Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

October 16, 2015 09:00 ET

On Election Day - Cast a Vote to Eliminate Poverty

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 16, 2015) - On the eve of the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change (COP-COC) is calling on all political parties to make the elimination of poverty a priority for the next Federal Government. COP-COC is also asking all Canadians to cast a vote on October 19, 2015 for equity, fairness and racial justice.

COP-COC is a province-wide initiative made up of individuals, groups and organizations working to build community-based capacity to address the growing racialization of poverty - for both First Peoples and peoples of colour - and the resulting increased levels of social exclusion and marginalization of racialized communities across Ontario.

As members of racialized communities remain among those who are most marginalized and disadvantaged socially, politically, and economically, more can and should be done by all political parties to address the rapidly growing colour-coded disparities and inequities in Canada.

Across Ontario, First Peoples and peoples of colour are at a minimum two to four times more likely to live in poverty; with even child poverty becoming racialized, as children from these diverse communities are at least three times - and in some ethno-specific cases six times - more likely to be living in poverty.

Changes in immigration processing have placed racialized communities at an economic disadvantage and have created substantial barriers to reuniting with family in Canada.

Over the last decade, federal programs and national institutions long established to protect and promote human rights have either had their funding dramatically cut, or they've been completely dismantled, thanks to ideologically driven and austerity legitimized political agendas. While at the same time, efforts by non-governmental organizations to support rights based initiatives have been undermined through governmental indifference at best, and negative political interference at worst.

These disturbing trends are being further exacerbated by parallel trade facilitating negotiations and agreements that will continue to push vulnerable groups and communities further into the margins and at ever greater risk of socio-economic disadvantage. As history has shown, the so-called "free trade" agreements in the past have often resulted in job loss in the Canadian labour market, which disproportionate impacted on women and racialized communities members, thereby contributing to the ever growing gendered and racialized economic inequality.

As a prosperous nation founded on the principles of fairness, democracy and the Rule of Law, Canada is well placed to make the elimination of poverty a priority for all Canadians - no matter which political party forms the next Government.

In this the 30th anniversary year of Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - the equality rights section - and as we work to embrace the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - we call upon our political leaders to stand up for equity, fairness and human rights, and stop the attacks on the social, political, civil, cultural and economic rights of certain groups of Canadians, including Aboriginal and Treaty rights and Title, the right to be free from discrimination, and the right to a decent standard of living for all Canadians.

For as we dedicate ourselves to this community and nation building enterprise, therein lies the path to a fair, stable and sustainable Canada that we can all embrace and treasure.

Contact Information

  • South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
    Shalini Konanur
    Executive Director
    (416) 487-6371 or (416) 526-3484

    Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
    Avvy Go
    Clinic Director
    (416) 971-9674