appears elsewhere in this report in relation to income security and
housing).
Committee witnesses suggested that another channel through which the federal
government might become involved in poverty reduction would involve the alignment of
domestic policies and programs with international human rights agreements and
conventions to which Canada is signatory. (Porter, Marrone, Evidence, 8 May 2008)
Option 99: Make federal employees directly available to community groups working to
reduce poverty and homelessness
The Committee heard of an instance in which a federal employee was “loaned” to a
community organization to assist in the provision of affordable housing. Mr. Roger
Gribbons, of Vibrant Communities Saint John, told the Committee:
116
Dr. Alain Noël, “Eliminating poverty: What governments can do,” presentation, Breakfast on the
Hill/Petit déjeuner sur la Colline, Ottawa, 17 April 2008 http://www.fedcan.ca
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68
With our concentration on our housing issues, we asked for one
official. That individual was assigned to Saint John two years ago
and has been absolutely instrumental in helping us start to rectify
our housing issues; that has been a small investment with huge
returns and has been very helpful. It has made a world of
difference. (Evidence, Issue 25, 13 June 2007)
Another witness suggested that federal employees might be allowed to work more closely
with civil-society organizations in Canadian communities. She added that these
employees be able to exercise
delegated authority, so that federal departments have program officers who are in
and out of those neighbourhoods on a regular basis, have built trust relationships
with the leadership, can observe where the needs are, can see how well-founded
the activities are and do ongoing, informal evaluations in addition to the formal
ones. (Maxwell, Evidence, 15 May 2008)
Option 100: Work directly with national organizations that have a local presence to
develop and deliver poverty and homelessness reduction programs
A witness suggested that the federal government work with cross-Canada
movements like the United Way or community foundations to develop and
provide place-based efforts to reduce poverty. These local organizations could
identify circumstances where seed money might enable the initiation of dialogue
for people to begin to think through what their common goals are, and to bring in
interlocutors from across the community and from the neighbourhoods in greater
difficulty.117 (Maxwell, Evidence, 15 May 2008)
B. Bilateral Action
Option 101: Federal/provincial/territorial bilateral poverty reduction partnerships
The federal government could enter into bilateral partnerships with provinces and
territories that are implementing poverty-reduction strategies. The Governments of
Newfoundland and Labrador, and Québec have already implemented such strategies, the
governments of Ontario and Nova Scotia are now in the process of developing strategies,
and the government of Prince Edward Island has shown an interest.
The federal government has numerous resources that it could bring to a bilateral
partnership aimed at poverty reduction in a province or territory. Apart from financial
resources, it also possesses considerable expertise and other assets that could be applied
to poverty reduction. There are several other bilateral arrangements already in place
117
A similar approach was used by Action for Neighbourhood Change, an initiative that focused on locallydriven neighbourhood revitalization in Surrey, Regina, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Halifax from 2005 to
2007. The national and local United Ways were involved along with the federal government through five
organizations in three departments.
________________________________________________________________________
69
between the federal government and individual provinces, notably in the area of
affordable housing. There have also been a series of federal/provincial/territorial
agreements under which EI funds are used to support unemployed people who enroll in
provincial or territorial employment preparation programs.
The development of bilateral partnerships between the federal and provincial
governments with regard to poverty reduction strategies was recommended by the CEO
of the United Way of Greater Toronto, Ms. Francis Lankin. (Evidence, 28 February
2008)
C. Multilateral Action
Option 102: A national poverty reduction strategy
Witnesses have recommended that the federal government, following international
examples in the United Kingdom, Scotland and Ireland, and domestic examples of
Québec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario and Nova Scotia, should develop and
implement a national poverty reduction strategy. Such a strategy would require at
minimum, targets, timelines, measurable indicators, regular reporting and evaluation, and
other accountability mechanisms. These various proposals are described in Appendix III
to this document.
VI. THE PEOPLE
Option 103: Consult intended beneficiaries of income support systems
The Committee heard witnesses emphasize the importance of hearing directly from
“clients” of income security programs, to determine their needs and suggestions.
(Seymour, Issue 1, 29 November 2007; Shillington, Evidence, 29 May 2008; Morris,
Evidence, 4 June 2008). In addition, one witness pointed out that those who design and
deliver income-support programs are unlikely to ever have been on the receiving end.
