If we do not challenge the status quo, I fear we will continue to respond to issues such as food security in a charitable manner because we focus on the value of community fundraising and generous actions. The effectiveness of this response is further reinforced when we read testimonials from recipients describing their appreciation of the help they received. I fully support giving to organizations that make our communities a better place. A charitable response to food insecurity however is not sustainable and it can distract us from the long-term work of justice.

Right now, B.C. has the highest poverty rate in Canada, with an estimated 678,000 people living in poverty, including 118,000 children. B.C. has one of the highest child-poverty rates in Canada. These numbers are based on the federal Market Basket Measure indicator, which includes the costs of food, clothing, footwear, transportation, housing and other expenses for a family with two children.

Why the delay, Mr. Simpson? Many people need relief right now. Who knows how long your government will last?

Public transit should be a right for everyone in Toronto. Using subways, buses, and streetcars shouldn’t require paying fares, or user fees, that penalize riders with lower incomes.

Like public education, libraries, clean water, and healthcare, public transit should be funded by government revenues. Regardless of income, which part of the city you live or work in, or if you have mobility challenges, transit should be easily accessible.

An official count of West Kelowna’s homeless population would be an important first step in helping get people off the streets, city councillors heard Tuesday.

Preparing an accurate tally of the homeless is often required to get provincial and federal funding to address the problem, a consultant says.

Other recommendations contained in the consultant’s report to council include creating a daytime drop-in centre for the homeless, advocating for more mental health and substance abuse services, and encouraging the construction of more subsidized housing complexes.

An online petition referring to three homeless shelters in Ottawa’ ByWard Market as a “cancer” in the area quickly went viral last week.

“The shelters, in their current configuration, must be diagnosed for what they are — a cancer which is now terminal for those residents and businesses in their vicinity,” wrote Patrick O’Shaughnessy, the business owner who started the petition on a website called Save the Market.

The petition (which he has now taken down) collected more than 2,500 signatures within days, and it meanwhile opened the floodgates on Reddit, where users shared stories about fraught encounters with homeless people in the Ottawa region. Others felt O’Shaughnessy’s language had crossed a line. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson reacted on Twitter, saying it was “disgraceful” and “completely unacceptable” to refer to shelters as a cancer.

The spotlight is shining on Hamilton’s role in a three-year experiment where about 1,000 people in the city living in poverty will receive a no-strings attached base income.

Media reports on the basic income pilot project in Ontario have recently been published in the U.K. and U.S., and a correspondent from PBS NewsHour was in town this week to interview participants.

Attention may increase with the Basic Income Congress coming to the city in May.

Currently, Statscan provides annual data based on three different measures of low income – the LICO AT, the LIM AT and the MBM. (See CANSIM Table 206-0041 for detailed data on poverty using these measures.) LICO estimates are also presented on a pre tax basis but these are seldom used. While the three measures in use today are not described as poverty lines, they are generally used as such, and they all allow for assessment of levels and trends in a disaggregated fashion.

The key point is that the conceptual and measurement differences between LIM and the MBM result in significant differences in rates of low income for important sub populations. It is important to have both measures to account for this complexity.

… the LIM and the MBM are conceptually different measures, both of which provide useful and important information for analysts and policy makers. We need both to get a handle on overall low incomes and trends in different populations.