For immediate release: January 16, 2020
The Sask. Party is continuing to let down the most vulnerable in the province, with the University of Regina’s Child and Family Poverty in Saskatchewan: 2019 Report showing that one in four Saskatchewan kids is living in poverty.
“Far too many kids in this province are being let down by their government,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “No child in this province should go to school hungry, but the Sask. Party keeps dragging their feet on reducing child poverty, with devastating consequences for so many kids.”
Meili noted that Saskatchewan remains the only Canadian province without an anti-poverty strategy, and that poverty costs Saskatchewan nearly $4 billion per year in decreased opportunity and increased spending on healthcare, social services and justice. The problem, he says, is exacerbated by an economy slowed and struggling under the weight of bad Sask. Party decisions.
“There is so much we could be doing to get ahead of this problem,” Meili said. “We could start by raising our lowest-in-the-country minimum wage, ensuring that no one working full time has to stop at the foodbank on the way home and putting more money into local businesses.”
According to the U of R report, Saskatchewan has both the third highest rate of child poverty in Canada and the lowest percent reduction in the number of children in poverty as a result of government transfers. The province has also seen the smallest decrease in child poverty rate at 0.7%.
“Landlords, frontline workers and families have raised the alarm about the Sask. Party’s harmful changes to the income assistance program, and I’ve heard from many people who are falling through the cracks because of it,” said NDP Social Services Critic Nicole Rancourt. “If we want to address the heartbreaking numbers of children living in poverty, we need to ensure that families facing poverty have access to the support they need, and that includes fixing the Sask. Party’s unfair changes to income assistance.”