The Government of Quebec recently launched a major public consultation to develop its fourth governmental action plan to fight poverty and social exclusion. As part of this process, Mission inclusion seized the opportunity to testify about the realities and difficulties faced by people participating in projects we partner with across Quebec.

Our response to the government questionnaire highlights the diversity of realities experienced by people living in poverty throughout Quebec. The portrait is not uniform, even though some issues like housing remain critical everywhere.

Regional disparities exist in access to public services, community resources, public transit or healthy food. Geographical isolation exacerbates the social isolation already experienced by many people.

Marginalization that Impacts Certain Groups More Severely

Poverty also manifests itself differently depending on an individual’s identity and characteristics. Women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, immigrants, racialized people, and people of sexual and gender diversity face unique challenges.

Poverty and social exclusion are often compounded by environmental injustices. Marginalized people and communities are at higher risk of exposure to pollution and climate change while having fewer resources to adapt. Thus, sustainable solutions to fight poverty must consider the interrelation between social justice and environmental justice.

These findings demonstrate that there is no single solution to eradicate poverty. It must be tackled through an intersectoral and intersectional approach that takes into account regional and identity specificities.

The Quebec Foundations Collective Speaks Out

As a member of the Collectif des fondations québécoises contre les inégalités (Quebec Foundations Collective against Inequalities, Mission inclusion also contributed to the brief filed on June 29 as part of this consultation. The 15 signatory foundations express their concerns and wishes for coordinated, measured government action concerned about the impact of its choices on vulnerable people.

Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Solutions

Mission inclusion reiterates the importance of implementing universal programs while adopting an equity perspective that allocates more resources to individuals and groups facing multiple vulnerabilities. We also recommend better supporting community organizations sustainably across all regions. They understand local realities and can quickly deploy concrete actions.

The fight against poverty is the responsibility of all of Quebec society. Thus, the government must work hand in hand with individuals, front-line organizations, civil society actors, giving prominence to directly affected people and communities. Together, we will build a more just and inclusive Quebec!