1st Session, 63rd General Assembly
66 Elizabeth II, 2017
First Reading: October 17, 2017
WHEREAS the House of Commons of Canada, by a resolution adopted unanimously on November 14, 1989, pledged to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2020;
AND WHEREAS that pledge has not been met;
AND WHEREAS all reputable studies show that overall and child poverty rates in Nova Scotia remain stubbornly high;
AND WHEREAS the rate of poverty in Nova Scotia for children under age six is the highest in Canada according to Statistics Canada census data;
AND WHEREAS putting an end to poverty is an achievable goal;
AND WHEREAS to achieve goals it is desirable to set specific, measurable, relevant and timely targets;
THEREFORE be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Social Inclusion Act.
2 In this Act,
(a) "Department" means the Department of Community Services;
(b) "Minister" means the Minister of Community Services;
(c) "poverty" includes poverty as measured by the low-income cut off, the low income measure and the market basket measure.
3 The elimination of poverty is hereby declared to be part of the public policy of the Province.
4 (1) The Minister shall devise and implement a social inclusion strategy in accordance with this Section.
(2) The social inclusion strategy must
(a) include an initial target of a 50 per cent reduction in poverty within five years; and
(b) be made public within one year of the coming into force of this Act.
5 (1) By March 31st of each year, the Minister shall make public an annual report respecting the implementation of the social inclusion strategy.
(2) The Minister shall table the annual report in the Assembly if the Assembly is then sitting or, where the Assembly is not then sitting, within 15 days of its next sitting.
(3) Within two months of the tabling of a report pursuant to subsection (2), the House of Assembly's Standing Committee on Community Services shall meet with representatives of the Department to examine and review the report.
(4) The report referred to in subsection (1) shall include—on a longitudinal basis of at least 10 years if the data exists and, where possible, disaggregated by sex, race, and geographic area—data respecting counts, incidences and regional and national comparisons of
(a) family poverty, including single-parent families and persons living alone;
(b) child poverty;
(c) use of food banks;
(e) clients of the Department by household type, age and disability;
(f) number of children in care, as defined in the Children and Family Services Act;
(g) teenage births;
(h) social and affordable housing, including the number of units and waiting lists;
(i) households in core housing need;
(j) persons graduating high school;
(k) participation in adult learning programs;
(l) post-secondary education participation;
(m) early development instrument scores;
(n) availability, affordability and quality of childcare;
(o) prevalence of chronic disease by income quintile;
(p) monthly cost of a basic nutritious diet;
(q) average weekly earnings;
(r) employment and unemployment rates;
(s) income inequality;
(t) gender wage gap;
(u) sense of community belonging; and
(v) any matter prescribed by the regulations.
(5) The report referred to in subsection (1) shall include information respecting all anti-poverty measures of the Government of the Province, including
(b) income assistance;
(c) employment support;
(d) health, including pharmacare;
(e) housing; and
(f) any other information prescribed by the regulations.
6 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing any matter or information to be included in an annual report;
(b) defining or further defining any word or expression used in this Act;
(c) respecting any matter or thing the Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to effectively carry out the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority set out in subsection (1) is a regulation under the Regulations Act.