The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies was one of a select group of organizations invited to make a presentation to the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry hearings on rural poverty. This Commentary, Moving On Up is based on the presentation made by AIMS acting President Charles Cirtwill.

Cirtwill explains that this country’s labour shortage is a poor worker’s best friend. He says rural communities do face challenges, but also need to accept change. Cirtwill says transition is happening and the best that governments can do is step out of the way and resist the urge to help so much.

“We have fewer people. Those people are older, and overall they are doing less work. In rural communities you can generally add they are making less money and therefore generating less new wealth.” he told the Senators.

The declining and ageing population is creating a labour shortage across the country and Cirtwill says that’s actually good news. 

“This demographic change will improve the opportunities for the people who have been the least engaged, who have received the least benefit from our post-war economic boom, and those who have been the last to whom we have collectively turned our minds. Those are the people for whom the next 20 years represent a staggering opportunity to reshape their lives.”

He concludes, “The labour shortage will provide an opportunity for those in poverty, whether rural or urban, to move out, to transition to prosperity. The help government can provide is to eliminate the barriers that are placed in front of rural entrepreneurs, the working poor, immigrants, and our trades people. Provide incentives to make it better to work than to collect EI or other assistance. Those incentives include a fairer tax regime and programmes that will enable people to continue to collect assistance from government programmes while transitioning to full time jobs or contributing to their own welfare via part-time work.”

To read the complete Commentary click here