From the St. Francis of Assisi JPIC Team,
Social Justice & the 2019 Federal Budget
The government’s new budget commits to a bold vision in some critical areas for people living in poverty in Canada – but misses the mark by extending housing dollars to promote homeownership for the middle class, when so many people in Canada are homeless and living in unaffordable, inadequate housing.
A central focus of the government’s budget is a commitment to a National Pharmacare Plan. The government’s budget relies on the release of the report of the Advisory Council on National Pharmacare coming later this year but promises a Canadian Drug Agency, and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.
Although Canada has the tenth largest Gross Domestic Product in the world, we are one of the only countries with national Medicare but lacking Pharmacare.
The focus on the middle class and homeownership is out of step with where the most urgent needs lie – addressing homelessness for the more than 235,000 in Canada and lack of affordable, adequate housing for millions.
In November 2017, the government launched the National Housing Strategy, recognizing the right to housing of all people in Canada for the first time – and committed a significant budget to the strategy. However, programs within the strategy like the Canada Housing Benefit, will not roll out until 2020.
(excerpt from the website of Canada Without Poverty, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to eradicating poverty in Canada and educating Canadians about the link between poverty and human rights.)