Poverty Impact Analysis (PIA) and Governmental Action: «Made in Québec» …. Again?
20 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 1, 2009
The present paper pays attention to the institutional aspects of the Québec Act to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion (QACPSE). Amongst other considerations, it analyses section 20 of the Act which permits any minister who considers that a legislative or regulatory initiative may impact on poverty to proceed with a poverty impact analysis (PIA), according to predefined indicators. Section (1) of the paper introduces the general context and the consequences of the institutionalisation of the Act. It concludes by raising the point that the innovative «programmatic» framework that is QACPSE as well as the creation of many institutions aimed at monitoring poverty in Québec largely answer the requests and recommendations addressed to Canada by the UN Experts Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights when examining successive implementation reports presented by the Government of Canada on behalf of itself and provincial and territorial governments. Section (2) situates specifically the PIA «clause» provided for by QACPSE in the context of the ongoing process of regulation simplification which is happening in Québec; we further propose an interpretation of PIA which echoes theories of New Public Management in the comparative context of OECD countries; a final Section (3) quickly surveys the arrival of the measurement revolution in the land of poverty and considers the potential for a new generation of indicators: the human rights indicators. Finally we conclude that, in fact, the QACPSE is a convincing expression of a structural shift in the understanding of the mission of the State, and that such a shift deeply challenges both the theory and the practice of human rights and namely of economic and social rights.
Keywords: income security, poverty, human rights, poverty impact assessment
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