B.C. introduces poverty reduction plan to cut child poverty by 50 per cent

Poverty Reduction Minister said an estimated 678,000 people are living in poverty in B.C.

British Columbia’s government has introduced legislation aimed at reducing the provincial poverty rate by 25 per cent and chopping the child poverty rate in half over the next five years.

Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson says B.C. currently has the highest overall poverty rate in Canada but this strategy would move the province to the third-lowest rate overall.

The New Democrats promised to introduce B.C.’s first poverty reduction plan during the 2017 election campaign.

Simpson says the proposed legislation reflects the findings of a public consultation process where more than 8,500 people attended information meetings and told their stories about the challenges of living in poverty.

READ MORE: More housing, subsidies urged for B.C. poverty reduction plan

Last fall, Simpson said an estimated 678,000 people are living in poverty in B.C., including 118,000 children.

He said those numbers were based on the federal government’s Market Basket Measure indicator which includes the costs of food, clothing, footwear, transportation, housing and other expenses for a family with two children.

The legislation introduced Tuesday requires the government to release its strategy by March 31, 2019.

Simpson says a major reason B.C. has a high poverty rate is because the former Liberal government did not make fighting poverty a priority.

“The government was steadfast in saying we don’t need a poverty plan,” said Simpson after introducing the legislation. “We had a government that said we are going to meet our minimal statutory obligations to those who are vulnerable.”

The Liberal government said repeatedly that its poverty reduction agenda involved helping people find jobs to improve their standard of living rather than introduce a poverty plan in name only.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gitdumden checkpoint blocks access to Unist’ot’en camp

Wet’suwet’en clan members say Morice Lake Forest Service Rd checkpoint in effect until further notice.

Column: Windows can be bad news for birds

Dianne Bersea is a member of the South Okanagan Naturalists Club

23-year-old missing from Prince George since Dec. 1

Kari Baxter has a dreamcatcher tattoo on her neck

Six Fort St. James students awarded scholarships for post-secondary education

Indigenous students awarded to further their studies

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Most Read