March 10, 2014 6:11 pm
Updated: March 11, 2014 6:07 am

Coalition launches campaign to reduce poverty in Saskatchewan

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Watch the video above: organizations have launched a campaign in an effort to reduce poverty

SASKATOON – It’s an issue costing Saskatchewan billions of dollars annually, poverty.

A new campaign has been launched to promote awareness and request a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for the province.

Poverty has affected Saskatoon’s Lori Snakeskin in ways where she wasn’t able to support her family.

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“Life can’t prepare you for poverty, I was doing well, everything was great and then my daughter got sick and from there it seemed you get yourself deeper and deeper,” Snakeskin said.

And she’s not alone. In 2010, there were 99,000 people living in poverty in Saskatchewan. Many of those were working full or part-time but not able to earn enough to meet the needs of their families.

“We are one of the last two provinces who have not adopted a poverty reduction plan and the time is now,” said Alison Robertson, the campaign manager at Poverty Costs.

It is estimated poverty costs Saskatchewan $3.8 billion in services and missed economic opportunity each year.

Of the $3.8 billion, $50 to $120 million is spent annually on the criminal justice system.

Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill sees the fall out of poverty every day.

“It’s common sense, we can fix these issues but they’re long-term issues and I know that’s hard for governments to grapple with because they’re long-term solutions,” Weighill said.

“But we’ve got to get started somewhere and we’ve got to get started soon because if we don’t we’re just going to see this replicate and replicate to the next generation.”

In 2010, the average poor household in the province reported incomes 37.6 per cent below the poverty line.

Poverty Costs members will be pushing their campaign all week and will be branching out across the province in the next month.

For more information on the initiative you can visit Poverty Costs.

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