We have one of the highest poverty rates in Canada, yet we are now the only province left with no poverty reduction plan!
Why does BC need a plan?
- Despite being one of the wealthiest provinces in the country, 14.8% of the population, that’s 678,000 British Columbians, live in poverty using the Market Basket Measure.
- BC’s child poverty rate is 1 in 5 (more in First Call’s Child Poverty Report Card)
- Most poor people are working, and about a third of BC’s poor children live in families where at least one parent has a full-time job
- In March 2016, over 100,000 people in BC used food banks, and almost a third of them were children.
- Poverty reduction is a sound investment for our province.
BC is the only province that has not made a commitment to creating a poverty reduction strategy, despite a vocal nongovernmental sector that has been calling for change for a long time. British Columbia has high income inequality, low minimum wages and social assistance supports, and long waitlists for childcare and health services. The housing market is becoming increasingly more expensive and unattainable for people living in poverty. Something needs to be done.
The approximate cost of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in British Columbia per year is $3-4 billion dollars while the approximate annual cost of doing nothing is $8-9 billion. Ending poverty in British Columbia would require upfront investment and a strong commitment to addressing the various manifestations of poverty.