Fight Against Poverty and Social Exclusion
2004-2010 Government Action Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion
The Government Action Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion brought together a slate of measures worth $4.5 billion over the past six years. These measures had a significant effect on the daily lives of low-income individuals and families. Deployment hinged on close collaboration by all the partners concerned by the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
The first action plan was primarily based on two principles:
Acknowledging the value of work through work incentives and assistance measures for low-income workers was the fundamental principle of the action plan. Consequently, a Work Premium to replace the Parental Wage Assistance Program was established for all low-income households as of January 2005. In April 2005, a participation premium was added to support the efforts of social-assistance recipients to enter the workforce. Between May 2004 and May 1, 2010, minimum wage increased from $7.45 to $9.50. The Child Assistance measure, that came into force in January 2005, improved family income, especially that of low-income families.
The action plan also included improvements to the Employment Assistance Program, particularly through the following measures: a baseline threshold for poverty; a personalized youth approach making it possible to provide better-adapted assistance that included coaching; and substantial investment in housing, including the construction of low-cost or affordable rental units.
Insofar as the battle against poverty and social exclusion is a society-wide challenge, the first Action Plan relied on the unity and involvement of local and regional communities through the Fonds québécois d’initiatives sociales, which fostered local action based on an integrated territorial approach and provided financial support for initiatives in the territories deemed priorities.
Lastly, given the importance of civil society’s contribution in combating poverty and social exclusion in Québec, creation of the Comité consultatif de lutte contre la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale, whose members hail from an array of civil society sectors, was among the government’s important moves in terms of unity and cooperation at all levels.
This Action Plan, initially intended to cover the period from 2004 to 2009, was extended by a year to enable consultations aimed at laying the groundwork for a second action plan. The 2010-2015 Government Action Plan for Solidarity and Social Inclusion, entitled Québec’s Combat Against Poverty, was made public in May 2010. It provides for total investments of nearly $7 billion over five years