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In the House with Hajdu: Fair chance at success

Every person in Canada deserves a fair chance at success.
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Patty Hajdu
Liberal MP Patty Hajdu speaks during a cannabis roundtable at the Moose Hall in Thunder Bay on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

Every person in Canada deserves a fair chance at success. And more than that, our country’s economic success depends on every person reaching his or her full potential.

And of course, poverty defeats that goal. When people and families are trapped in poverty, the opportunities to better their outcomes are often not there.

But last month, we began a new era in Canada, with the federal government becoming a full partner in the hard work to end poverty when Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos introduced Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy, Opportunity for All.

Opportunity for All is our government’s coordinated plan to end poverty by working on multiple fronts.

It is our strategy for making sure that no matter your own personal background or circumstances, you have a real and fair chance at success. It is our vision to position Canada as a world leader in the eradication of poverty. And it is our vision for a Canada without poverty.

Opportunity for All brings together the many strands of poverty reduction policies and programs our Government has introduced and implemented since taking office.

One of the first things we introduced in 2015, right after we formed a Liberal government, was the Canada Child Benefit. We stopped sending cheques to millionaires and instead started sending more money, tax-free, to nine out of ten Canadian families. In total, the CCB has lifted more than half a million Canadians, including more than 300,000 children, out of poverty.

We immediately reversed the previous government’s disastrous changes to the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Old Age Security, restoring the age of eligibility from 67 to 65, preventing 100,000 seniors each year from plunging into poverty. We also made the GIS and OAS more generous, so that seniors today are receiving nearly $2,000 more each year than under the former Harper Conservative government.

We also introduced automatic enrolment for Old Age Security, providing peace of mind and more stable income for more than 17,000 seniors every month. We believe that everyone who is entitled to benefits should get them easily and automatically.

Then last year, we launched Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy, a ten-year, $40 billion plan to give more Canadians a place to call home. Through these investments, we’re not only creating 100,000 new housing units and renewing and renovating more than 300,000 existing units, we’re also removing more than half a million Canadians from critical housing need.

But we knew that we needed to do more work to give everyone that fair chance.

Opportunity for All builds on the investments we are making on housing, skills training and benefits that support middle class families and Canadians who live in or close to poverty. It is a clear and strong plan that brings together a coordinated way to defeat poverty on multiple fronts. It sets hard targets to cut chronic homelessness in half, establishing Canada’s first official poverty line that takes not only income into account but access to nutritious food, housing, health care and community engagement.

Canada is strongest when everyone has a fair chance to succeed. To learn more about our first ever federal poverty strategy, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/poverty-reduction/reports/strategy.html




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