Poverty Resources in Canada

Below are further resources for you to use in understanding poverty issues.

Table of Contents

1.    Websites of groups which address poverty in Canada

2.    Kingston agencies and groups which address poverty

3.    Books

4.    Reports

5.    Multimedia

1.    Websites of groups which address poverty in Canada

B.C. Teachers’ Federation. The BCTF Web “Social Justice” link on the top page. This in turn will lead to a link for “poverty” where you will find the “Child Poverty in British Columbia Report Card” complete with colourful graphs and links to other organizations that are involved in “Campaign 2000.” This student resource, “Poverty: It’s Local, It’s Global, and It’s All Connected”, is also on the Web site — click on “Lesson Aids,” at the top page. www.bctf.ca

Campaign 2000:  End Child Poverty in Canada is a cross-Canada public education movement to build Canadian awareness and support for the 1989 all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. Campaign 2000 began in 1991 out of concern about the lack of government progress in addressing child poverty. It is non-partisan in urging all Canadian elected officials to keep their promise to Canada’s children. www.campaign2000.ca

Canadian Council on Social Development is probably the most comprehensive Canadian anti-poverty link. The CCSD is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of children, families, and communities through its extensive programs and policies. Here you will find links to research services, publications and on-line documents, statistics and information, just to name a few. This would be a good starting place for anyone interested in obtaining key information about poverty in Canada. www.ccsd.ca

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. OCAP’s mission is to educate people about poverty and poor-bashing. It also seeks to empower the poor. This activist organization has many innovative programs that assist people living in poverty in Ontario. It is also lobbying for the elimination of poverty in Canada. This site reflects the efforts of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter and thus it is primarily targeted to those living in the area. www.ocap.ca

Poverty Watch Ontario is a joint initiative of the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Ontario Campaign 2000 and the Income Security Advocacy Centre. These organizations have partnered since early 2008 to promote a cross-Ontario community dialogue on a poverty reduction strategy for the province. SPNO, C2000 and ISAC, along with other provincial organizations and local networks, are helping and supporting the participation in the consultations of low income people and all community stakeholders in a poverty-free Ontario.

PovNet provides up-to-date information about welfare and housing laws and resources in British Columbia, Canada. It links to current anti-poverty issues and provides links to other anti-poverty organizations and resources in Canada and internationally. www.povnet.org

Winnipeg Harvest is a community-based food bank that also ensures that other food banks throughout Manitoba have an adequate supply of food. It has several innovative programs aside from the food-distribution program. This site also contains links to facts about poverty and other Canadian food banks. www.winnipegharvest.org

2.    211 Ontario

Ontario 211 is a free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages.

For non-emergency help in Ontario, call 2-1-1 or search the 211 Ontario website.

If calling 2-1-1 does not work, or you use an Internet phone service, please call our toll-free number: 1-877-330-3213.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please call 1-888-340-1001.

3.    Books

Francois Blais, Ending poverty : a basic income for all Canadians, Toronto : J. Lorimer, 2002.

Political scientist François Blais offers a bold new proposal to assist the poorest and most disadvantaged in our society: a guaranteed basic income, or allowance, to be paid to every Canadian citizen.

Pat Capponi, Dispatches from the Poverty Line, Toronto: Penguin Canada 1997.

Unemployed, long past the end of her benefits, Capponi finds herself once again not just working with the poor but joining their ranks. In the winter of 1996, she began a journal of the effect that conservative fiscal and social policy was having on people like herself. In Dispatches from the Poverty Line, she continues her account of life at the edge of a society that is quickly unravelling its social safety net. She adds a human voice to the statistics we read about daily, revealing the values and sensibilities of our country’s poor and their feelings about themselves and those around them.

Pat Capponi, The war at home : an intimate portrait of Canada’s poor, Toronto: Viking, 1999

This is ‘travel writing’ from the bottom up — an angry, stinging moral challenge to those of us who go to bed full and wake up without terror.

Erminie Joy Cohen and Angela Petten, Sounding the alarm : poverty in Canada, Saint John NB, Private press, 1997.

A no-nonsense essay on the failure of governments to provide for the poor.

Mel Hurtig, Pay the Rent or Feed the Kids: The Tragedy and Disgrace of Poverty in Canada, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000.

Many of these stories are as heart-rending as the comments from politicians and their corporate supporters are callous. Pay the Rent or Feed the Kids challenges all Canadians to re-examine the society we are living in and to demand changes for the better.

