Category Goals: We expect the provincial government to set a priority on improving the health, dignity, and well-being of Islanders who struggle with a less than livable income. We urge the government to consult and collaborate with community-based organizations to develop a Poverty Reduction Strategy like those in other provinces.
Focus Group Highlights: Participants in a focus group indicated that in their experience, more income support is needed, including more support to help people make transitions from assistance to independent livelihoods. Reducing the stigma on receiving help was very important to focus group participants.
The participants named couch surfing, homelessness, and unsafe living conditions as problems in PEI. They suggested that government should consider ways to provide supports and services across PEI and to better use public buildings (such as schools) and facilities with public funding (such as wellness centres) to provide non-stigmatizing support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Conclusions: The Advisory Council congratulates government for moving from a grade of D to a grade of B – in just two years. In addition to improving social assistance and housing programs and employment standards, government has taken some very good first steps towards poverty reduction. We and other community organizations were pleased to provide recent input into ways to engage government and the public in making a plan to reduce poverty and increase social prosperity in PEI. Steps towards poverty reduction have been slow, but we are hopeful that planning is now moving in a positive direction, and we look forward to playing our part.
WOMEN’S ECONOMIC STATUS: B-
This is an excerpt from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women 2011 Equality Report Card for PEI, released in June 2011 and based on information updated to May 30, 2011. The Advisory Council is republishing one area of assessment each week on this blog. For more information, visit the Advisory Council on the Status of Women website.