ANTIGONISH: Community members in Antigonish Town and County are invited to attend an on-line forum on poverty with local municipal candidates and acclaimed members of council on Friday, October 16 from 12-1:30 p.m.

Participants will hear from several of the municipal candidates from both the town and county of Antigonish who were asked to provide a written response detailing what action they would bring forward to council to address poverty and to advocate for changes in public policy. The forum will provide an opportunity to discuss their ideas and answer questions from the public. The responses will also be posted on the APRC Facebook page.

This year’s municipal election on October 17 coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty. In Antigonish, far too many people continue to struggle with poverty, and the situation has only been made more complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the 2016 census, 21.9 per cent of Antigonish residents lived in poverty in the previous year. The 2019 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty found that the child poverty rate in Antigonish is 23.7 per cent. The Nova Scotia Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates a living wage for Antigonish at $19.55 per hour, yet more than one-quarter of workers in the North Shore Economic Region struggle to get by on less than $15 an hour.

While addressing poverty is often considered to be the jurisdiction of other levels of government, a growing number of municipalities are taking action to address the issue.

“As municipal leaders across Canada know, our communities cannot truly prosper if we let poverty persist,” Brock Carleton, former CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, has said.

The Chair of the APRC, Wyanne Sandler, emphasized that this will be an important opportunity to hear from municipal candidates and representatives.

“With the current public health restrictions, there ave been fewer opportunities to engage municipal candidates in the lead up to the election. This forum will be a critical opportunity for us to hear about how they plan to make sure our communities are places where everyone is able to participate and have a good quality of life.”

The APRC invites anyone interested to register to attend the on-line forum at: https://tinyurl.com/y88f4k98 and the event will also be livestreamed on the APRC Facebook page.

Established in 2010, the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition (APRC) brings together organizations, groups and individual community members committed to eliminating poverty in Antigonish town and county. Their mission is to reduce and eliminate poverty by working with communities to address the root causes through advocacy, education, and organizing for collective action.