Abdolmohammad Kazemipur and Shiva S. Halli, New Poverty in Canada: Ethnic Groups and Ghetto Neighbourhoods, Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, 2000.

Kazemipur and Halli examine ethnic and neighbourhood poverty in Canadian urban centres. To define neighbourhood poverty, they apply the term Spatial Concentration of Poverty (SCOP) to identify neighbourhoods within urban areas that have extreme poverty rates. The main focus of this work is to build a comprehensive picture of how Canadian cities have been impacted by the process of neighbourhood poverty.

Wendy McKeen, Money in their Own Name: The Feminist Voice in Poverty Debate in Canada, 1970-1995, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.

McKeen’s book is a timely contribution to discussions of both feminism and social policy. There are two key underlying issues raised in the book: first, what model for social policy should feminists be putting forward? In other words, what constitutes a “women-friendly” social policy? Secondly, what strategies should feminists develop to advance such a model? In order to address these questions, McKeen examines Canadian feminists’ efforts to influence federal child and family benefits in the period from the early 1960s to the 1990’s.

Linda McQuaig, The Wealthy Banker’s Wife:  The Assault on Equality in Canada, Toronto: Penguin Canada 1993.

McQuaig argues that the concerted attack on our social programs is really an attack on equality in Canada – by those who disagree with the very cause of equality.

Alan Mettrick, Last in Line:  On the road and out of work…a desperate journey with Canada’s unemployed, Toronto, Key Porter Books, 1985.

Story of jobless, transient Canadians during the economic downtown of the 1980’s.  Describes a way of life from which there is no exit, for ordinary people forced into proverty and doomed to unemployment.

Jamie Swift, Wheel of Fortune: Work and Life and in the Age of Falling Expectations, Toronto:  Between the Lines, 1995.

Analysis of the changing world of work, and critique of the long-term implications of the ‘new economy’ for working people.  Draws on experiences of workers in two Ontario communities.

Maria A. Wallis and Siu-Ming Kwok, eds., Daily Struggles: The Deepening Racialization and Feminization of Poverty in Canada, Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2008.

This collection is valuable in pulling together a range of readings in critical political economy and the racialized labour market. It presents a useful feminist political economy approach to issues of racialized inequality in Canada.

Anne Westhues, ed., Canadian Society: Issues and Perspectives, Waterloo:  Wilfred Laurier University Press, 4th edition, 2006.
This collection includes several articles about poverty in Canada The editor is  professor of social work at WLU.

Armine Yalnizyan, Canada’s Great Divide: The Politics of the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor in the 1990s, Toronto: The Centre for Social Justice, 2000.

4.    Reports

Clarence Lochead, The dynamics of women’s poverty in Canada, Ottawa: Status of Women Canada, 2000.

Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty, Ready to Do Better:  Report of the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty, City of Kingston, Oct. 2007.

Overview of poverty in the community:  root causes of poverty; community responses; community costs; key findings; recommendations; tables and diagrams.

National Council of Welfare, v. # 114, Child poverty profile, 1998, Ottawa: National Council of Welfare, 2001.

National Council of Welfare, Justice and the Poor, Ottawa:  Department of Public Works and Govt Services, 2000.

This report addresses the experience of poor people with the legal system.  NCW is an arm’s length advisory body to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development on matters of concern to low-income Canadians.

National Council of Welfare, Solving poverty : four cornerstones of a workable national strategy for Canada, Ottawa : National Council of Welfare, c2007

National Council of Welfare, The cost of poverty, Ottawa: National Council of Welfare, c2001.

National Council of Welfare, Women and poverty revisited : a report, Ottawa: National Council of Welfare, 1990.

National Council of Welfare, Poverty Profile 2001, Ottawa:  Department of Public Works and Govt Services.

Presents statistical views of various categories and situations involving people living in poverty.

National Task Force on the Definition and Measurement of Poverty in Canada, Not Enough:  The Meaning and Measurement of Poverty in Canada, Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development, 1984.

Not Enough provides a range of detailed information, charts and graphs dealing with the extent, depth and length of poverty in Canada in the 1980s. The report is especially attentive to the regional distribution of poverty, to its increasing “feminization”, and to the difficulties disabled people face maintaining their dignity in the face of chronically restricted budgets.  Not Enough is a detailed snapshot of the recent past of a crippling social problem that remains with us today.

Shella Ann Phipps, Poverty and child well-being in Canada and the United States : does it matter how we measure poverty?, final report, Gatineau, Quebec: Applied Research Branch, Human Resources Development Canada, 2000, Distributed by the Government of Canada Depository Services Program.

Poverty, social capital, parenting and child outcomes in Canada : final report, Hull, Quebec: Applied Research Branch, Human Resources Development Canada, 2002.

5.    Multimedia

A score for women’s voices: A march to change the world, videorecording, Montreal: National Film Board of Canada ; 2001.

Between March and October 2000, millions of people around the world took to the streets to denounce poverty and violence against women. The historic World March of Women was a bold initiative of the Quebec Federation of Women and represented a turning point in global solidarity. Five filmmakers cover the marches around the world: in Senegal where a community battles female genital multilation through education, in Australia where a women’s circus teaches survivors of sexual assault to become skilled performers, in India where a group of low-caste women mediate domestic disputes in informal women’s courts, in Ecuador where leadership training is offered to native women to create women leaders, in the United States, Linda Carney describes why she founded Survival Inc. for poor women. Set against a backdrop of a song, A Score for Women’s Voices ends at the U.N. where women deliver 5 million cards signed during the marches. Their goal? To change the world!

Life under Mike, videorecording, produced, written & directed by James E. Motluk, Toronto: Guerrilla Films, 2000.

The story of one man, his camera and the beginning of a revolution. A film examining the state of life in the Canadian province of Ontario under the far right regime of Premier Mike Harris

Neighbourhood deliveries: a film, DVD, Montreal : National Film Board of Canada, 2005

The city of Kanpur in India and Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood may be thousands of miles apart, but filmmaker and activist Feroz Mehdi doesn’t have to pedal far to get from one to the other. To film this documentary, he gets a job making deliveries on a three-wheeler for a convenience store in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, one of the city’s poorest areas. It’s a neighbourhood he knows well. And so begins a fascinating cinematographic journey that reveals another facet of the poverty that stretches from Quebec to the Indian continent.

No place called home, videorecording, directed by Craig Chivers, produced by Peter Starr, Montréal: National Film Board of Canada, c2003.

No Place Called Home follows the Rice family over the course of a year, as they move in search of affordable housing.  Just as the family’s circumstances are looking better, things turn sour when the landlord threatens eviction. Ojigkwanong, videorecording, Montreal : National Film Board of Canada, c2000.

William Commanda, whose Algonquin name is Ojigkwanong, was born on the Maniwaki reserve in Quebec in 1913. The story of his early life is a familiar one: the loss of native culture, numbing poverty and escape into alcohol. In 1961, Commanda, then chief of his reserve, was terminally ill. He had a vision that would transform his life and those of his people. Imagining a Circle of all Nations, his first gesture was to reconcile the Algonquins and Iroquois. Since then, he has devoted himself to the reconciliation of peoples and cultures.

Paid to be Poor, documentary, The Current, produced by Aaron Brindle and Joan Better, Toronto:  CBC Radio, 29 March 2004.

It is often seen as good news:  Canadians who want to continue with their careers even after mandatory retirement age.  But a significant number simply cannot afford to retire.

Playing for keeps, videorecording, Montreal : National Film Board of Canada, Series, Feminization of poverty, 1990.

About single mothers living in poverty.

Salvation, videorecording, Writer/director, Rosemary House; producer, Kent Martin, Montréal: National Film Board of Canada, c2002.

There is an army in the city’s mean streets and its foe is poverty and human misery. Salvation is about front-line workers serving the needy under the umbrella of the Salvation Army, offering a glimpse into the hearts and minds of people on both sides of the street.

The Mind of a Child, videorecording, Producer/director/writer, Gary Marcuse. Montreal: NFB, c1995.

Documents the work of Vancouver School District First Nations education specialist Lorna Williams, who, having researched Reuven Feuerstein’s views on cognitive development and cultural transmission, has adapted his mediated learning theory and teaching methods for use by British Columbia teachers of aboriginal children. Includes interviews with Feuerstein & footage of programs in action in Israel/Palestine, Ethiopia and inner city Washington, D.C.

Them That’s Not
, videorecording, produced by Silva Basmajian, directed by Christene Browne, Montreal : National Film Board of Canada, c1993.

This video puts a human face on the statistics relating to women and poverty. Closely monitored to ensure that they are conforming to all rules and regulations, the women featured in this video must accept having their rights and privacy violated. We share through their eyes, their voices and their experiences, what it feels like to be poor and to raise children under the scrutiny of an unsympathetic welfare system.