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Third Session, Thirty-Ninth Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 204

THE SOCIAL INCLUSION AND ANTI-POVERTY ACT


Table of Contents Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

WHEREAS poverty and social exclusion negatively impact the well-being of all who experience them;

AND WHEREAS poverty and social exclusion are significant barriers to the healthy development of children;

AND WHEREAS people affected by poverty and social exclusion are not able to fulfil their potential to contribute to their communities;

AND WHEREAS poverty and social exclusion have a detrimental impact on the social and economic well-being of our communities;

AND WHEREAS poverty reduction is about both improving the well-being and quality of life of those living in poverty and ensuring a strong and prosperous future for our province;

AND WHEREAS improvement in literacy is an important step to decreasing poverty;

THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS

Definitions

1           The following definitions apply in this Act.

"advisory council" means the minister's advisory council designated in section 6. (« Conseil consultatif »)

"minister" means the minister appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to administer this Act. (« ministre »)

"poverty" means the condition of an individual who is deprived of the resources, means, choices and power necessary to acquire and maintain economic self-sufficiency or to integrate into and participate in society. (« pauvreté »)

"social exclusion" means, in respect of an individual, not being able to participate fully in the social and economic activities of society. (« exclusion sociale »)

PROVINCIAL STRATEGY

Purpose

2           The purpose of this Act is to establish and implement a provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.

Manitoba's overall goal

3(1)        The overall goal of Manitoba's strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion is to make Manitoba one of the jurisdictions within the industrialized nations having the fewest persons living in poverty, according to recognized methods for making international comparisons.

Specific target

3(2)        As part of Manitoba's overall goal, a specific target of ensuring that the number of Manitobans living in poverty by 2013 is at least 50% less than the 2009 number is hereby established.

Minister responsible

4(1)        The minister shall, in collaboration with other ministers and agencies of the government, the minister's advisory council, representatives of persons living in poverty, communities and appropriate non-government organizations, lead the development, implementation and evaluation of a provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.

Orientation and scope of strategy

4(2)        The provincial strategy must be oriented along the following five axes and must cover all communities, including aboriginal communities:

(a) preventing poverty and social exclusion, with a focus on developing the potential of individuals;

(b) strengthening the social and economic safety net;

(c) promoting access to employment and increasing the attractiveness of work;

(d) promoting the involvement of society as a whole in the provincial strategy;

(e) ensuring consistent and coherent interventions are implemented at all levels.

Additional matters to be taken into account

4(3)        The provincial strategy must also take into account realities specific to women and men, in particular through gender-based analysis, as well as the greater incidences of poverty in certain regions or areas and the specific needs of certain groups in society having particular difficulties, especially because of their age, ethnic origin, level of literacy or an impairment or disability.

CONSIDERATIONS RE THE FIVE AXES

Considerations re preventing poverty

5(1)        In developing preventive measures to be included in the provincial strategy, consideration must be given to

(a) recognizing the family as the basic unit of personal and social development and, while respecting the role of parents, supporting families with dependent children who are at risk of long-term poverty, through early and integrated intervention aimed at giving the families access to a range of services and programs adapted to their needs;

(b) promoting school success and facilitating the integration of young persons, particularly the disadvantaged, into school and society;

(c) improving basic education and access to continuing education to enable adults to complete and update their occupational qualifications, facilitating recognition of their experience and promoting access to information and communication technologies;

(d) supporting volunteer and community actions that contribute to the social inclusion of persons living in poverty;

(e) recognizing the contribution of the elderly to society, and supporting the elderly living in poverty to provide them with access to a variety of services and programs adapted to their needs;

(f) promoting, for persons living in poverty, access to culture, recreation and sports;

(g) improving basic literacy rates and access to literacy and education programs for all children and adults in all parts of Manitoba; and

(h) enabling those who are living in poverty to maintain and build their skills and financial assets, including capital assets such as housing, so that they are better able to plan for their future.

Considerations re strengthening safety net

5(2)        In developing measures to be included in the provincial strategy to strengthen the social and economic safety net available to assist people affected by poverty and social exclusion, consideration must be given to

(a) raising the level of income assistance available to persons and families living in poverty, having regard to their particular situations and the resources at their disposal to meet their essential needs;

(b) encouraging low-income workers to enter or remain in the labour market, especially through work income supplements;

(c) providing persons living in poverty or social exclusion with health, social and educational services that are adapted to their specific needs;

(d) facilitating dignified access, for persons and families living in poverty, to a food supply that is both sufficient and nutritious, at a reasonable cost, and to simple and reliable information enabling those persons and families to make good dietary choices;

(e) facilitating the availability of decent and affordable housing through housing assistance measures and the development of housing for the socially disadvantaged, including the homeless;

(f) ensuring that low income earners and those living in poverty have access to literacy and education; and

(g) generally, strengthening community support for persons affected by poverty and social exclusion.

