Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers reconvene to discuss improvement of social services for Canadians

TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2017 /CNW/ - The Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for Social Services, co-chaired by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Joanne Bernard, Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services, met today in Toronto to discuss their shared interest in ensuring all Canadians can contribute to, and benefit from, an inclusive and prosperous society.

A year after their last meeting in February 2016, Ministers reconvened to discuss pressing issues faced by Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and those living in poverty. Ministers also affirmed their commitment to all Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet and issued the following statement:

"Too many Canadians still live in poverty and we are all dedicated to help them have a real and fair chance at success. We recognize that poverty has many dimensions, causes and consequences, and that individuals living in poverty have diverse needs and experiences.

During the meeting, we discussed the advancements and lessons learned from our respective jurisdictions in the area of poverty reduction. Recognizing provincial and territorial governments' comprehensive approaches to poverty reduction, we agreed that the federal government's future poverty reduction strategy will build on and complement these efforts so synergies are established with current and future provincial and territorial initiatives, while respecting jurisdictional roles and responsibilities.

We also agreed that future discussions will take place to identify how to maximize the impact of our initiatives to the benefit of low-income Canadians and acknowledged there is no one approach that works for everyone. Solutions to reduce poverty must continue to take into account the diversity of needs throughout the country and be informed by the experiences of individuals living in poverty and the organizations that support them. We are united in our commitment to find effective solutions that will help low-income Canadians transition out of poverty to lead healthy, socially inclusive lives."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, federal Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour also attended the meeting. After an update from Minister Bennett on the federal commitment to the reform of child and family services for Indigenous children, Ministers underscored the need to work together and with their respective Indigenous partners, while building on the work of provinces and territories, to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care and improve the well-being of Indigenous children and families.

Minister Qualtrough provided an overview of accessibility consultations and the planned federal legislation. Following the update, Ministers discussed priorities and opportunities for future collaboration to advance accessibility for persons with disabilities and support their social and economic inclusion, while respecting jurisdictional roles and responsibilities.

The federal government also hosted a meeting with the National Indigenous Organizations where FPT Ministers had an opportunity to hear their views on poverty reduction and reducing the number of Indigenous children and youth in care.

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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Mathieu Filion, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca; Kristen Tynes, Nova Scotia Department of Community Services, 902-449-5765, Kristen.Tynes@novascotia.ca

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