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Greetings friends,

Thanks so much for your continued support!

1. A New Premier for BC: The Time is Now for a Plan
The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has extended our congratulations to Christy Clark on her new position as BC’s Premier. We were particularly encouraged by her commitment in her victory speech to fighting poverty, and more recently by her action on minimum wage. We have requested a meeting with her to discuss the development of a poverty reduction plan for British Columbia and how our call might strengthen her Families First platform.

This week, Adrienne Montani of First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and Seth Klein of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reinforced our call to Christy Clark with an oped in The Vancouver Sun: a “Memo to the New Premier” about how to put families first. You can find it at: <http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/Here+what+putting+family+first+entails/4475751/story.html>

2. New Living Wage Numbers
Also this week, the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families Campaign, the CCPA, and First Call, released the 2011 Metro Vancouver Living Wage update.

In 2008, the CCPA, First Call and Victoria’s Community Council published the inaugural report Working for a Living Wage. That report calculated that the living family wage was $16.74/hour in Metro Vancouver, and $16.39/hour in Metro Victoria. Since then, however, family costs have continued to rise and changes have occurred to government taxes and transfers.  A new report reveals the 2011 living wage calculations  –– now $18.81/hour for Metro Vancouver and $18.03/hour in Metro Victoria.

You can find the update, as well as the calculation guide and spreadsheet for other communities wanting to replicate the methodology at: <http://www.policyalternatives.ca/livingwage2011>

3. And for more information from The Living Wage for Families Campaign: Two Upcoming Forums in Vancouver and Surrey!
The Living Wage for Families Campaign is hosting two public forums on Living Wages and Child Poverty in Vancouver and Surrey:

Vancouver
Monday April 11 • 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Alice McKay Room – Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Moderated by Dr. Clyde Hertzman

Surrey
Tuesday April 12th• 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Theatre 2600, SFU Surrey
250 – 13450 – 102 Avenue, Surrey
Moderated by: To be confirmed

At these forums you will have the opportunity to find out more about what a living wage means and how it can benefit parents and children trying to live on low wages. You will hear about how New Westminster passed the first Living Wage Policy in Canada in 2010. You will hear about businesses that have committed to pay all their direct and indirect staff a living wage. You will also hear from our SPECIAL GUEST, DEBORAH LITTMAN of LONDON CITIZENS (London, UK). London, UK has had a Living Wage policy for over 5 years and next year’s Summer Olympics in London will be the first Living Wage Olympics!

Whether you are a service provider, a member of a faith group, a business owner, an immigrant, a low wage parent or an elected official we would love you to come along to join the dialogue. And please tell your friends and colleagues by circulating the forum fliers as far and wide as you can (download the Vancouver <http://firstcallbc.org/pdfs/lw/vancouver%20forum.pdf> and Surrey <http://firstcallbc.org/pdfs/lw/surrey%20forum.pdf> flyer). Fliers translated into Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese will be available early next week at <http://www.livingwageforfamilies.ca/> .

4. Federal Budget News
As of today’s federal budget it looks like a federal election might be upon us. Let’s hope poverty reduction figures prominently!

Thanks again. We’ll keep you posted about exciting poverty reduction events around the province and important calls to action.

Sincerely,

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition