OTTAWA — The federal government will go to six cities in the coming months to test ideas that could end up in a promised national poverty reduction strategy.
Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement Friday in the first city on the list: Saint John, N.B.
The project will see federal officials run case studies in Saint John, Trois-Rivières, Que., Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife and Tisdale, Sask., which was chosen so federal officials would have a rural community to test ideas.
The goal is to get a better idea of what works and what doesn't as the government crafts a national poverty reduction strategy that is expected to take into account work already being done in cities, provinces and territories.
A first step in that work will be finalizing a national housing strategy. That strategy is scheduled to be released in late November.
A local MP for Saint John, Wayne Long, first proposed making the city a test site for anti-poverty initiatives, outlining his case in a letter to Duclos' chief of staff in February.
Long wrote that the city was a perfect site to begin testing anti-poverty strategies because of its high child poverty rates, small population, and an existing poverty reduction efforts that have been in place for more than a decade.
The federal government agreed and the project is set to start in Saint John in the coming months.
Many of the details of the project are still to be worked out, but Duclos' office says there will be a mix of qualitative and quantitative tests uses to measure success. The project could include focus groups and roundtables with those who have experienced poverty, or with workers from local organizations that help homeless people.
It's estimated that some three million Canadians live in poverty, and 235,000 experience homelessness annually.