Montreal is a vibrant city filled with
bon vivants which everyone loves. And what is there not to love with
all the festivals, the mountain, waterfront, street art, amazing
food, hip cafes, terraces, and sports bars just to mention a few.
Montreal offers so much for us to enjoy, which most of us take
advantage of. However, like a fast growing trend across Canada, 22%
of us live in poverty.
How can such a beautiful and vibrant
city have such a problem when we have the means that every child
never has to go to school hungry. We have the means to make sure
every person and every family has a proper roof over their heads,
clothing for the winter and nutritional food to eat. But our elected
leaders refuse to use the resources at their disposal to make it
We tend to think that poverty is
homelessness, but that is only what we see everyday. The working poor
is one of the highest percentage of poverty and fastest growing. Not
having money to purchase basic furniture like a bed and a table,
going without food until your next pay cheque and always being one
pay cheque away from being homeless. This is more common than most of
us realize; no only in Montreal, or Canada, but the entire world.
Quebec is one the best provinces in
Canada at redistributing wealth, but there is little support from the
federal level. Children growing up in Quebec have one of the best
chances in the world for escaping poverty, however with
non-francophones those odds drop significantly. Meaning, racism plays
a major role of poverty in Quebec.
The Effects of Poverty
Higher risk of dropping out of
Lower school readiness
Lower self-esteem and aspirations
Greater risk of adaptation or
Costs of Poverty
Poverty costs society and taxpayers
well over $10 billion annually and much higher on the federal level.
Costs include the health care system, welfare and the criminal
justice system including incarceration. In a study prepared by the
city of Toronto, it is estimated poverty costs $5 billion to the city
Actions That Need to be Taken
Poverty and inequality are complex
issues that have huge and devastating impacts not only on the
individuals effected but also society as a whole. Poverty causes not
only economic problems, but health and social problems as well.
Creating a long term and meaningful action plan to address poverty
would be costly, but not nearly as expensive as doing nothing as is
the case today.
A recent inquiry done in British
Columbia reported that an effective poverty reduction strategy will
cost the province approx $5 billion per year. A staggering amount
until you consider that presently it costs over $10 billion annually
by doing nothing.
Governments have the resources to enact
these policies to significantly reduce poverty. It's the best step
forward; legally, morally and economically.