NWT Poverty Progress Profile Final May 20121

See on Scoop.itNWT News

OVERVIEW [excerpt]
The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) has yet to provide a definition of poverty and currently has no territorial strategy to eradicate it. They are seeking an anti-poverty strategy with the help from social justice groups, businesses and community members. A discussion paper outlining the plan awaits completion following its initiation in 2010. In March 2011, a Poverty Survey was distributed by the government throughout the territory asking members what they believe is critical to addressing the issue of poverty. Non-government organizations (NGO) such as Alternatives North responded to the survey offering several recommendations outlined in a report called Action on the Ground. This NGO is pressing the government to address poverty issues in the territory as well as other social justice issues. The Northwest Territories (NWT) stands out in Canada as the territory that has the greatest need for housing repairs, a crime rate six times higher than the national rate and soaring mental health issues.1 The territory functions by a consensus system with no legislated political parties making it difficult to provide services that are at the crux of eradicating poverty.
Statistics Canada has yet to produce reliable data for the Northwest Territories, including the three measurements of poverty (LIM, LICO, MBM).
Therefore, this document will portray an approximation of poverty in the NWT but will not give an exact analysis of the territory.
Action on the Ground
Alternatives North is comprised of anti-poverty groups, environmental organizations, labour unions, churches, women and family advocates. Together as a coalition, the organization works to defend social justice issues. Leading the way for a poverty reduction strategy, Alternatives North answered the Poverty Survey issued by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) in March 2011. The survey was collected in April 2011, and a report titled, “What We Heard from Northerners about Poverty” was released in February 2012. This report combined the results of the survey, focus groups and interviews organized by GNWT.3 The following list is what Alternatives North identifies as priorities to eliminate poverty in their response to the Poverty Survey:
1. Political Will–Political and public service leaders must decide poverty is unacceptable.
2. Cost/Benefit Analysis–Acknowledge, asother jurisdictions have, the sound business case for eliminating poverty. It is cheaper to eliminate poverty than to provide band-aid programs or ignore the problem.
3. Understand Poverty–Increase public awareness of poverty and its causes and reduce the blame placed on people living in poverty.
4. Communicate the value of the public services needed for quality of life(the social safety net) for all citizens and how much value we get for our tax dollars.
5. Communicate the economic and social costs to taxpayers of poverty, not just the costs of eliminating poverty.
6. Corporations and businesses benefit from poverty reduction too. They should pay their fair share of the taxes necessary to eliminate poverty.
Note: the above priorities were directly taken from Alternatives North response to the GNWT Poverty Survey.
In addition, Alternatives North points out four specific priorities to eliminating poverty. These include
… providing adequate and affordable housing;
… quality community-based early childhood education;
… quality mental health, trauma and addictions support and treatment;
… and to link community and economic development.
See http://www.cwp-csp.ca/poverty/poverty-progress-profiles/
for more information about the other provinces and territories.

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