(Shillington, Evidence, 29 May 2008), Poverty, affordable housing and homelessness
begin and end with people. Governments have too often lost sight of this fact. Policies are
too frequently designed without meaningful input from those who are on the receiving
end. From the Committee's perspective, this is not an option: recipients of income
support, affordable housing, and homelessness reduction policies must be consulted at
every step of the way when these programs are designed and provided.
________________________________________________________________________
70
APPENDIX I: JOHN STAPLETON’S PROPOSAL
John Stapleton argues that before attempting to invent a new and supportable incomesecurity system for working-age adults, “we should look at what seems right and
acceptable to Canadians in the structure of income security benefits for seniors and
children.118 Stapleton identifies four pillars of these benefits:
1. Meaningful federal accounts for seniors and children:
• OAS and CPP for seniors
• Child tax benefits for children.
2. Registered tax instruments that provide benefits for children, youth and older
people:
• RRSP’s for seniors
• RESP’s for children
3. Real benefits from the income security system for low-income seniors and
children:
• GIS for seniors, plus a variety of provincial supplements and add-ons
• The National Child Benefit Supplement for low-income families with
children.
4. Matching or separate contributions from governments to reward individual
savings:
• The tax exemption on RRSP contributions
• The Canada Learning Bond, Canada Education Savings Grants,
Millennium Scholarships, Canada Student Loans, and an array of
provincial programs.
Stapleton proposes that the existing income security system for working-age adults be
modified by changing it to an “account-based” model that mirrors the features of the
system now in place for children and seniors. This new model would include:
•
•
•
•
118
a registered savings instrument for working adults to redeem within their working
life;
matching contributions to assist working-age adults to save for goals that enhance
quality of life and civil society;
a federal account where contributions would result in some minimum level of
credits; and
low-income benefits to help alleviate working poverty (for example by
developing the Working Income Tax Benefit, or WITB).
Stapleton, 2007, p. 37.
________________________________________________________________________
71
Stapleton indicates that a restructured system could become part of a new government
account where credits could be earned and used over a lifetime. His proposal is consistent
with a life-course approach that accommodates the fact that many individuals move in
and out of poverty throughout their lives and require assistance to either avoid falling in
to poverty or to exit from it. Indeed, he argues that these measures “could help prevent
the development of an underclass of second and subsequent generations living in
poverty.”119 According to Stapleton, this would require, among other things:
•
•
•
•
•
•
119
looking at the EI Account as the base account for working-age Canadians so that
paying into EI should result in some form of training credit;
taking children out of welfare entirely by replacing former welfare supports with
highly developed income security benefits for children in low-income families;
transforming welfare for working-age adults into income supplements based on
earnings;
providing pension-type benefits for working-age adults who have no reasonable
chance to join the competitive labour force;
implementing Tax Prepaid Savings Plans (TPSPs) with special features to allow
low-income people to save tax-free, as do higher income people who save for
education or old age; 120 and
implementing the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) in a way that begins to
support work through the refundable and non-refundable credit system, which
would entail rationalizing single-purpose credits (GST, energy credits) into a
system that aligns with low-income objectives.121
Ibid, p. 40.
120
The federal government introduced a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) in Budget
2008. Starting in 2009, Canadians aged 18 and older can contribute up to $5,000
annually (from their taxable income) to a TFSA. The measure has drawn mixed
responses. For example, Michael Mendelson of the Caledon Institute has called it
“unaffordable and unfair” (Toronto Star, March 04, 2008), while Finn Poschmann of the
C.D. Howe Institute has argued in the same edition of the Toronto Star that it will help
low-income families. Richard Shillington of Informetrica Ltd is mildly enthusiastic but
says that the TFSA would not be his first choice as a means of assisting low-to-moderate
income Canadians who retire without an occupational pension. (Source: The Progressive
Economics Forum, http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2008/02/28/still-more-on-tax-free-savings/)
John Stapleton, however, likes the initiative, telling the Toronto Star, “This is a very,
very significant new measure for low-income people and has enormous potential,"
(Toronto Star, 28 February 2008).
121
Ibid, p. 40
________________________________________________________________________
72
APPENDIX II: THE CALEDON INSITUTE’S PROPOSAL FOR
A NEW ARCHITECTURE FOR ADULT BENEFITS
The Caledon Institute has proposed an ambitious overhaul of the adult benefits in
Canada122. Under this proposal, which has been endorsed by advocacy groups and others,
existing arrangements would be replaced by a new system made up of three tiers.
