My Thoughts from the 3rd Annual Poverty Reduction Summit

Submitted by Calgary on May 1, 2017 - 1:16am
Takeaways and Learning


I learned so much from my participation in Cities Reducing Poverty - When Business is Engaged. It is hard to answer what my main takeaways and learning were, but I will attempt this exercise.

1. The biggest impact for me was the subject of food poverty in Canada. Why do we in Canada dispose of $31 billion per year in food that is not sold, poor quality, leftovers etc.?  We have a population of 36 million in Canada, and 5 million of our fellow citizens (1 in 5 children), go daily without the proper daily intake of nutritious  food. Why?

2. When Cities are engaged in the movement of change for poverty reduction and the alleviation of homelessness in our communities, Social Change is positive and happens. The City of Hamilton is a prime example of this.

3. When small and large business are engaged in poverty reduction by paying their staff Living Wages, great benefits, and less precarious work, we the experts know that great things happen. They obtain a great economic advantage for their business, and their teams are more productive and create more sales.

4. Poverty is a crime and a national shame. Our country is one of the richest, most diversified, and most inclusive in the world and therefore, we can and must end poverty. Poverty is a health and lethal issue; if the discussion is seen in this context, policy can change within the scope of our municipal, provincial and federal governments.

5. We the experts know that minimum wage is not an effective tool to end poverty, however we know that Living Wage and a Basic Income would be.  Basic Income would be more cost effective in our social help programs for the expenditures for our governments. Obviously, paying a fair Living Wage is the most effective way to reduce poverty.


When our population earns a reasonable living and is engaged in positive work, its health is better. People can afford decent healthy food, take their kids out to play, and be engaged in their community. This leads to a better economic advantage, including fewer expenses to the health, justice, and social service systems. It all makes sense but unfortunately not to everyone. We must continue moving forward in the discussion for changes in public policy and conversations within the community in general to change public perception.

Thank you,

Hilary L. Chapple

Community Advocate and Ally