Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star, highlights issues examined in the National Council of Welfare's report “The Dollars and Sense of Solving Poverty”.
Instead of focusing on short-term spending that simply enables people to survive or be a little less disadvantaged, Canada should be investing in longer-term plans to permanently lift people out of poverty and prevent others from falling into its grip, says the report.
This would not only improve the lives of those living in poverty, but would benefit all Canadians in reduced costs for health care, education, criminal justice, social service and other areas indirectly affected.
Provincially, Quebec’s universal $7-a-day child-care program is credited for cutting the poverty rate of single-parent families by 15 percentage points between 1997 and 2007.
The report cites numerous initiatives across the country that are also showing success, such as Women Moving Forward, a program started in 2005 by Toronto’s Jane Finch Child and Family Centre that helps move single mothers on welfare into education and employment. An economic analysis of the program shows a payback of $3.56 today for every dollar spent on the first graduating class, and a ten-fold return on investment within 25 years.
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