Figure 12:
Source: Ken Battle, Michael Mendelson, and Sherri Torjman, Towards a New Architecture
for Canada’s Adult Benefits, Caledon Institute of Social Policy, Ottawa, June 2006, p. 25.
Tier I, Unemployment Assistance (UA) would be targeted at the short-term
unemployed and would consist of two programs. The first, Temporary Income (TI)
would pay benefits to those not covered under the existing Employment Insurance
program (new entrants in the job market, those in temporary or part-time jobs, etc.) It
would be income-tested, time-limited (Caledon suggests three to six months) and paid
for, not by premiums, but out of federal government general revenues; it would thus
be available for anyone temporarily unemployed and actively seeking work. The
program could include maternity and sick leaves, and would include employment
services to aid in job search.
122
Battle et al, 2006.
________________________________________________________________________
73
The second program, Employment Insurance (EI) would be paid for by
employee/employer contributions and benefit levels would be linked to contributions.
Like TI, it would be time limited. Caledon suggests that the regional preference rules
in the current EI program be taken out (and if governments choose to, applied to the
new TI program instead) – this would avoid the new EI program becoming a regional
equalization scheme paid for by employee and employer contributions.
Tier II, Employment Preparation (EP) would focus on working-age adults who take
longer to (re)enter the job market and would replace current welfare programs for
most. Unlike welfare, its main focus would be on training while providing income
support. A recipient might be on EP for several years, yet would not be expected to
receive benefits indefinitely. A small social assistance program would be provided for
those unable to find work in the longer term. The provinces and territories would
administer and fund the program.
Tier III: Basic Income. This program would be provided for those who are unable to
earn an adequate income in the labour market, either due to disability, illness or other
reasons. This benefit could be income-tested and would be paid for and administered
by the federal government.
This architecture would be supported by programs to make work pay, including higher
minimum wages and improved employment standards, tax credits, working income
supplements and measures to reduce the income and payroll taxes for low-income
earners.
Caledon’s proposal would replace a tangled and complex system that has been steadily
losing its capacity to support those who need assistance. Instead of taking a piecemeal
approach, this approach would harmonize all elements of the income support system,
avoiding potential unforeseen negative impacts that can happen when change is made to
one part of the system without reference to the others. Furthermore, the proposed
architecture responds directly to the shortcoming identified with the current system – it
would ensure that those who are not presently covered would receive assistance and it
would be geared to labour market participation while making sure that those unable to
make a reasonable living from employment would receive the help they need. Caledon’s
proposal also addresses the elements of a restructured income security system for
working-age people called for by the Economic Council of Canada in 1992. The Council
indicated that such a system would have three fundamental components:
________________________________________________________________________
74
•
In the event of unemployment, income replacement to support the job search
process for the for […] some initial period of time; after which
•
an integrated package of income assistance and employment-related services
would be provided to encourage and support self-reliance; and
•
dignified income support would be provided to those who are not expected to be
self-sufficient.123
Some important questions, however, remain to be answered. Caledon has not yet
estimated the overall costs of its proposal (although it has promised to do so).
Furthermore, implementation of the new architecture would require the close cooperation of the federal and provincial/territorial governments and in all likelihood,
Québec would not participate. Even in the event that the there were to be general
agreement, it is unlikely that such an architecture could be built within a short time
frame.
123
Economic Council of Canada, 1992, p. 55.
________________________________________________________________________
75
APPENDIX III: PROPOSALS FOR A NATIONAL
POVERTY-REDUCTION STRATEGY
a. Campaign 2000 Proposal
In September 2007, Campaign 2000 released Summoned to Stewardship: Make Poverty
Reduction a Collective Legacy. This proposal has the backing of a wide range of social
advocacy groups and individuals. It also takes Canada’s federal arrangements into
account by calling on provinces and territories to implement their own poverty reduction
strategies with some key shared characteristics and with the participation of the federal
government as a partner.
The elements of the proposed strategy include:
•
•
child-poverty reduction targets of 25per cent over five years and 50per cent over
10 years in each province; and
the use of three indicators: post-tax LICOs, post-tax Low-Income Measures
(LIMs), and Market Basket Measures (MBMs) to assess and report progress.
Campaign 2000 calls for poverty reduction strategies based on four “cornerstone”
principles:
1. Sustaining employment: Anyone working full time (30 hours or more per week, 1500
hours per year) should have a living standard out of poverty. This would include a full
child benefit of $5,100 per child in 2007 dollars for low-income families plus work tax
credits of $2,400 per year. An increase in work tax credits to this level must be
accompanied by an increase in minimum wages to ensure that the tax credits do not
subsidize low-wage employers.
