Poverty and human rights

Poverty and human rights

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 25/02/2016

With more than 50 cities across the country adopting or preparing poverty reduction strategies, there is a particular moment of opportunity in Canada right now.

Along with close to 50 representatives from non-governmental and Indigenous organizations, we have spent the past week in Geneva as observers and participants at the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ review of Canada. We came to Geneva to present to the Committee on where these rights are not being protected and where […]

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Speech

Published on 22/02/2016

Oral presentation on February 22, 2016 at Canada’s review by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Oral presentation on February 22, 2016 at Canada’s review by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Good morning committee members, delegates and members of civil society organizations. My name is Elizabeth McIsaac and I’m the president of Maytree, a private charitable foundation based in Toronto, Canada. At Maytree, we are focused on […]

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Submission

Published on 16/02/2016

This submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights makes four recommendations on the role of cities in protecting our rights.

Are Canada and its cities doing enough to protect everyone’s economic and social rights, including the rights of our most vulnerable populations? A review by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to get underway next week in Geneva, will soon let us know. Canada’s obligations to protect the economic and social rights […]

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Opinion

Published on 05/02/2016

Toronto city council must be ready to accept its obligations to protect the social and economic rights of all residents in our city.

For the anti-poverty movement in Toronto, January was a month focused on the City of Toronto budget process, and there is growing concern about whether council will deliver on the promise of a strategy approved only three short months ago. On the afternoon of Nov. 3, the council chamber was filled with promise and expectation. […]

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Opinion

Published on 28/01/2016

There's a question to how committed Toronto councillors are to accepting their obligations to protect the social and economic rights of all residents.

For the anti-poverty movement in Toronto, January has been a month focused on the City of Toronto budget process, and there is growing concern about whether Council will deliver on the promise of a strategy approved only three short months ago. On the afternoon of November 3, Council Chamber was filled with promise and expectation. […]

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Opinion

Published on 21/12/2015

Testing how to develop our rights-based approach to ending poverty.

What we learned from testing a rights framework in Windsor and Hamilton At Maytree, we see human rights as a particularly effective tool to eliminate poverty in Canada. To help us develop our rights-based approach, we have spent time engaging in conversations about how these rights are useful in anti-poverty work with those in academia, […]

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