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Canada Says It Has a Plan to Tackle Poverty — But It's Unclear How It Will Work

Canada’s upcoming poverty reduction strategy will reference many federal programs that will act as one all-encompassing plan, according to a briefing note obtained by the Canadian Press.

"The poverty reduction strategy that is publicly released, however, would be inclusive, making references to all activities across the federal government that have contributed, or will be contributing, to a reduction in poverty," said the briefing note from Infrastructure Canada.

Canadians have been expecting the public anti-poverty plan since November 2017, when officials met to discuss ways to use various government spending options under the branch of Canada's first federal poverty reduction strategy.

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“We are going to announce Canada's first-ever poverty reduction strategy very soon. It will set clear and official targets in order to better measure poverty, because the better we measure poverty, the more effectively we can reduce it,” Michael Brewster, a spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said.

Infrastructure Canada’s note pointed to new recreational centres and public transit spending as part of means to help low-income families access services.

But critics worry the overarching mention of multiple programs as a tie into anti-poverty plans could mean there will be little new funding for anti-poverty plans and no big changes to policy.

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Some argue that the government could end up promoting plans already in place under the guise of a new anti-poverty strategy.

Karen Vecchio, Conservative social development critic, for instance, argued that the Liberal government needs to consider every component of federal policy when making decisions around a new strategy.

“They need to look at every single thing from the dollars that the prime minister spends on his luxury trips, to spending $30,000 to rename a centre,” she told CP. “If they want to start, start from the top.”