NDP slams anti poverty strategy

A five-page document approved last week by the Yukon's Office of Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction has the NDP wondering what they've been doing for two years.

A five-page document approved last week by the Yukon’s Office of Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction has the NDP wondering what they’ve been doing for two years.

The official Opposition critiqued the framework document for not containing any specific plan or measurable goals.

“I don’t know, I can’t quite figure out what this is. This isn’t a strategy, and as a framework, it’s not telling us one single thing new for the last two years. So what have you been doing? Where is the strategy?” said MLA Jan Stick, critic for social services.

The government created the Office of Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in 2009, and in 2010 the group released three reports detailing the status of poverty, housing and other measures of social well-being in the territory.

A website, www.abetteryukon.ca, was launched to update the public on the initiative.

“A socially inclusive society is defined as one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected and their basic needs are met, so they can live in dignity,” according to the website.

Monthly newsletters were available on the site from April 2010 through February 2011, but none since.

According to the February 2011 newsletter, the group conducted committee meetings in January 2011 to develop a draft framework, and would collect feedback from community groups between February and March.

“This draft framework is the ‘skeleton’ or the foundation of our house. It is not the strategy, it is a plan to help us create the strategy,” the newsletter states.

The final framework document includes a brief overview of the project, a vision statement, a set of guiding principles and three goals, with a few objectives attached to each goal.

The three goals are to improve access to services, reduce inequities and strengthen community vitality.

One of the objectives associated with reducing inequity is to “address homelessness, housing availability, affordability and the quality of housing.”

That’s not enough, said Stick.

“If you’re going to have a plan, there need to be clear goals, timelines. How do you know when you’ve accomplished it? How do you know that you’ve removed barriers to access? When do you know that you’ve addressed homelessness and housing availability? You need clear goals with measurable outcomes.”

The Office of Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction is working with community partners to release the final strategy by fall 2012, said Pat Living, spokesperson for Health and Social Services.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


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