Tuesday, May 6, 2014
A "Poor" Plan
proposes to tackle poverty in BC
Released by Trish Garner, BC Poverty
in the BC Legislature, the Official Opposition (MLA Michelle Mungall)
introduced a private member’s Bill proposing a BC Poverty Reduction
and Economic Inclusion Act.
The Act, were it to be
enacted, would see the government develop a comprehensive poverty
reduction strategy within one year, and legislate specific targets
and timelines to reduce the breadth and depth of poverty.
The BC Poverty
Reduction Coalition (BCPRC) welcomes this Bill, as British Columbia
has had the highest poverty rate in Canada for the last 13 years,
yet is now one of only two provinces left without a poverty
Importantly, the proposed Act includes extensive community
consultation, including with those living in poverty, and also
outlines how a government should be held accountable for progress.
It commits to embed targets in legislation, to appoint a lead
Minister, to have a cabinet committee to oversee the strategy
co-chaired by the Premier, to have an outside advisory committee to
hold the government to account, and to annual reporting to monitor
“After years of building support throughout the province for a
poverty reduction plan for BC, it is gratifying to see the
Opposition signal a strong commitment” says Seth Klein, Director of
the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC Office and co-chair
of the BCPRC.
“However, I hope to hear more from the Opposition about what their
first steps would be, as we know the urgency of initial actions and
these don’t need to wait for the development of a full strategy,
such as raising inadequate welfare rates that have been frozen since
Ted Bruce of the Public Health Association of BC and co-chair of the
BCPRC notes the significance of the guiding principles of the Act to
protect human rights, address the social and economic costs of
poverty, and address the social determinants of health.
“We know that the costs of health care alone in relation to poverty
are 1.2 billion dollars per year. Tackling poverty upfront is the
single biggest factor in improving health outcomes for everyone, not
just those living in poverty.”
The BCPRC urges all parties to support the Act, as has happened in
other provinces across Canada. Now is the time for bi-partisan
collaboration and action in addressing the root causes of poverty.
information about the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, visit
Copyright (c) 2009-2014 The Valley Voice