February 20th is the UN’s World Day for Social Justice, and this year, we’re reminded that despite extraordinary global strides towards eliminating poverty, equitable distribution of income and access to greater opportunities, we still have a long way to go.

In Canada, 1 in 7 people lives in poverty. For every seven people you walk by on the street, at least one struggles to put food on the table. At least one worries about having a roof over their heads during harsh Canadian winters. At least one is concerned that they might not be able to afford their prescription, or daycare for their children, or their monthly phone bill. And people aren’t equally vulnerable: gender, age, religious, culture, ethnicity, disability can all make people more susceptible to social injustices.

Such inequalities are fundamentally unacceptable in Canada and around the world. Recognition of such issues is the first step in redressing them, and Canada has an obligation to play its part. The reality of social inequalities in Canada do not match the values of those who live here. If even one person lives with social injustices and their basic needs are not being met, then their human rights are denied and that reflects upon us all.