“The reality is that it can hit anybody. I have friends who are losing their homes and filing for bankruptcy… they never thought it could happen to them”.

30 people met in the Glengarry neighbourhood on hot, steamy June 6th for the Windsor “Ending Poverty” workshop. The group included people affected by manufacturing job loss, people with disabilities, and women who are new to Canada. The need for good jobs that provide a secure income, and a strong social safety net to ensure livable incomes for those who can’t be in the workforce were themes that dominated the discussion.

Recent and upcoming auto plant layoffs are a prime issue in Windsor. This affects the whole community with concerns that there aren’t enough jobs. Low wage jobs without benefits mean people can’t afford their medication, healthy food, decent housing. Newcomers are frustrated that employers want Canadian experience and won’t recognize their international qualifications.

The group identified priority changes needed by government to end poverty: universal, extended health care benefits; build more affordable housing; support good jobs and increase minimum wage; and increase social assistance benefits to adequate levels. At the individual and community level we need to be part of a grassroots movement to voice the needs of low income people, lobby government for change, and demand job security from corporations.

Prepared by Jacquie Maund