Federal-municipal partnership key to poverty reduction (03/06/2017)
Local leaders from across Canada take solutions to federal minister
FCM President Clark Somerville issued the following statement following a roundtable on poverty reduction with the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada's Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. The exchange with municipal leaders was part of FCM's Annual Conference: Shaping Canada's Future (Ottawa, June 1-4).
"Municipal leaders have come together this week to shape Canada's future, and eradicating poverty in our communities is an essential part of that. So I want to thank Minister Duclos for today's dialogue on moving forward together through a Canadian poverty reduction strategy.
Every day, local leaders see firsthand how poverty prevents individuals, families and entire communities from seizing their full potential. And right across Canada, municipalities are responding with local solutions. Local governments provide expanding arrays of services for low-income households. They're on the front lines of affordable housing and homelessness solutions. From coast to coast to coast, municipalities are pulling together diverse stakeholders to move forward on comprehensive poverty reduction strategies.
Tackling poverty at its roots, however, will require action across all orders of government. And today, we commended Minister Duclos for positive steps that his government has taken. We especially welcomed his commitment to develop a National Housing Strategy in collaboration with all orders of government.
Safe, affordable housing is the bedrock of livable, inclusive communities-and needs to be at the heart of any poverty reduction strategy. Our message today was clear: tackling Canada's housing crisis starts with concrete investments both to repair existing social housing and to support the construction of new social and affordable housing.
Today's discussions with Minister Duclos were substantive. On behalf of FCM, I committed to share formal recommendations for a Canadian poverty reduction strategy later this month. And we leave here today even more determined to shape a future for Canada where every one of us has a chance to achieve our full potential.
Clark Somerville is a local/regional councillor for the Town of Halton Hills and Halton Region. His one-year term as FCM President concludes on June 4, 2017.
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