2. A basic income system for disabled Canadians: Disability benefits should be set at the
same level as social security assistance for seniors.
3. The provision of transitional support with decency and dignity: A just differential
should be established between those with employment incomes and families with
children whose parents are unavailable for employment due to temporary or extended
difficulty. Campaign 2000 asserts that a just differential target across Canada would
reduce the depth of poverty for families with children on social assistance to at least
80per cent and proposes an incremental reduction to achieve this goal over a ten-year
period.
________________________________________________________________________
76
4. Available and affordable essential resources in four areas to protect family budgets:
•
•
•
•
Restore of access to Employment Insurance eligibility and protection.
Campaign 2000 supports the Canadian Labour Congress 2005 call for
assured access to EI with 370 hours of work, benefit levels based on best
12 weeks of earnings, and benefit rates increased to 60per cent of average
earnings.
Provide continued access to drug and dental benefits.
Prevent housing costs from draining food budgets of low-income families.
Ensure universal access to high quality learning and care for all children
during the early years.
The proposal calls on the federal government to:
•
•
•
•
Raise the federal minimum wage to $10.00 an hour in 2007 dollars.
Make major investments in essential resources, e.g. early learning and child care,
social housing and restoring EI eligibility.
Direct all savings from lower public debt charges over a five-year period to
investments in poverty reduction or “other national priorities.”
Possible consideration, by Parliament of Canada, of the adoption of a sunset
clause for all general tax cuts implemented by the federal government since 2000.
Provincial governments are called upon to:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Raise and index minimum wages to a poverty-reduction standard of $10 an hour
in 2007 dollars.
Invest in affordable housing initiatives.
Invest in extended prescription drug and dental coverage.
Invest in early learning and child care.
For those provinces still doing so, end claw-backs and rate reductions in social
assistance payments related to the National Child Tax Benefit.
Full indexation of social assistance rates.
Annual increases to social assistance rates of 3per cent or more above the rate of
inflation.
b. National Council of Welfare Proposal
A second proposal for a national poverty reduction strategy has been made by the
National Council of Welfare. In its 2007 publication Solving Poverty: Four Cornerstones
of a Workable National Strategy for Canada, the Council presented four central elements
or “cornerstones” for a national poverty reduction strategy:
1. A national anti-poverty strategy with a long-term vision and measurable targets and
timelines: The federal government would serve in a leadership role. A target of cutting
poverty in half within ten years could be set and there could be short and medium term
________________________________________________________________________
77
targets established within that time. There could be separate targets established for
reducing poverty among vulnerable populations.
2. An action plan and budget that coordinates initiatives within and across governments:
The federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments and agencies outside
government would have to work together to establish common goals and contribute an
“appropriate” level of financial and human resources. Government departments and
ministries would have to work horizontally and a specific focus might be required on
factors such as gender, illness, racism, or injury that make some Canadians more at risk
of poverty.
3. A government accountability structure for ensuring results and for consulting
Canadians in the design, implementation and evaluation of the actions that will affect
them: Accountability could be achieved through legislated measures or through
ministerial accountability. There could be public reporting on progress made in meeting
targets and timelines. An independent oversight agency could be established to monitor
progress in implementing the strategy.
4. A set of agreed poverty indicators that will be used to plan, monitor change and assess
progress: A core set of indicators will depend on what Canadians want to achieve through
the strategy. Multiple indicators that track such things as deprivation, social exclusion,
and inequality will likely be needed.
The Council argues that it should be feasible to design and deliver a national poverty
reduction strategy, suggesting that Canada already has a de facto national poverty
reduction strategy for seniors: CPP QPP, OAS, GIS. The Council proposes that the
federal government undertake the initiative for creating a national strategy.
