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Further Action

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Thank you! Now take further action to make a difference.

Ask for a strong Poverty Reduction Plan for BC

Dear Mr. Horgan, Mr. Weaver, and Ms. Clark,

We are ashamed of the levels of poverty, inequality and homelessness in a society as wealthy as ours. Almost 1 in 7 British Columbians live in poverty, now the highest poverty rate in Canada. Yet BC has been the only province without a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for many years!

So we thank you for your commitment to a poverty reduction plan for British Columbia with legislated targets and timelines, and urge you to prioritize this commitment as you move forward. You have an opportunity before you to take strong and meaningful action on this issue.

Success will be best achieved through an all-government, cross-ministry approach, so we encourage you to situate the poverty reduction strategy within a Poverty Reduction Secretariat, operating under a deputy minister in the Premier’s office.

A human rights foundation is critical and ensures meaningful inclusion of people in poverty at every stage of the poverty reduction strategy.

In order to tackle the depth of poverty in BC, the priority action needed is increasing income assistance rates to $1500 (in line with Statistics Canada’s Market Basket Measure, which includes “a nutritious diet, clothing and footwear, shelter, transportation, and other necessary goods and services (such as personal care items or household supplies)”). We hope to see your commitment on this urgent issue.

We know that all of us pay for poverty. We pay in increased health care costs. We pay in higher crime. We pay in higher demand for community, social and charitable services. And we pay in lack of school readiness, reduced school success and in lower economic productivity. People who are poor get sick more and die earlier, and poor children may not reach their full physical and social developmental potential.

There is a false economy in failing to act boldly. Paying for the negative effects of poverty costs much more than dealing with it directly. Let’s stop mopping up the floor and fix the hole in the roof.

This is a critical issue in communities throughout the province. Now is the time for collaboration and action in addressing the root causes of poverty.

Sincerely,

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