Campaign 47 Economic Security

Investing in economic security makes sense for building healthy communities

A healthy, prosperous society needs all its members to participate fully. And there are ways to enhance every individual member’s opportunity to contribute as much as possible. One of them is economic security. Economic security includes things like adequate wages, government assistance, and ample opportunities for citizens to better their skills through training and development.

Economic security is about individual and collective responsibility. We all benefit when individuals at the bottom of the income scale are brought up. When people have some measure of economic security, they can feed, clothe and house their families and children properly. Those children are in turn healthier, better equipped for school and are able to do all the things kids are supposed to do. The parents have a better chance at caring for and nurturing their children; can weather the storms of periods of unemployment and take advantage of opportunities to improve their skills.

Societies that succeed are the ones that understand how important it is that every member of the community has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully. These are the societies that see the value of investing in social infrastructure. These investments yield returns. And this isn’t only in terms of social benefits, it’s in terms of economic benefits as well.

Investing in economic security makes sense

OMSSA believes there is a need to introduce a range of transitional benefits to support low income people that will remove the perceived advantages of remaining on or returning to social assistance.

This should include a menu of supports that would be tailored to the needs of the individual. These measures could be -- providing health benefits such as drug, dental, vision care to low-income earners, or assisting with the costs of transportation, child care or special clothing needed for work.

People want to work and disincentives to working need to be removed. We would also like to see a better system of skills training that would enable people to improve their skills and therefore gain access to better jobs and better pay.

We’d also like to see governments work together to introduce a cohesive set of tax credits to bridge the difference between earnings and what it takes to raise a family so it is able to meet its basic needs and participate fully in community life, since the labour market is not designed to ensure that families have enough income to meet their basic needs.

Economic security encompasses many things, but the objective is clear – to ensure that everyone can contribute in a meaningful way to the economy and to society. And societies that have strong systems of economic security have growing, robust economies.

Working towards a healthy, vibrant society – a source of pride for all Canadians

Canadians pride themselves on living in a country with a high standard of living; and on being a caring, community-minded people. They are shocked when they hear how many children go to school hungry, how many people are stuck in the cycle of poverty, how many people struggle to make ends meet, how many children are cared for in arrangements that do not promote optimal development. It’s a lack of adequate social infrastructure.

Social infrastructure, or the system of social services, networks and facilities that support people and healthy communities, is essential to ensuring every person the opportunity to contribute to a progressive society in a meaningful way. It means assuring necessities like shelter, education, adequate income, safety, recreation and leisure, and cultural expression. It is built upon the values of equity, access, integration, inclusion, and diversity. Building a community in which individuals can contribute to their full potential is working towards a society that is thriving — economically, socially, culturally, and politically.

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