In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Despite the continued growth in global economic development, millions of people around the world continue to live in extreme poverty.
Today, there are 1.3 billion people living in persistent poverty and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. The link between poor access to social determinants of health and poverty continue to rise. According to the World Bank, between 88 and 115 million people around the world continue to be pushed into poverty during this most recent health and economic crisis.
The United Nations theme for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty surrounds respect for people and planet. To do that, we look to address the systemic issues that cause poverty. In Canada the focus is building back better for a post-pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind. Gig-workers are often cited as an example of people confined to employment on the margins of precariousness and vulnerability as they experience a lack of basic workplace protections.
As we reflect on the actions needed to eradicate poverty there is no better time than now to continue advocating for a post-pandemic recovery that puts workers first. Across Canada, injured workers are continuously deprived dignity, especially when attempting to access compensation after a workplace injury.
It is not okay to sustain an economy on precarious labour as experienced by migrant workers who have no opportunity for citizenship yet are critical to Canada’s economic growth.
Poverty eradication strategies need to address the many ways people experience economic insecurity. To do that, workers must be front and centre in the dialogue.