In from the Margins, Part II: Reducing Barriers to
Social Inclusion and Social Cohesion
Ottawa, June 18, 2013 – Successful efforts by all sectors of Canadian society to engage more fully those Canadians who, for various reasons, find themselves on the margins and lacking influence over the major decisions affecting their lives are highlighted in a report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
In November 2011, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology received an order of reference from the Senate “to examine and report on social inclusion and cohesion in Canada.” Continuing from its earlier study on social conditions in Canadian cities, the committee built upon the testimony of more than 170 witnesses, who contributed to the earlier report, In from the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness, tabled in December 2009.
Entitled In from the Margins, Part II: Reducing Barriers to Social Inclusion and Social Cohesion, the report identifies ongoing barriers to inclusion and offers 39 recommendations designed to make Canada more inclusive and cohesive. Through evidence garnered from research and testimony by witnesses, and by building on examples of success, the committee identifies ongoing barriers to inclusion and offers recommendations to try to make Canada more inclusive and cohesive.
“The results sought by the committee include a strong economy, more vibrant civil and political institutions, and healthier and safer Canadian cities,” said the Honourable Kelvin K. Ogilvie, chair of the committee. “The solutions proposed in this report are intended to bring people in from the margins to full economic, social and civic participation in their communities.”
“No one in Canada should feel excluded,” added the Honourable Art Eggleton, the committee’s deputy chair. “We must ensure that our population is more engaged and participating in improving our communities and thereby our country.”
As in the committee’s earlier study and its report on access to post-secondary education, statistical evidence, testimony during hearings and written submissions identified specific groups that are vulnerable to economic and social marginalization. These groups include recent immigrants, visible minorities, religious minorities, sexual minorities, urban Aboriginal peoples and individuals with disabilities. In addition, the committee heard that youth and seniors also face barriers to social inclusion in their communities. For each of these groups, the committee learned about particular barriers, current initiatives intended to reduce and eliminate these barriers, and persistent challenges that remain.
“Well-intentioned programs may have the effect of exacerbating exclusion,” said the Honourable Judith Seidman. “The recommendations are also aimed at reforming programs to minimize this possibility.”
The committee hopes the report’s recommendations will be given full consideration.
To read the report and recommendations or to learn more about the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, go to http://senate-senat.ca/soci-e.asp.The Senate of Canada is on Twitter: @SenateCA. Follow the committee using the hashtag #SOCI.