In order to lead lives of compassion and justice, “the poor must have priority… over the wants of the rich.” (“The Church and the Economic Crisis" (1984)) One in six Canadians struggle to make ends meet: to pay rent, feed their families, and address basic needs.
Join Dignity for All’s Chew on This! campaign to raise awareness about poverty and food insecurity in Canada. On October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, ask Prime Minister Trudeau for a stronger fully funded anti-poverty strategy for Canada.
The federal government released Canada’s first national anti-poverty strategy, Opportunity for All, in late August 2018. The United Church of Canada welcomed it—a hallmark moment for Canada, and a success for grassroots and national groups like Dignity for All. Still, this strategy falls short of creating an avenue for the full eradication of poverty. There is more work to be done to ensure a stronger, more effective national strategy is developed. Together as people of faith we can continue to shape the new strategy by raising our voices.
We want the Prime Minister to hear our message. People in Canada want a comprehensive, rights-based, legislated, and fully funded Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. Ending poverty must be a priority during the 2019 election campaign.
Join with people across Canada calling for an end to poverty—our shared voices can make a difference!
- Order Chew on This! postcards to sign and mail to the Office of the Prime Minister, calling for an end to poverty through a human rights-based strategy backed by strong legislation and sufficient funding.
- Organize a Chew on This! event on October 17 in your local community:
- Order postcards, bags, magnets and buttons online from Dignity for All.
- Find volunteers and pick a location.
- Collect food items and pack your Chew on This! bags.
- On October 17, take to the streets and join the movement calling for a stronger, fully funded Canada anti-poverty strategy.
- If you are in Ottawa, plan to join United Church partners Citizens for Public Justice and Canada Without Poverty on Parliament Hill on October 17. See the event map or contact Michèle Biss (michele [at] cwp-csp.ca) for more information.
- Have your community of faith engage in a worship service that honours the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
- Join the Dignity for All campaign to create a poverty-free Canada. Share your public statement of support for a national poverty strategy that reflects the Dignity for All recommendations with your social media networks.
As Christians faithful to the gospel we believe that anti-poverty work—the belief that all people have the right to be treated with justice, love, and respect—is key to living our faith. The United Church works to address issues of poverty in congregational settings and through Community Ministries that support people seeking basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, advocacy services, and spiritual guidance. These ministries call the church to risk new forms of life and membership, to be willing to be transformed by those on the margins of our society, and to join them as the place where God is present and active.
There are other ways in which the United Church works toward ending poverty in Canada. The calls to implement Indigenous rights and reconciliation arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are central to eradicating poverty in Canada. Additionally, United Church Women have worked to keep the issue of child poverty in Canada front and centre among all levels of government through their Bread Not Stones initiative.
The United Church also partners with organizations like Canada without Poverty (CWP), Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, and others, to advocate for systems and policies that support all Canadians in dignified ways and work for the eradication of poverty.
Faith-based and civil society organizations have been calling on the federal government to create a national anti-poverty plan for well over a decade. In 2009, the Dignity for All campaign, co-led by United Church partners CPJ and CWP, outlined the goals for a national anti-poverty plan that is legislated and sufficiently funded. Dignity for All released their model anti-poverty plan in 2015, following years of consultation.
In 2017 the United Church submitted a response to the Federal Government’s Poverty Reduction Consultation online survey, and the wider church was invited to Take Action through the government’s survey, Dignity for All’s online form, as well as the 2017 Chew on This! campaign—which has become the largest anti-poverty mobilization in Canada.
Together we continue to work toward a Canada without poverty.
For more information, contact: