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Proceedings and final report on the working conference on strategies to ensure economic security for all Canadians

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Lerner, Sally
Publication Date: 
1 Nov 2003

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpts from executive summary

On Friday January 31st and Saturday February 1st, 2003, the Basic Income/Canada network and the Canadian Council on Social Development co-hosted a working conference in Ottawa on economic security for Canadians. The goal was to bring together a variety of interests, backgrounds and opinions in order to facilitate discussion of possible new policy architectures for income security.

Participants in the conference included academics and economists, income security advocates, members of non-profit and social policy research organizations, as well as individuals with lived experiences of poverty. Together they ensured a colourful debate and raised many important questions regarding governments' responsibilities in providing basic income security, as well as social services and resources, to all citizens and the feasibility of initiating new programs or restructuring existing ones.

All participants made important contributions in discussions on the relationship between economic security and human rights, how to erase the negative stigma of the current welfare system, connecting income security with accessibility to important social programs such as adequate and affordable housing, healthcare (including supplementary health benefits), childcare, post secondary education and training.

While many diverse views were represented, all agreed that the current welfare system fails to offer low-income Canadians dignity and the means necessary to have an acceptable quality of life, and that major change is needed.