Churches to Watchdog Poverty Reform

Article excerpt

The Anglican and Lutheran churches in Canada are pressing the federal government for immediate, concrete action to reduce the "unacceptably high" rates of poverty and homelessness in this country.

The latest available statistics on poverty in Canada, from 2008, show that 9.4 per cent of Canadians live on a "low income." This is the term now used to describe households spending 20 per cent more on food, clothing and shelter than the average Canadian household. Although this 2008 rate is significantly lower than the rate of 15.2 per cent observed in 1996, low income remains "a significant challenge" for 3.1 million Canadians, according to a study report.

Family and child poverty rates in Canada are "unacceptably high," said the authors of the report, which was recently released by the parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. In all, the committee has submitted Go recommendations for reducing poverty.

"Together, our churches will watch for indicators of an effective national strategy for reducing poverty and homelessness," said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), in a letter. …