Province Announces Funding, Commitment to Collaborative Poverty Reduction Initiatives

November 27, 2015

LITE to Receive Annual Funding For Local Economy Project: Premier Selinger

The Manitoba government announced three years of funding for LITE’s Social Purchasing Portal and strong commitments that will reduce poverty, Premier Greg Selinger announced this morning at the annual LITE Wild Blueberry Pancake Breakfast.

“This funding allows LITE to build partnerships so that social enterprises, co-ops and businesses with a social mandate can provide good jobs for individuals facing barriers to employment,” Premier Selinger said.  “It is by partnering with organizations like LITE and investing in ideas that work that we will reduce poverty, build capacity and create jobs.”

The Social Purchasing Portal (SPP) is a network and directory of businesses, co-ops and social enterprises committed to local Community Economic Development in Winnipeg.  The project promotes business and purchasing which benefits the community, the local economy and the environment, including hiring people who face barriers to employment, the premier said.

“We are very pleased that the government will provide support to the SPP project,” said Anne Lindsey, executive director, LITE.  “We are in a time when many companies and institutions want to ensure their purchasing and procurement have a positive social impact.  The SPP is a proven and practical demonstration of how social purchasing can be promoted and be successful at the community level.”

This is the first of the government’s announcements on investments in poverty reduction since the release yesterday of the 2014-15 annual report for ALL Aboard: Manitoba’s Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion Strategy, which indicated that 5,000 fewer Manitobans are living below the poverty line in 2013 than in 2012, including 4,000 children.

“We know that poverty is complex and must be addressed through a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach,” the premier said.  “This is why we continue to build upon our ALL Aboard strategy.  Our throne speech committed to several poverty reduction initiatives that invest in Manitoba and Manitobans.”

In the throne speech, the government committed to:
• creating a universally accessible child-care system with 12,000 additional spaces;
• increasing the minimum wage every year;
• working to bring incomes above the poverty line;
• modernizing supports to those who face employment disadvantages due to severe and prolonged disabilities;
• developing more social and affordable housing with partners, and working to end homelessness;
• providing training and job opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment by strengthening the Social Enterprise Strategy;
• investing more in community schools, early childhood hubs and after-school programs in the inner-city; and
• increasing investments in prevention programming with more resources for front-line services.

The government has established targets and timelines for new child-care spaces and social housing units, the premier said.  He told those gathered at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre for the breakfast that in the coming year, the government will work with community members, service providers, businesses and other levels of government to collaboratively set additional targets and timelines that will strengthen Manitoba’s poverty reduction strategy.

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