Wednesday, April 26, 2017 


Pov News

Jobs, Jobs, What Jobs?

Minimum wage not enough says anti-poverty group

Trish Garner, BCPRC


an Meades, provincial coordinator for the Transition House Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be in B.C. this week with events in Vancouver, Kamloops and online (details below) to highlight the success of Newfoundland and Labrador’s poverty reduction strategy.

Having shared one of the worst poverty rates in Canada with British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador has reduced its poverty rate significantly through its provincial poverty reduction plan, from 17 per cent to as low as 6 per cent by some measures. In contrast, B.C. still has one of the highest poverty rates at 13 per cent and is now the only province without a poverty reduction plan.

“Reducing poverty saves money overall — emergency rooms are used less often, as is the justice system,” says Meades. Iglika Ivanova from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives agrees and will join Meades at the main public event on April 25th to highlight the cost of poverty in B.C. According to her research, poverty currently costs B.C. approximately 8-9 billion dollars per year while a comprehensive poverty reduction plan would cost less than half that at 3-4 billion dollars.

“But,” as Meades says, “it shouldn't even be a question of expenses at all. These are your neighbours. These are people that you live next door to, that you walk past every day when you go to buy a cup of coffee, that are rough sleeping and are finding it hard to make ends meet, and they need support of their government. If that's not government's job, I just don't know what is."

That’s the message that Meades will bring to city staff, community advocates and the general public between April 24 and 27, 2017 for a four-day speaker series in British Columbia. Value BC: Justice for All is organized by the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and co-sponsors listed below.

Noting that the B.C. government relies on their Jobs Plan to tackle poverty, Meades says, “a jobs-based approach isn't enough, especially in a province like BC where the minimum wage is less than $11. Governments need to address barriers to employment such as access to childcare, health care and education, and inadequate income assistance rates. Newfoundland and Labrador’s poverty reduction plan has made all the difference you can imagine.”

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, which includes almost 400 organizations across the province, hopes that the events will raise awareness about the impacts of poverty, and highlight the need for a provincial poverty reduction plan to ensure justice for all British Columbians.

Facts on poverty in B.C. and N.L.
• B.C. is the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan
• 13.2% of British Columbians live in poverty, almost 600,000 people
• Newfoundland and Labrador reduced its poverty rate from 17% to 6% through its poverty reduction strategy
• Income assistance rates for individuals in B.C. have been frozen at $610 per month for the last decade
• The N.L. government raised its income assistance rates to the poverty line and reduced food insecurity by 50%
• 500,000 B.C. workers earn poverty wages, less than $15 per hour
• One in five children in B.C. live in poverty
• Failing to address poverty costs B.C. an estimated $8-9 billion per year in costs like health care, policing, and lost economic opportunities
• A poverty reduction plan includes improvements to wages, welfare, housing, childcare, education, health and reducing barriers for members of equity seeking groups.

This is the third and final speaker in the Value BC: Equality, Justice and Prosperity for All event series, featuring high-profile speakers in January, March and April to raise awareness and generate productive conversations about our collective issues and responsibilities in the lead up to the provincial election on May 9, 2017.


Thursday, April 27, 3-4pm
Province-wide Webinar: Value BC: Justice for All
Presenters: Dan Meades, Transition House Association of NL; Iglika Ivanova, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Available for media across the province.


Register here.


For more information, visit


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