Who could’ve seen this coming? Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party are at the province’s helm for a decade — much of it through a massive economic boom — and in all that time they somehow fail to meaningfully deal with poverty in Saskatchewan.

Sure, our unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent compares well nationally, but when you look at our child poverty numbers, they’re abysmal. A 2016 report from Canada Without Poverty says that as of 2014, Saskatchewan’s child poverty rate was the third worst in the country at 24.6 per cent; that’s well above the national rate of 18.5 per cent.

On reserves, the situation is even worse as child poverty rates hit 69 per cent.

Meanwhile, food bank use across the province has risen from 1.7 per cent in 2008 to 2.7 per cent in 2016.

An advocate for the homeless says the city and province aren’t doing nearly enough to lower the rates of homelessness in the city.

Kirsten Bernas, of the Right to Housing Coalition, said her organization has “for years” been pushing for greater investments in social housing inventory, a point on which she said government is failing.

“We don’t have enough (social housing) here, so we need our governments to invest in that because the private market is not able to meet that need,” Bernas said. “We’re really concerned because we’re not seeing the city use the tools that it has at its disposal to contribute to adding to the supply of low-income housing, and we’re not seeing our province make any investment or commitments in new social housing.”

Bernas charged that there’s been “a halt to new builds” since the Progressive Conservatives assumed office in 2016.

Merritt’s cold weather shelter will receive more funding this season, allowing the space to stay open every night from Nov. 1 until the end of March.

In previous years, the Nicola Valley Shelter and Support Society’s (NVSSS) cold weather shelter was only open every night from December through February. In November and March, the shelter was opened only on nights forecasted to be below zero.

That was due to its designation as an extreme weather response shelter, but this year it has been deemed a winter shelter by BC Housing — resulting in the additional funding, new shelter co-ordinator Ava Dean told the Herald.

A homeless camp in Chilliwack that’s been the subject of community complaints for years is being demolished, leaving some residents scrambling for a new place to live.

Emotions ran high as security guards accompanied by RCMP officers entered the camp on Monday to evict the roughly 20 people living there.

“You guys never, ever offered help. Ever. Not once,” one woman yelled at the guards and Mounties.

The concept that many of Vernon’s homeless are transient is being contested.

A homeless census was conducted Oct. 18 and 19 and it indicates that 76 per cent of the 67 surveyed grew up in Vernon or the North Okanagan or have family here.

“Overwhelmingly, they have connections here,”Annette Sharkey, with the Social Planning Council, told city council Monday.

Forty-four per cent have lived in the area for more than 10 years and even among the 18 per cent who have been here for less than one year, half of them have family connections or grew up in Vernon and area.

Love or hate the province’s proposed changes to employment rules and regulations in Ontario, the policies do appear to be moving forward.

Recently, Bill 148 (better known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017) passed second reading after debate in the Ontario Legislature.

The bill, if passed, would bring major changes to the Ontario workforce.

What are some significant policy proposals?

As people recognize the magnitude of food waste and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, interest in finding ways to reduce food waste, globally and in Canada, is escalating. A private member’s Bill (it was defeated) was introduced in February 2016 to support the development of a national strategy to reduce food waste in Canada, and the National Zero Waste Council continues to take leadership in advocating for the reduction of food waste and Canada’s carbon emissions through its proposed National Food Waste Reduction Strategy. Waste reduction is also being discussed at the provincial/territorial level (e.g., Addressing Food and Organic Waste in Ontario).

Embedded in these proposals are the assumptions that measures are required to promote the donation of edible food waste by the private sector to food and other community organizations and that food waste can be used effectively to address problems of hunger and food insecurity. Both claims are seriously misguided. While corporate food waste definitely should be reduced, it is questionable how much of the edible food currently going into landfills could and would be salvaged if there was more donation of unsaleable products to food banks and other charitable food organizations. Furthermore, food banks — ad hoc, voluntary organizations that collect and redistribute donated foods to those “in need” — cannot address the large and growing problem of household food insecurity