Poverty Reduction Action Plan

Poverty is a complex social issue and has significant impacts on the social determinants of health. According to the 2016 census, over 23,000 (one in six) Islanders were below the Low Income Measure in 2015, while the same was true for one in seven Canadians (4.8 million people).

Background

In early 2018, provincial government established a Poverty Reduction Advisory Council to provide advice and input into the action plan development process, including a public engagement process. The action plan outlines commitments to address poverty in Prince Edward Island over the next five years.

Goals

  1. To help Islanders in need
  2. To support the most vulnerable
  3. To build on our supportive communities and partners
  4. To improve the well-being of children and youth

Key Actions

Key Actions: To help Islanders in need

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the Employment Standards Act.
  • Partner with community to support the creation of a women’s shelter.
  • Double the new rent supplements planned in the next year from 275 to 550.
  • Increase Social Assistance rates:
    • shelter rates by six per cent.
    • food rates by ten per cent.
  • Transform the Social Assistance Program to improve the social and economic well-being of recipients by better supporting those who can attach to employment and those who face multiple barriers to employment through enhanced employment supports and increased rates.
  • Through government, community and industry partnerships, increase investments in
    • Job readiness programs to prepare clients to enter the workforce;
    • Pre-employment programs for clients with multiple and complex challenges that impact their potential for employment; and
    • Training programs for high demand jobs.
  • Enhance PEI's Provincial Student Loan Payment Relief Program by providing borrowers the option not to make payments for up to 30 months while their income is below $30,000.
  • Increase minimum wage to $12.25/hour.
  • Create an Ostomy Supplies Program that would provide assistance to low-income Islanders with ostomies.
  • Invest in developing new affordable housing units.

Key Actions: To support the most vulnerable

  • Implement Secure Income Program for Islanders with severe limitations to entering the workforce to meet essential needs and enhance dignity.

Key Actions: To build on our supportive communities and partners

  • Introduce a 211 service – a confidential service to provide people with current information on government and community-based social programs and supports.
  • Support the PEI Community Sector Network and identify a Minister responsible to lead work to support this sector.
  • Expand the mandate of community grants under the Rural Growth Initiative to foster innovation and effective poverty reduction initiatives at the community level, including community assessments and asset mapping.
  • Move to multi-year grant funding for community partners providing essential services to Islanders on behalf of government.
  • Work with community service providers to develop a provincial transportation action plan.

Key Actions: To improve the well-being of children and youth

  • In response to the 2017 Children’s Report and the 2016 Review of the Child Protection Act, establish a mechanism to lead and coordinate collaborative actions to improve outcomes for children and ensure that services to children and families are responsive, flexible and reflect the voice of the child.
  • Implement a provincial non-profit school food initiative.
  • Formalize and expand the SEAM / STAR Program to support high school students returning to school to enhance lifelong success.
  • Create a social inclusion allowance for children on Social Assistance to provide opportunities to participate with peers in community activities.

Supporting Actions: 2020 to 2024

The full list of Supporting Actions can be found by downloading the PEI Poverty Reduction Action Plan

Making it happen

These are the foundation actions needed to get the best results to reduce poverty in Prince Edward Island.

Foundational Action Rationale
Develop a Poverty Reduction Act Legislation will make it clear who is responsible for poverty reduction, when planning and reporting will take place, and when the Plan will be reviewed and updated.
Name a lead minister responsible for poverty reduction This will make it clear who will move the work from plan to action.
Establish a Poverty Reduction Council (community/government partnership) The Council will play a leadership role in carrying out the Plan, provide advice, coordinate local partners, and report on the progress of the plan.
Develop a data plan to support poverty reduction High quality data and information help us plan what to do, where best to focus resources, and to see where we are making a difference.

Contact:

Telephone: (902) 368-6185
Toll-free: 1-866-594-3777
Email: povertyreduction@gov.pe.ca

Published date: 
November 2, 2018