The Road to Balanced Budget Lacks Social Vision
OTTAWA, ON- The road to a balanced budget in Canada must address health, social and economic equity, not a further erosion of programs and services that Canadians rely on to live with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, Budget 2014 makes no effort to address the social or economic inequities in Canada. Particularly in funding for child and family services in Aboriginal communities, the rising poverty rates of seniors or Canada’s homeless.
In the Budget 2013, the Government of Canada signalled its intention to develop a national long-term affordable housing plan with a renewed commitment to a Housing First approach as well as renewed promises to work with provinces and territories to help Canadians find and keep affordable housing.
“Disappointingly, the 2014 ‘Housekeeping’ Budget does not address the growing number of Canadians that do not have adequate, affordable and stable housing” stated CASW President, Morel Caissie. “Canada is a wealthy nation yet despite our economic growth there are at least 200,000 people who experience homelessness each year and waitlists for social housing continue to grow. Where is the vision to build a more equitable Canada?”
With $1.7 billion in federal affordable housing operating agreements set to expire, Budget 2014 was an opportunity for the Harper Government to signal its commitment to addressing Canada’s housing crunch. Without this commitment, housing affordability will be lost for many Canadians including seniors, single-parent households, people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, new Canadians and the working poor.
CASW strongly recommends that the Government of Canada continue working with the provinces and territories to develop national plans to end homelessness and reduce poverty that complements adopted provincial and territorial poverty reduction plans and mental health strategies.
“Investing in a national housing strategy and poverty reduction plan would do more for the economy and the social well-being of the average Canadian citizen than having the lowest general corporate tax rate in the G8” states Caissie. “What does this say about our priorities as a nation that values equity, inclusion, and justice?” asks Caissie.
For more information:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW