Members of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition across the province are responding to TogetherBC, the government’s poverty reduction strategy. The BC Health Coalition wrote a great letter to Minister Shane Simpson congratulating him on launching the first-ever poverty reduction plan for BC. They write that:
Health research clearly shows that the social determinants of health (SDOH) are a crucial component of good health. The BC Health Coalition strongly supports funding in social supports that address SDOH.
While the poverty reduction plan TogetherBC is a promising first step in reducing poverty in BC, your report also includes priorities that emerged in the province-wide consultation that have not yet been met in TogetherBC. These priorities include “better access to good food for families, enhanced investment in affordable transportation, and improved income security, including assistance rates.” Most notably, income assistance rates must be increased beyond the recent $50 per month increase in order to help those living in the deepest poverty.
We also support increased investments to promote food security, improve child care affordability, increase access to education, and improve transportation affordability. The BC Health Coalition has endorsed the #AllOnBoard campaign to offer free transit to children and youth and a sliding scale transit pass based on income. Additionally, one of the most crucial investments that the government can make is to increase housing affordability as this is such a large component of household expenses. Ensuring that housing is targeted to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people in BC is crucial for eliminating poverty in BC.