Poverty is much more than inadequate living resources. Instead, true poverty is best understood as a lack of justice — and we must address this injustice on both an economic and political level.

Social justice is defined as “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” Often this is achieved through institutions or services that work to make sure people can equally access the benefits of social cooperation and guard against socio-economic inequality. In addition, social justice is fairness as it manifests in society. That includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, and more.

COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on the extent of poverty in Canada. When normal economic activity was interrupted by the exigencies of public health driven lockdowns, the shutdown disproportionately affected people who, before the pandemic, were living on incomes beneath the poverty line or dependent upon low-paying hourly remunerated jobs, usually part time and without appropriate benefits.

Ongoing challenges and activities:

The principles of social justice are simple: All people are equal. All people deserve the same rights. And all people deserve to be treated with dignity. The defining element in social justice must then become action. We are past the point where not being aware of the injustices negatively impacting thousands of individuals living in Saskatchewan on a regular basis should be an allowable state of being. 

RAPM participates with Poverty Free Saskatchewan activities. This is a province-wide movement for anti-poverty groups in the province. Founding members include: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Saskatchewan, Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina, Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry (RAPM), End Poverty Regina (formerly the Regina Anti-Poverty Network), Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers (SASW) and Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition (SAPC).

RAPM is member of Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) – an organization that came together to find a solution to the desperate, life-long poverty that people with disabilities face on welfare. Why: because 70% of the long–term “static” welfare caseload are people with disabilities.

RAPM chairs End Poverty Regina, formerly the Regina Anti-Poverty Network, which is a network of over 20 organizations dealing with poverty issues. This network provides a forum for information sharing and has been active in the campaign for adequate and affordable housing.

Long-term goals:

Promoting a Saskatchewan Anti-Poverty Act which would ensure basic social and economic rights committed to under international law. Enact an “Act To End Poverty In Saskatchewan” that ensures basic social and economic rights, including adequate income, housing, childcare and a living wage are afforded to all people in Saskatchewan.