A 2017 report, Behind the Numbers: The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction, noted that days after the 2015 election, a Globe and Mail opinion piece pointed out something many anti-poverty activists already knew. Every territory and province except B.C. has a poverty-reduction strategy in place or in development.

Until now, the big missing piece has been the federal government. That report was quite timely, as the Trudeau government had just promised such a strategy in their election platform. In the most recent international rankings in 2017, of 41 developed nations, Canada lags behind in several areas related to poverty reduction. UNICEF places Canada near the bottom in terms of global goals to end poverty and hunger.

I recently read a discussion paper on the history of the role of the federal government in the development of a poverty-reduction strategy. That’s the problem; we are still discussing Ottawa’s role in a poverty reduction strategy, not actually implementing one. In 2009, the federal government rejected a recommendation from the Human Rights Council that Ottawa establish a poverty-reduction strategy. Ottawa said addressing poverty is a provincial responsibility.