Take Action: Get your city council on board!

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Take Action: Calling on all BC municipalities!

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition is calling on municipalities across BC to take action in support of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for the province. We are calling for action from individual councils and from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). The annual UBCM Convention is a valuable forum for policy-making. It provides an opportunity for local governments of all sizes and from all areas of the province to come together, share their experiences and take a united position. We want a united position on poverty reduction. We are urging city councils to do two things:

  1. Review and endorse the open letter, “A Call for a BC Poverty Reduction Plan”.
  2. Adopt a resolution to submit to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), before June 30th and in time for this year’s annual convention in Fall 2010, that the UBCM urge the province to adopt a comprehensive strategy.

To this end, the Coalition offers for use by all BC city councils a draft resolution to council and a draft UBCM resolution. Please take these to your council and urge them to take immediate action toward a BC Poverty Reduction Plan!

And congratulations and many thanks to the City of Nelson for their recent motion to put forward a poverty reduction resolution to the UBCM!
Stop The Welfare Cuts:
March for Human Rights, Dignity, and Social Justice for People on Welfare

If you’re in Vancouver join organizers Tuesday, May 25, 2010 and gather at Main and Hastings to protest the cuts. Organized by VANDU (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users) and supported by Carnegie Community Action Project, Raise the Rates, Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice. The latest Provincial Budget made major cuts to welfare including cuts to dietary allowance for people with chronic illness, dental care and the $75 ‘comfort allowance’ (in lieu of rent) for homeless people. Changes also include legislation to deny welfare and disability to an undetermined number of people who have warrants for indictable offenses. People on welfare in BC are already living in extreme poverty because welfare rates are so low. These changes make us poorer, place strain on already struggling families and communities, and further undermine our ability to participate as full and equal members of society.

The Vancouver School Board Wants a Poverty Reduction Plan

The Vancouver School Board is one of our latest endorsers of the open letter, “A Call for a BC Poverty Reduction Plan”, and we’d like to thank the VSB Trustees for their support.

COPE Trustee Jane Bouey says Trustees see the impact of poverty firsthand, “We know that there are students who are homeless themselves or youth that have had to drop out of school and are homeless on the streets.” She says they hope other Boards sign on, too, “I think that the School Board, because we have a direct relationship with families and children in the city, I think that gives a certain degree of credibility to the call.”

Please take the open letter to your local school board and urge them to sign as well.
A Win for a Living Wage

Congrats New West! New Westminster City Council recently voted unanimously to adopt the first municipal Living Wage policy in Canada. They have used the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families Campaign’s definition of the family living wage (meaning, modeled on a family of four with two young children), and applied the policy to both direct staff and contractors. This motion now sets a national standard and precedent for similar policies/bylaws. Hopefully, other cities will follow soon.

The motion was as follows:

“That the City establish a Living Wage Policy that is tied to an hourly rate established each year by the Living Wage for Families Campaign; and,
That the Living Wage policy will apply to both full time and part time employees; and,
That there be no threshold in terms of dollar value of a contract or number of employees; and,
That the policy apply to persons that perform physical work on City premises and properties; and,
That staff bring back information to Council regarding implications of the Living Wage on contracted services.”

The latest calculation for a living wage for Metro Vancouver is $18.17/hour and $17.31 for Victoria. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, First Call, and the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign have produced a guide for communities wanting to replicate their methodology for producing the 2010 Living Family Wage. Download the Calculation Guide and and accompanying spreadsheet at

Thanks so much for your support!

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition