CREATING A POVERTY-FREE CANADA
Kate Gunn has seen firsthand the magic of Paul Born’s approach to ending poverty
As interim Director of End Poverty Edmonton, Kate is part of the city’s bold plan to end poverty within a generation — with a strong focus on reconciliation and antiracism.
It’s a plan informed by Paul’s work as the co-founder and co-CEO of the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement. Tamarack spearheads a visionary — and, more importantly, achievable — poverty-reduction movement across Canada. One that currently encompasses 388 municipalities, with the direct support of federal and most provincial governments. Nine out of 10 Canadians live in a community with a Tamarack-inspired poverty-reduction plan.
Tamarack brings together community members with direct lived experience of poverty alongside representatives from the business, government and not-for-profit sectors. Together they identify their individual community’s strengths, needs and priorities for poverty reduction.
Then, they create plans that may encompass raising the minimum wage, supporting single moms with affordable childcare, creating tax incentives for businesses to hire full-time rather than part-time workers, even shifting transit routes so that people without cars can commute to work more easily. Community members, says Kate, directly experience Tamarack-inspired approaches in almost every facet of their daily lives.
And it’s working. Not just in Edmonton — where child poverty rates were cut in half between 2015 and 2017 — but across the country. Canada reduced poverty rates by 20% between 2017 and 2019 to the lowest levels in recorded history. “What’s more,” Kate says, “we’re on track to a 50% reduction as early as 2024.”
Paul believes that communities accomplish more together. And that belief is infectious.
Tamarack is on track to reduce Canadian poverty levels to 8%. “At that point, we can afford a guaranteed basic annual income for every Canadian” says Paul. “We’re going to end poverty as we know it, in 10 years. Can you imagine it?”
Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement
When I think of Paul, I think of community … he sees possibilities rather than problems and barriers. He listens, reflects deeply, and seeks innovative and collective action for change. And the results are astonishing.”