Considerations re promoting access to employment

5(3)        In developing measures to be included in the provincial strategy to promote access to employment and increase the attractiveness of work, consideration must be given to

(a) intensifying employment assistance so as to better support communities in their efforts to create employment, particularly in high poverty areas in which employment assistance measures and services need to be adapted to the needs of the groups identified as being more affected by poverty;

(b) favouring an approach centred on community-based intervention and the integration of social and economic development;

(c) favouring, in the workplace, the social and occupational integration of persons who have particular difficulty entering the labour market, especially persons who have an impairment or disability;

(d) enhancing the quality of jobs so that workers receive an income adequate to provide an acceptable standard of living, enjoy better employment protection against the risks of exclusion, and achieve a better balance between family and work; and

(e) ensuring adequate on the job and continuing education and skills learning.

Considerations re promoting involvement

5(4)        In developing measures to be included in the provincial strategy to promote the involvement of society as a whole, consideration must be given to

(a) favouring citizen participation, particularly by persons living in poverty and social exclusion and the organizations representing them;

(b) supporting specific local and regional initiatives for the achievement of the goals set out in the provincial strategy;

(c) recognizing the social responsibility of businesses and including the labour market partners;

(d) recognizing the contribution of volunteer and community action; and

(e) recognizing the responsibility of individual citizens toward others in the community.

Considerations re consistent and coherent intervention

5(5)        To ensure that the measures to be included in the provincial strategy can be implemented in a consistent, coherent and sustainable manner, consideration must be given to

(a) ensuring that the policies and measures intended to help in the fight against poverty and social exclusion are complementary and coherent;

(b) devising means of measuring the progress achieved and improving knowledge on poverty issues, particularly through the development of research networks, and providing for accountability and co-ordination mechanisms designed to ensure consistent intervention;

(c) supporting in a durable manner innovation and adaptation of programs and services on the regional and local levels, developing co-ordinated action and collaboration, and providing for a procedure for disseminating innovative experiments that are carried out;

(d) remaining abreast of and examining innovative approaches taken by other countries, and participating in international forums; and

(e) with representatives of aboriginal people, discussing ways in which the policies and measures referred to in clause (a) may be adapted to the particular needs of aboriginal people.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Advisory council

6(1)        The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg is hereby designated as the minister's advisory council on poverty and social exclusion.

Function

6(2)        The main function of the advisory council is to advise the minister on the development, implementation and evaluation of measures taken under the provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.

Advisory council to consult across province

6(3)        In discharging its functions, the advisory council must seek information and guidance from citizen groups across the province.

Minister may refer matter to council

6(4)        The minister may refer to the advisory council a matter within the scope of the provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.  The council shall consider the matter and submit to the minister a written report of its findings or recommendations.

Council may refer matter to minister

6(5)        The advisory council may refer to the minister for consideration a matter within the scope of the provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.

REPORTING

Presentation of provincial strategy

7(1)        In co-ordination with the other ministers concerned and taking into account the opinions received from the advisory council, the minister must prepare a report on

(a) the initial provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion, and present it publicly on or before October 15, 2009; and

(b) the annual updates and revisions to the strategy and present them publicly on or before October 15 in each subsequent year.

Annual provincial status report

7(2)        On or before May 15 in each year, the minister must publicly present a report on the measures to combat poverty and social exclusion implemented by the government and the community as a whole and the results obtained, within the scope of the provincial strategy.

Status report to be included

7(3)        The provincial status report must report on Manitoba's progress toward achieving the goals set out in the provincial strategy, in particular with regard to reducing the number of people in Manitoba living in poverty.

Tabling the report

8(1)        The minister must table a copy of a report required under section 7 in the Assembly without delay if the Assembly is sitting or, if it is not, within 15 days after the next sitting begins.

Referral to standing committee

8(2)        A report that contains recommendations about amendments to this Act stands referred to the Standing Committee of the Assembly on Social and Economic Development. The Committee must begin considering the report within 60 days after it is tabled in the Assembly.

C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE

C.C.S.M. reference

9           This Act may be referred to as chapter S120 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Coming into force

10          This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Explanatory Note

This Bill requires the government to establish and implement a provincial strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion.  The strategy must be oriented toward

  • preventing poverty and social exclusion;
  • strengthening the social and economic safety net;
  • promoting access to employment and increasing the attractiveness of work;
  • promoting the involvement of society as a whole in combatting poverty and social exclusion; and
  • ensuring that interventions are consistent and coherent at all levels.

The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg is designated as the minister's advisory council on poverty and social exclusion.

Annual reporting is required on updates and revisions to the provincial strategy, and on the measures implemented and the progress made in combatting poverty and social exclusion.