News release

Ministers commit to advancing social services to remove barriers

April 24, 2019               Saskatoon, Saskatchewan             Employment and Social Development Canada

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services* met to share information, discuss common priorities and work together to address key social policy issues. Ministers reviewed the significant achievements by all jurisdictions while acknowledging more work needs to be done so all Canadians can benefit from an inclusive and prosperous Canada.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan Minister of Social Services. Ministers discussed pressing issues, including poverty reduction, homelessness and food insecurity. They agreed that solutions must be flexible, holistic, and consider the diversity of needs throughout the country while respecting jurisdictional roles and responsibilities.

Ministers also discussed the importance of data sharing, as well as opportunities to collaborate to advance social innovation and social finance initiatives that can help address community challenges and that build on current federal, provincial and territorial approaches. As well, the federal government signaled its interest to consult with responsible ministries in the provinces and territories towards the creation of a national school food program and provided an overview of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how it may align with the priorities and work of the provinces and territories.

Prior to the meeting, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, joined federal, provincial and territorial ministers to hear from national Indigenous leaders on their perspectives on a number of social services priorities, including improving outcomes for Indigenous children and youth in care, homelessness and best practices and opportunities for social innovation.

On the second day of the meeting, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, discussed accessibility and disability supports with provinces and territories and how they could further collaborate to support persons with disabilities with a goal of creating a more inclusive, accessible and barrier-free Canada.

*Due to recent and upcoming elections, there were no representatives from Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador at the meeting.

Quotes

“I am pleased that the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for social services continue to regularly meet and work together. Thanks to these collaborative efforts, fewer Canadians than ever are living in poverty and more are joining the middle class. However, we know there is much more to do. That is why we remain committed to working with all partners to build a diverse, prosperous and truly inclusive country where all Canadians can realize their full potential.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“It was an honour to welcome my federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to Saskatchewan. The meeting was a valuable opportunity to continue our collaborative work on issues impacting children, families and individuals in our communities, especially those who are most vulnerable. Together, we are making progress on issues such as poverty reduction, accessibility and disability supports, and social innovation. More work is needed, and we look forward to continuing our joint efforts to meet the diverse needs across the country and improve the lives of Canadians.”
– The Honourable Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan Minister of Social Services

“Today’s commitment to collaboration is an important step forward in ensuring a truly accessible Canada. We all have a role to play when it comes to creating seamlessly accessible experiences for persons with disabilities. I look forward to working with my provincial and territorial colleagues to build on our shared momentum and to work towards the broader vision of an inclusive and barrier-free Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:
Valérie Glazer
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
819-654-5546

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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