Further Action

Posted on

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

Email the Premier

Dear Premier Clark,
(cc'ed to other political leaders)

We are ashamed of the levels of poverty and homelessness in a society as wealthy as ours. At 10.4 per cent, BC has one of the highest poverty rates in Canada. Yet BC is the only province left without a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.

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.

We have not only a moral duty to eradicate poverty but also a legal obligation under international human rights law, such as the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Canada in 1976. The Covenant recognizes “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.” As such, the existence of poverty in BC -and the lack of decisive government action to eradicate it- is a Human Rights violation.

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. I'm writing to urge your government to launch a provincial poverty reduction plan with legislated targets and timelines.

To effectively combat poverty and inequality in BC, it must be comprehensive and include raising income assistance rates and the minimum wage, as well as providing public goods, such as social housing, universal child care, improved access to training and education and enhanced health care.

The time is now!