A leading anti-poverty advocate has been appointed to the province’s nine-member social assistance review advisory board.
Dr. Grace-Edward Galabuzi has been named to the panel that will advise the Ontario government on a long-awaited review of its welfare system. The review, expected to be completed by the end of 2010, was promised a year ago as part of the province’s poverty reduction strategy.
“The next few months will be critical as this group works to advise the minister (Madeleine Meilleur) on the terms of reference and the next steps forward to transform social assistance in Ontario,” says Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change coordinator Michael Kerr.
Galabuzi is an academic partner of the Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change that works to build community-based capacity for racial equity and racial justice and address the growing racialization of poverty.
An associate professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University and former research associate at Toronto’s Centre for Social Justice, Galabuzi obtained his Doctorate, Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from York University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Winnipeg.
His interests include the racialization of the Canadian labour market, social exclusion and the social economic status of racialized groups in Canada.
Galabuzi’s breadth of knowledge and experience in academic and community spheres will be extremely useful to the panel that will help the government finalize the scope of the review.
“Poverty, understood in a traditional sense, is really about material and social depravation which is a very narrow way of defining the space of poverty,” says Galabuzi. “The space of poverty is really multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. Poor people are often in neighbourhoods where there are social deficits because they don’t have the capacity to leverage government, program or quality resources.”
Galabuzi authored the 2001 report, Canada’s Creeping Economic Apartheid, on the economic conditions of racialized groups in Canada and worked in the provincial New Democratic Party (NDP) government as a special assistant to the premier. He was also employed in the Ontario public sector as a senior policy analyst on justice issues and has been involved in other community campaigns around social justice issues, including anti-racism and police reform.