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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 Addressing Poverty in Canada.docx

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Social Work
Sandra Preston

1 Social Work 1A06: Introduction to Social Work Oct. 15 2012 Lecture 5: Poverty in the Canadian Context – Addressing Poverty Notes: - Bonus Assignments o Discussion groups can go until end of term o If want to hand in a reflection in person  Go to discussion group and hand in reflection AFTER contributing on ave  How did discussion on ave change your view of the topic Pathways to Poverty (Reading) - Reading rich in research info o Shows lots of data about figuring out who ends up in poverty and why and how long they stay there o Show how problems can happen to anyone (illness etc.), but there are particular pathways that are structured in our soc that make it easier for some people to deal with problems than for others - Loss of employment - Illness or Injury o Can’t work anymore or as well - Being born into a poor fam - Divorce (esp for women) - Having kids (for unattached people) o Esp for single Moms o Less time to work o Greater expenses - Immigrating o Being a 1 gen immigrant What do about Poverty? Why are people in poverty? Arguments focus on Social Structure vs. Individual Choices - Measuring Poverty (reading) o Low Income Cut-offs (LICOs)  Measure of the poverty rate in Canada  Based on average household spending necessities (plus 20%)  Varies according to region and fam size  Mostly based on housing cost o Low Income Measure  Measure of poverty used for international comparisons 2  Based on one-half of the median income of a country o Market Basket Measure  Proposed poverty measure  Based on the cost of consumption rather than income  Takes into account that it costs more to live in Toronto than in Hamilton - Poverty and inequality o Poverty in Canada  1 in 6 canadian kids live below the LICOs  Good way to measure poverty in Canada  Huge #  The Ontario gov’t and the federal gov’t made a commitment to end child poverty by 2000 o Nope  Rate of child poverty is the same today as it was in 1989  In 2008 there were over 700 food banks in Canada  In an average month, 704 000 people received food  Over 1/3 of those being helped were under 18 - Disparity in income in Canada o Earning power for most Canadians has not grown at all in the last 4 decades  Taking inflation into account o Now takes 2 income earners to move slightly ahead of what the average income earner made alone in the 60s o Growing gap btw earners at top and those at bottom o Majority of Canadians have less job security  Tend to be contract or part time o What happens when you lose your job or can’t work? - Income disparities in Specific Communities o Recent immigrants – much more likely to be poor  Become more so over the last 25 years  % that new immigrants make vs. someone bron in Canada used to be .85 on the dollar, but is now .63 on the dollar  Decreasing at a greater rate o Hamilton  % of people who live in poverty  Working poor o 26%  Working full time jobs for very low pay  Working very hard, stuck in poverty still  Children o 24%  Can’t get work 3  65 years and up o 17%  Supposed to be retired  On social assistance with barriers to employment o 15%  Have reasons they can’t work – mental health etc  No income o 8%  On social assistance & job ready o Only 8%!  Even people who get out of poverty and off of welfare often go back in  Because low job security or not paid enough  One of the best ways for women to get out of poverty is… o Get married  V. problematic  Don’t want to get married just to have an income - Poverty in particular groups o Relates to oppression  People with disabilities – 30%  Visible minorities – 37%  Aboriginal people – 38%  Recent immigrants – 52%  _% are below the poverty line - Individual responses to poverty o What can I do alone to address poverty  Address our own internal prejudices about class and those who live in poverty  Challenge the prejudices about class in those around us  Address our own connection to hedonistic consumerism  Spending for pleasure  Toronto trying to legalize the opening of shopping malls on days like thanksgiving – argue that fams like to shop together on holidays o whattttt  Learn to work co-operatively rather than competitively  Competitively = Meritocracy – have to go out and get whatever you can for yourself  Share our resources  Food banks etc.  Become involved in community projects to address poverty  Encourage people to vote etc. - Local responses to poverty in Hamilton o Class Discussion: Proposal for Hamilton Casino Downtown 4  Could take away business for other casinos that rely on it for job creation – flamborough downs  Could lead to gambling issues  Casino could create good jobs if owners are intent on doing so  What are you saying for what you want for your downtown core?  Making downtown core liveable =/= living next to a casino  Etc. o The poverty round table  Round Table on Poverty Reduction  A large group of people from various backgrounds who try to figure out how to address poverty in Hamilton o Food banks  Often the last resort for people  Pros  Focused  Good use of avail resources  Cheap to provid
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