Girls Inc. of Upper Canada sent a troupe of young women with MPP Steve Clark to Queen’s Park on May 30th, to take part in Girls’ Government.
This year, participants made poverty reduction the focus of their advocacy as they prepared for their day at Queen’s Park. In meetings with local municipal leaders, the girls learned that Leeds and Grenville has one of the highest rates of poverty in Ontario. At Queen’s Park, the girls raised poverty issues in a press conference and directly with the Minister Responsible for Poverty Reduction, the Education Minister, Official Opposition Leader Patrick Brown, Speaker Dave Levac, and many other MPPs.
They recommended a focus on poverty prevention through the inclusion of financial literacy in the mandatory Ontario school curriculum, making OSAP more accessible, investing in programs for youth and piloting the Basic Income Guarantee.
In addition, the group stressed the need for continued efforts to raise the level of public awareness about poverty, the variety of factors that can put a family or individual in that situation, reducing the stigma, and providing more supports to change the reality facing too many in our province.
Girls’ Government is an MPP-led program designed to open doors for girls interested in public office and policy initiatives. The program is affiliated with Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to electing more women at every level of political office in Canada.