________________________________________________________________________
78
APPENDIX IV: LIST OF OPTIONS
Option 1:
Maintain the status quo and concentrate on the most vulnerable
Option 2:
Return the EI program to its pre-1996 status
Option 3:
Make EI extended leave benefits available to self-employed Canadians
Option 4:
Restore eligibility for those who leave employment voluntarily
Option 5:
Disconnect severance pay from EI eligibility
Option 6:
Provide additional benefits and extend duration for long-term employees
Option 7:
Create an EI transition fund for older unemployed workers
Option 8:
Provide a premium rebate for low-wage workers in stable employment
Option 9:
Broaden access to EI training programs
Option 10:
Improve EI Part II training programs
Option 11:
Reward companies for good human resource management through the
EI system
Option 12:
Further restrict access to and benefits from EI programs
Option 13:
Relocate social benefits currently offered under EI to programs
Option 14:
Create additional benefits for workers, to be funded and administered
outside the EI program
Option 15:
Remove training programs from the EI program
Option 16:
Create a Separate EI Program for seasonal workers and frequent users
Option 17:
Conduct a Full Review of the EI Program
Option 18:
Rebuild income-support systems for working-age adults incorporating
successful elements of income-support systems for children and seniors
Option 19:
Eliminate the Universal Child Care Benefit and Create a More
Generous Canada Child Tax Benefit
Option 20:
A Medium-Term Sickness/Disability Benefit
________________________________________________________________________
79
Option 21:
Amend CPP legislation to allow pilot and demonstration projects
Option 22:
Replace social assistance programs for people with disabilities
Option 23:
A National Action Plan on Disability
Option 24:
Remove disability benefits from CPP
Option 25:
Raise the combined value of Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income
Supplement to the average post-tax LICO for individuals
Option 26:
Improve the Canada Social Transfer (CST)
Options 27:
Options proposed by
Working Age Adults
Option 28:
Include the right to sustainable
support legislation and policies
Option 29:
Replace both EI and social assistance programs with a new income
support architecture for adults
Option 30:
Replace the income-support system with a guaranteed annual income
(GAI)
Option 31:
Require that the rules governing income support systems be written in
plain language
Option 32:
Improve delivery of income support programs
Option 33:
Find alternatives to the tax system to support social programs
Option 34:
Federal/provincial/territorial review of income support systems
Option 35:
Reduce Marginal Effective Tax Rates over the medium- and long-terms
Option 36:
Raise minimum wages and Index them to inflation
Option 37:
Amend employment standards legislation to better address non-standard
employment
Option 38:
Adopt the recommendations of the Federal Labour Standards Review
(the Arthurs Report)
Option 39:
Improve income supplements for low-wage earners
the
Modernizing
Income
income
in
Support
all
for
income
________________________________________________________________________
80
Option 40:
Improve training for low-wage workers
Option 41:
Ensure that a fixed proportion of federally funded child care programs
be available, on a priority basis, to low-income families with young
children
Option 42:
Increase federal investments in child care
Option 43:
Work with other levels of government and non-government
organizations to identify gaps and solutions for child care provision for
low-income families
Option 44:
Provide funding for programs for parents, particularly those with low
incomes, to develop skills and techniques to support their children’s
development
Option 45:
Provide low-income parents with financial support to register their
children in appropriate recreational and cultural programming
Option 46:
Link any increase in federal transfers to people with disabilities to
increases in provincial and territorial spending on disability supports
Option 47:
Designate a fixed percentage of Labour Force Development Agreement
funds for persons with disabilities
Option 48:
Improve English and French as a Second Language Programs
Option 49:
Work with the provinces to establish minimum standards for English or
French second language training
Option 50:
Change English and French Assessment Process for Economic
Immigrants
Option 51:
Scale up successful initiatives, such as bridging programs
Option 52:
Ensure on-going monitoring of federal efforts to coordinate foreign
credential recognition
Option 53:
On-going support for Canada’s action plan against racism
Option 54:
Encourage provincial governments to increase levels of income
assistance
Option 55:
Provide rental subsidies or vouchers to individuals in need
________________________________________________________________________
81
Option 56:
Amend taxation policies and regulations to encourage the private
construction of rental housing
Option 57:
Create a national roundtable on rental housing
Option 58:
Provide rent supplements to landlords
Option 59:
Dedicate a portion of federal funding on housing to affordable home
ownership
Option 60:
Amend the Income Tax Act to make investment in affordable home
ownership development more attractive to investors
Option 61:
Sustain and extend current federal investment in construction of new
social housing
Option 62:
Sustain existing funding for operational subsidies
Option 63:
Extend and stabilize funding for Residential Rehabilitation Assistance
Program (RRAP)
