The targets to reduce income poverty in Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy take an important step toward the first UN Sustainable Development Goal addressed to ending poverty, but progress will fall short without all Canadian governments—not just the federal, but also provincial, and municipal governments—adopting coordinated policies to eliminate deep poverty.
The first UN Sustainable Development Goal is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere,” and has explicit targets associated with it.
Two of these targets are particularly relevant for Canadians. They speak to ending income poverty, and are:
By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, measured as people living on less than $1.90 a day
By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy is informed by both of these targets, setting a nationally appropriate poverty line, and using it to explicitly adopt the second target. However, it addresses the first UN target only partially: offering an appropriate definition of extreme poverty, but not adopting an explicit target.
Eradicating extreme poverty will require all governments in the Canadian federation—not just the federal—to pursue consistent and coordinated policies. Significant progress will only happen with the partnership and commitment of the provinces and municipalities.