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Yellowknife Northwest Territories

No Place for Poverty

Yellowknife, Northwest, Canada

About My City: Yellowknife

According to 2014's CRA tax filer data, 17 per cent of families and 22 per cent of children live in poverty in the NWT. A population of 43,000 people live in 33 communities. Conditions vary enormously between Yellowknife (population about 20,000), regional centres (population around 3,500) and small communities with fewer than 500 residents. A little more than half the population of the NWT is Aboriginal, Metis or Inuit. Half of the communities do not have year round road access and have little to nothing in the way of a market economy. School achievement rates in the small communities lag behind larger centres and unemployment rates are high. Store-bought food is often unaffordable and food security is a serious problem. Most people in remote communities live in social housing which is often too small or in poor repair. People in the larger centres have access to better services from food-serving non-profits but social housing is difficult to obtain because of long waiting lists and market housing is unaffordable. With its small, resource extraction economy (diamonds, oil and gas) and heavy reliance on federal transfers (two-thirds of the annual budget), NWT has made little progress in alleviating poverty.

About My Organization: No Place for Poverty

No Place for Poverty is a 31-member coalition founded in 2009 to lobby the territorial government to create an anti-poverty strategy. It is ad hoc organization without a staff or budget Members are from the non-profit sector, municipal and aboriginal governments, and unions.

My Collaborative: Northwest Territories Anti-Poverty Action Plan

No Place for Poverty worked with the territorial government to create an anti-poverty strategy. It was tabled in 2013 and an action plan to implement the strategy was tabled in in 2015. The Coalition then focused on developing a living wage campaign for Yellowknife. Facing a lack of funding to continue this work, No Place for Poverty is refreshing its purpose that will return it to its roots of lobbying government to implement anti-poverty initiatives, including oversight of the Anti-Poverty Action Plan, participation in the development of a federal anti-poverty strategy to reflect northern needs, and lobbying to preserve territorial government programs that are meant to alleviate poverty.