In 2009, New Brunswick became the sixth province to adopt a poverty-reduction strategy, Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan. New Brunswick adopted the Economic and Social Inclusion Act, in 2010, to serve as the legislative framework to implement the plan and they established a new crown corporation, the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation, to set targets and timelines and monitor progress. The corporation is governed by representatives of government, community, business and low-income persons and oversees the formation of community-level networks to create local poverty reduction plans.
In May 2014 ESIC created “Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan, 2014-2019.” Its vision is for all people of New Brunswick to be able to meet their basic needs and to live with dignity, security, and good health, while providing opportunities for employment, personal development and community engagement. The Economic and Social Inclusion Act requires the province to adopt a new plan every five years Unaccomplished goals from 2009 are continuing priorities in 2014. The new plan aims to reduce income poverty by 25% and deep income poverty by 50%. The cost of poverty in New Brunswick is estimated at $2 billion a year.
The 2014 plan focuses on four pillars with 28 priority actions, some of these include:
- Support for community development
- Communication and networking
- Child and youth education
- Adult education, training and preparation to work
- Participation in the labour market
- Business activity
- Food security
- As part of the 2014 poverty reduction plan, the provincial government is investing $3 million in education initiatives for Aboriginal individuals pursuing post-secondary education.
- In April 2014 the provincial and federal governments together contributed $78 million toward affordable housing units, including construction of new units, rental subsidies and maintenance of existing units.
Many of New Brunswick’s poverty reduction strategies are still framed as good policy or social inclusion. The Government of New Brunswick has yet to frame the problem as a human rights violation. Since the launch of the 2014 plan, the Coalition for Pay Equity has been critical of the provincial budget cuts. For example, as of 2014 the provincial government has delivered on less than 50% of its promised increase in budgeted spaces for daycares.