Ending Poverty Forum – Sudbury (August 21, 2008)

On August 21, 2008 MPP and Minister for Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick Bartolucci met with a diverse group of over 70 people in the City of Greater Sudbury in an open forum organized by the Social Planning Council of Sudbury in order to receive community input into the Liberal Government’s plans for a poverty reduction strategy. Sudbury was included in the communities visited by Minister Deb Mathews in her cross provincial consultation process; however there were many in the community who wanted further opportunity for input. Minister Bartolucci had not been available when Mathews visited Sudbury and was pleased to make himself available for this session.

Janet Gasparini of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury provided an overview of the provincial and local strategies to reduce poverty and the work that had been done to date. The floor was then opened and individuals were invited to present their views.

The presenters represented a broad and diverse group of community members. The list included an individual living on ODSP, a municipal politician, anti-poverty activists, a college president, front line workers from social service agencies, a political science professor, the local and Canadian Labour Councils, candidates preparing for a federal election and staff from the Sudbury & District Health Unit. The audience members who choose not to speak were equally as diverse and all expressed a great deal of appreciation for the opportunity to meet, speak and learn more.

Ideas and issues expressed included:

Minister Bartolucci concluded by thanking everyone for coming and indicating how much he appreciated receiving the input. He reiterated that the government had not pre-determined the outcome of the consultation process and that input was very important. He agreed that labour market strategies were key and that those strategies had to be integrated in the education system as well as the workplace. He believed that we had to create a plan that matched what people actually needed and that while the Liberal government had made efforts to reduce poverty there was still more to be done.

The session concluded with thanks to all from the SPCS and a clear invitation to stay engaged. The week of October 13 – 17 will focus on cross provincial activities to support the strategy development and Sudbury will be involved.

Event Reports

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