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MEDIA RELEASE: Poverty Free Action Team delivers gift of better policy to end poverty to Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

(Vancouver) As people across British Columbia are feeling the charitable spirit this December, a group of volunteers from the Poverty Free Action Team today made a special delivery to the Vancouver Hastings constituency office of  Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

“Around this time of year, Canadians are encouraged to donate to support people living in poverty,” says Viveca Ellis, Interim Community Organizer at the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition “The best gift that would truly keep on giving is sustainable support in the form of comprehensive policy change and significantly increased investments through TogetherBC that will improve people’s lives year-round and help lift them out of poverty.”

The Poverty Free Action Team delivered a gift box of items that represent the policy items they hope will be included as the province rolls out its TogetherBC poverty reduction strategy. The box contained

  • A cutout shape of the province representing Indigenous rights to the land and signifying the importance of affirming these rights in all aspects of TogetherBC
  • A basket representing the need for social assistance rates to reach at least the Market Basket Measure within 2 years.
  • Coins representing the need to accelerate minimum wage increases to meet the cost of living for all workers, with no exemptions, and to index it to the cost of living.
  • A stocking of medical supplies, representing the need for team-based community health centres as well as universal pharmacare, dental care and optical care.
  • A caring elf, representing the need to entrench a $10 a day Child Care Plan and to build new publicly owned child care facilities.
  • A giant key, representing the need for vacancy control alongside the need to build 10,000 units/a year of social and co-op housing including welfare-rate housing.
  • A “debt free” graduation cap, representing the need to increase the availability of post-secondary grants for low-income students along the way to free post-secondary education.
  • A compass card, representing the call for free transit for children and youth and a sliding-scale transit pass for adults for all transit systems in BC including TransLink.

“While we acknowledge the generosity of British Columbians,” Ellis explains, “the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition upholds a ‘rights not rescue’ approach to ending poverty rather than a dependency on a charitable response which only slaps a band-aid on poverty.”

The Poverty Free Action Team (PFAT) is a volunteer driven initiative with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. The PFAT engages a diverse range of community members to develop actions and projects that animate the calls of the BCPRC in creative, engaging and unique ways that grab the public’s attention.

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To arrange interviews, contact:
Viveca Ellis, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition (BCPRC)
viveca@bcpovertyreduction.ca  / 604-366-1008