Advocates encouraged by B.C. poverty reduction strategy
Strategy expected to be released next year, will have help from 27 advisers
B.C. is the last province to come up with a poverty reduction strategy and advocates are hopeful it will produce results.
On Monday, Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson made the announcement.
"It was a strong commitment in our platform that we would move forward with a poverty reduction strategy in British Columbia," said Simpson.
Hundreds of thousands in poverty
The strategy will be unveiled in 2018 with help from 27 advisers with various experience in poverty activism.
Advocates have long called for a plan to help the nearly 700,000 people who currently live in poverty in B.C. — including more than 120,000 children.
Fulfilling industry recommendation
First Call, a B.C. Child and Youth advocacy coalition releases report cards on the state of child poverty in B.C. annually. Part of its recommendations has been the creation of a poverty reduction strategy.
"Our chief recommendation was 'where is the plan?' You can't achieve goals if you don't set them," said Adrienne Montani, First Call's provincial coordinator. "We remain optimistic that actions will follow their intentions."
Though Montani is hopeful for change, she is pushing the provincial government to implement some changes before the formal strategy is released. She says child care continues to be too expensive in B.C.
"It's a huge expense for families. Its affecting their decisions even to have children let alone to work," said Montani. "If you can't work, especially if you're a single parent, you're hooped if you can't get quality child care ... we're looking for that system that says 'families are entitled to this ... public service that serves children well.'"