Option 64:
Make federal housing-related programs longer term
Option 65:
Encourage Private Investment in Social Housing
Option 66:
Sustain targeted program for Urban Aboriginal Housing
Option 67:
Allocate a percentage of all federal social housing dollars to housing for
Aboriginal peoples off-reserve
Option 68:
Develop Aboriginal Housing Strategy in collaboration with Aboriginal
organizations and housing providers
Option 69:
Provide short-term use-specific funding to non-profit housing providers
to retrofit and/or maintain existing social housing units
Option 70:
Develop a national housing strategy in collaboration with provincial and
territorial and municipal governments, and housing providers, realtors
and lenders
Option 71:
Designate federal lands which have been used for housing to be
provided to non-profit housing developers to retrofit or redevelop for
affordable rental or ownership units
________________________________________________________________________
82
Option 72:
Require all rental units built with federal funds or land subsidies to be
universally accessible, meeting standards that permit access by those
with physical impairments
Option 73:
Restore federal funding, through the Canada Social Transfer, for Court
Challenges and civil legal aid services
Option 74:
Embed international human rights obligations with respect to shelter
into federal legislation, and federal agreements with provincial,
territorial and local governments
Option 75:
Increase the supply of supportive housing
Option 76:
Extend and stabilize federal funding for programs that can be used to
provide housing and appropriate supports
Option 77:
Support “housing first” approaches to homelessness
Option 78:
Support addiction treatment, including harm reduction, as an approach
to reducing homelessness
Option 79:
Create a Pharmacare program
Option 80:
Create a National Homelessness Strategy
Option 81:
Stabilize adequate funding to organizations providing services to prevent
homelessness and to re-integrate people who are homeless
Option 82:
Simplify application and reporting requirements associated with federal
funding for voluntary organizations
Option 83:
Develop funding mechanisms for non-government organizations that
encourage innovation building on community strengths and successes
Option 84:
Create a cabinet committee chaired by a minister supported by a
department to take the lead on poverty reduction, affordable housing
and homelessness
Option 85:
Create a minister/secretary of state for poverty reduction, housing and
homelessness
Option 86:
Appoint a poverty commissioner
Option 87:
Create a single window within the federal government to supply
expertise on place-based policy issues such as poverty, housing and
homelessness
________________________________________________________________________
83
Option 88:
Horizontal initiatives focused on poverty, housing and homelessness
Option 89:
Expanded Council of the Federation
Option 90:
Federal/provincial/territorial ministers responsible for poverty
reduction, housing and homelessness
Option 91:
Create a federal/provincial/territorial body modeled on the OECD
Option 92:
Use tri-level arrangements involving federal/provincial/territorial and
municipal governments to build and deliver local poverty reduction
initiatives
Option 93:
Regional Federal Councils
Option 94:
Create a federal provincial territorial municipal body modeled on the
Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
Option 95:
Involve the voluntary and non-profit sectors
Option 96:
Improve federal government programs related to poverty reduction
Option 97:
Make improvements to Federal Income-Security Programs
Option 98:
Promotion of rights to security of the person, shelter, food, and adequate
income
Option 99:
Make federal employees directly available to community groups working
to reduce poverty and homelessness
Option 100:
Work directly with national organizations that have a local presence to
develop and deliver poverty and homelessness reduction programs
Option 101:
Federal/provincial bilateral poverty reduction partnerships
Option 102:
A national poverty reduction strategy
Option 103:
Consult intended beneficiaries of income support systems
________________________________________________________________________
84
APPENDIX V: WITNESS LIST
ORGANIZATION
NAME, TITLE
DATE OF APPEARANCE
Human Resources and
Social Development
Canada
Andrew Treusch, Senior
Assistant Deputy Minister,
Strategic Policy and Research
Branch
26 April 2007
Human Resources and
Social Development
Canada
Bayla Kolk, Acting Associate
Deputy Minister, Homelessness
and Partnering Strategy
26 April 2007
Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation
Sharon Matthews, VicePresident, Assisted Housing
26 April 2007
National Council of
Welfare
Greg deGroot-Maggetti, Acting
Chairperson
3 May 2007
National Council of
Welfare
Caledon Institute of
Social Policy
Sheila Regher, Director
3 May 2007
Ken Battle, President
3 May 2007
National Anti-Poverty
Organization
National Anti-Poverty
Organization
Rob Rainer, Executive Director
3 May 2007
Nancy Shular, First VicePresident, Board of Directors
3 May 2007
Canadian Association of
Food Banks
Sean Pegg, Acting Director of
Public Policy and Research
3 May 2007
Feed Nova Scotia
Dianne Swinemar, Executive
Director124
3 May 2007
Campaign 2000
Sid Frankel, Member, Steering
Committee
Katherine Scott, Vice President,
Research
Glen Drover, Social Worker
10 May 2007
Canadian Council on
Social Development
Canadian Association of
Social Workers
10 May 2007
10 May 2007
124
Ms. Swinemar also spoke as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Food
Banks.
