When I had an opportunity to speak to the Senate’s “In From the Margins” report, the focus was on factors in the social support system that actually keep people stuck in poverty. A friend recently highlighted to me that people in poverty have few choices of the services they access, and whether they access services at all. He asked, “What if people had the choice to exit the system if they wanted to?
In terms of internationally, Canada has a fairly strong social support system, providing a certain level of the basic necessities. However, with the growing inequality in our society this system is becoming increasingly stretched, we have more people requiring assistance without people escaping from poverty. Although we need to continue to enhance our system, we need to also provide the freedom of alternatives.
So, what would need to be in place for someone who said they wanted to leave the system to be able to do so? What would alternatives look like? How can we alleviate the system at the same time as we ensure better outcomes for those in and out of it?