Poverty and human rights

Poverty and human rights overview

Human rights are inherent in all people. Everyone has the right to live in dignity and to participate fully in society.

Poverty denies people these rights. Specifically, poverty affects economic and social rights – those rights that relate to the workplace, social security, and access to housing, food, water, health care and education.

When, as a society, we allow poverty to persist, we fail to protect these basic human rights.

Our work in finding systemic solutions to poverty includes a commitment to safeguard these rights. We explore the link between poverty and human rights, including finding approaches that can better protect economic and social rights.

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Relevant publications

Opinion

Published on 19/12/2016

In this time of uncertainty, our rights are something we must all hold on to.

This past year has been full of surprises, some pleasant and some not. At the top of the list must be Brexit and Trump; other similar surprises might be looming on the horizon in France and even Germany. A prominent explanation has been that these are populist uprisings, carried on a tide of discontent from […]

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Opinion

Published on 11/05/2016

Commenting on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's issue of an updated order to the federal government calling on it to comply with its decision in the discrimination case brought by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

In late April, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued an updated order to the federal government calling on it to comply with its decision in the discrimination case brought by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Some critics, including the editorial board of The Globe and Mail, criticized the role of the tribunal, […]

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Opinion

Published on 25/04/2016

Poverty can be un-constructed by our choices to protect the inherent human rights of people to access good housing, health, nutrition and work.

In 1971, Senator David Croll chaired a Senate inquiry into poverty and his report opened with this observation: “The poor do not choose poverty. It is at once their affliction and our national shame.” Forty-five years later those words still ring true. While poverty is not a choice for those who experience it, it is […]

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Article

Published on 21/04/2016

Providing an overview of the strategies and policies for rights-based poverty reduction in Canada beginning with the need for common language and goals.

The persistence of poverty in Canada continues to demand new responses and new thinking. More than 1.34 million children in Canada are living in poverty and starting their lives on an unequal playing field (Family Service Toronto, 2015). More than 200,000 people across the country experienced homelessness last year (Raise the Roof, 2016). One in […]

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Speech

Published on 05/04/2016

Welcome address at the Tamarack conference Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead on April 5, 2016 in Edmonton.

Welcome address at the Tamarack conference Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead on April 5, 2016 in Edmonton. It is a pleasure to welcome you on behalf of Tamarack. And a particular pleasure for me because of the presence of so many mayors and councillors. I’ve worked for a number of years to highlight the […]

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Opinion

Published on 30/03/2016

Including people with lived experience of poverty in decision making processes is critical to a rights-based approach

Poverty is currently being addressed in Canada in a very real way. Poverty reduction strategies are emerging in almost every provincial and territorial government. The federal government has indicated its commitment at a national level. And, at the community level, many cities are also enacting poverty reduction strategies. We know that affordable housing, income, employment, […]

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