________________________________________________________________________
85
ORGANIZATION
Ontario Council of
Agencies Serving
Immigrants
Ontario Council of
Agencies Serving
Immigrants
National Association of
Friendship Centres
National Association of
Friendship Centres
Institute of Urban
Studies, University of
Winnipeg
Canadian Centre for
Policy Alternatives,
Manitoba
Newfoundland and
Labrador Department of
Human Resources,
Labour & Employment
McMaster University
Vibrant Communities,
Saint John, NB
Vibrant Communities,
Saint John, NB
Downtown Eastside
Residents Association,
Vancouver
Downtown Eastside
Residents Association,
Vancouver
United Way of Greater
Toronto
Centraide of Greater
Montréal
NAME, TITLE
DATE OF APPEARANCE
Loly Rico, President
10 May 2007
Roberto Jovel, Policy and
Research Coordinator
10 May 2007
Verna Pawis Tabobondung,
President
Jocelyn Formsma, Program
Officer
Jino Distasio, Director
10 May 2007
Molly McCracken, Manitoba
Board Member
17 May 2007
Aisling Gogan, Director,
Poverty Reduction Strategy
17 May 2007
Barbara Wake Carrol, Professor
Department of Political Science
Tom Gribbons, Chairperson
17 May 2007
13 June 2007
Kurt Peacock, Researcher
13 June 2007
Kim Kerr, Executive Director
13 June 2007
Anna Hunter, Advocate
13 June 2007
Jan Donio, Vice-President,
Information Services and
Operational Change
Management
Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire,
President and Executive
Director
14 June 2007
10 May 2007
17 May 2007
14 June 2007
________________________________________________________________________
86
ORGANIZATION
Canadian Co-operative
Association
Canadian Housing and
Renewal Association
Co-operative Housing
Federation of Canada
Toronto Community
Housing Corporation
National Aboriginal
Housing Association
Inuit Non-Profit Housing,
Ottawa
Kinew Housing Inc.,
Winnipeg
Nanegkam Housing
Corporation,
Charlottetown
Phoenix Youth Programs,
Halifax
Canadian Population
Health Initiative
Saul Sair Health Centre,
Winnipeg
As an individual
St. Christopher House,
Toronto
Simon Fraser University
Canadian Teachers’
Federation
Canadian Nurses
Association
First Call BC Child and
Youth Advocacy
Coalition
Montreal Diet
Dispensary
NAME, TITLE
DATE OF APPEARANCE
John Anderson,
Director, Government Affairs,
Public Policy
Sharon Chisholm,
Executive Director
Nicholas Gazzard, Executive
Director
Derek Ballantyne,
Chief Executive Officer
David Seymour, President
21 November 2007
29 November 2007
Lynda Brown, President
29 November 2007
Lawrence Poirier, Manager
29 November 2007
Patrick Augustine, Native
Council of Prince Edward
Island
Tim Crooks, Executive Director
29 November 2007
Dr. Elizabeth Votta, Program
Lead, Reports and Analysis
Rebekah Peters
6 December 2007
Deborah Kraus, Housing Policy
and Research Consultant
John Stapleton, Fellow
6 December 2007
John Richards, Professor, Public
Policy Program
Emily Noble, President
13 December 2007
21 November 2007
21 November 2007
21 November 2007
6 December 2007
6 December 2007
13 December 2007
7 February 2008
Nicki Sims-Jones, Policy
Consultant
Michael Goldberg, Chair
7 February 2008
Marie-Paule Duquette,
Executive Director
7 February 2008
7 February 2008
________________________________________________________________________
87
ORGANIZATION
Caledon Institute of
Social Policy
McMaster University,
School of Nursing
United Way of Greater
Toronto
As an individual
Federation of Canadian
Municipalities, Big Cities
Mayors’ Caucus
Steetohome Vancouver
Affordable Housing
Office, City of Toronto
Ontario Metropolis
Centre
University of British
Columbia
Metro Toronto Chinese
& Southeast Asian Legal
Clinic
Table de concertation des
organismes au service
des personnes réfugiées
et immigrantes
University of
Saskatchewan
National Association of
Friendship Centres
National Association of
Friendship Centres
Council of Canadians
with Disabilities
Caledon Institute of
Social Policy
University of Victoria
NAME, TITLE
DATE OF APPEARANCE
Ken Battle, President
28 February 2008
Gina Browne, Professor
28 February 2008
Francis Lankin, CEO
28 February 2008
Armine Yalnizyan
Mayor Anne Marie DeCiccoBest, London, Ontario
28 February 2008
6 March 2008
Don Fairbairn, Consultant
Sean Gadon, Director
6 March 2008
6 March 2008
Sarah H. Wayland, Research
Associate
David Ley, Department of
Geography
Avvy Go, Clinic Director
13 March 2008
Jean Claude Icart,
Representative
13 March 2008
Evelyn Peters, Professor
3 April 2008
Kama Steliga, Executive
Director, Lilooet Friendship
Centre
Calvin Hanselmann, Director of
Research
Marie White, National
Chairperson
Michael Mendelson, Senior
Scholar
Michael Prince, Professor of
Social Policy
3 April 2008
13 March 2008
13 March 2008
3 April 2008
17 April 2008
17 April 2008
17 April 2008
________________________________________________________________________
88
ORGANIZATION
Confédération des
organismes de personnes
handicapées du Québec
Winnipeg Harvest
Community Foundations
of Canada
Carrefour de pastoral en
monde ouvrier
Queen`s University
United Nations Human
Rights Council (via
videoconference)
Social Rights Advocacy
Centre
National Anti-Poverty
Organization
Income Security
Advocacy Centre
Tamarack
Caledon Institute of
Social Policy
Canadian Policy
Research Networks
University of Ottawa
McGill University
Social Research
Development
Corporation
Informetrica Limited
Fédération des femmes
du Québec
Carleton University
University of British
Columbia
NAME, TITLE
DATE OF APPEARANCE
Walter Zélaya, Representative
17 April 2008
David Northcott, Executive
Director
Monica Patten, President and
Chief Executive Officer
Jonathan Lacasse, Coordinator
1 May 2008
Rachel Laforest, Assistant
Professor
Miloon Kothari, Former Special
Rapporteur on Adequate
Housing
Bruce Porter, Director
1 May 2008
Michael Creek, Director
8 May 2008
Mary Marrone, Director of
Advocacy and Legal Services
Paul Born, President
Sherri Torjman, Vice-President
8 May 2008
1 May 2008
1 May 2008
8 May 2008
8 May 2008
15 May 2008
15 May 2008
Judith Maxwell, Past President
and Senior Fellow
David Gray, Associate
Professor
Axel Van Den Berg, Professor,
Department of Sociology
Carole Vincent, Principal
Research Associate
15 May 2008
Richard Shillington, Senior
Associate
Nancy Burrows, Coordinator
29 May 2008
Fran Klodawsky, Professor
Claire Young, Senior Associate
Dean
29 May 2008
29 May 2008
29 May 2008
4 June 2008
4 June 2008
4 June 2008
________________________________________________________________________
89
ORGANIZATION
Affordable New Home
Foundation
Saskatchewan
Centretown Affordable
Housing Development
Corporation
Vancity Enterprises Ltd.
Focus Consulting Ltd.
Université Laval
Canadian Education
Association
The Toronto Star
University of Ottawa
University of Manitoba
Caledon Institute of
Social Policy
University of Regina
Winnipeg Harvest
Dalhousie University
Citizens for Public
Justice
National Anti-Poverty
Organization
National Council of
Welfare
University of Miami
Council of Canadians
with Disabilities
NAME, TITLE
DATE OF APPEARANCE
Keith Hanson, Executive
Director
5 June 2008
Dennis Carr, Development
Coordinator
5 June 2008
Dan Paris, Director of
Development
Steve Pomeroy, President
François Blais, Professor
Christa Freiler, Director of
Research
Carol Goar, Editorial Columnist
David Gray, Associate
Professor, Department of
Economics
Derek Hum, Professor
Michael Mendelson, Senior
Scholar
Jim Mulvale, Associate
Professor, Department of Justice
Studies
David Northcott, Executive
Director
Lars Osberg, Department of
Economics
Chandra Pasma, Policy Analyst
5 June 2008
Rob Rainer, Executive Director
13 June 2008
Sheila Regehr, Director
13 June 2008
Philip Robins, Professor,
Department of Economics
Marie White, National
Chairperson
13 June 2008
5 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
13 June 2008
________________________________________________________________________
90
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