A new report says not everyone is benefiting from Saskatchewan’s booming economy.
Poverty Costs Saskatchewan: A New Approach to Prosperity for All is commissioned by the Upstream Institute.
It says the rate of poverty for those who experience it is deepening in the province.
Charles Plante is one of the co-authors of the report and he says the provincial government needs to set specific targets for reducing poverty and implement a poverty reduction strategy.
“One of the first steps we need to do is set targets and timelines and that’s one of the essential components of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy,” he says. “Saskatchewan needs to say, ‘We want to reduce poverty and to XYZ level.’”
Plante also says Aboriginal children are one of the groups most affected by the deepening poverty rates in the province.
“One of the most frightening figures that comes out that we mention in the Poverty Costs report and which resonates the most with me when I think about the future of Saskatchewan is the level of child poverty in First Nations communities. The levels exceed 50 per cent and in some places over 60 per cent, they’re definitely the highest in Canada.”
Overall, he says while Saskatchewan’s booming resource economy has raised the overall standard of living, it has also caused other basic needs such as rental and food costs to rise rapidly.
The report notes in 2002 the average poor household reported incomes below the poverty threshold of roughly 27 per cent while this number increased to 38 per cent by 2010.
Saskatchewan is only one of two provinces in Canada that does not have a poverty reduction strategy.
The report says in 2011 the incidence of low-income in Newfoundland fell to five per cent from 12 per cent in 2004 as the result of such a strategy.
It also says poverty costs this province about $3.8 billion per year.