Man and dog sleep in downtown Victoria doorway, 2009. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. poverty plan combines existing spending, housing programs

Target is to lift 140,000 people out of poverty from 2016 level

B.C. Social Development Minister Shane Simpson has released the NDP government’s long-awaited poverty plan, a combination of previously announced increases to income assistance, child care, minimum wage and housing.

The main elements of the plan, branded as “TogetherBC,” include the provincial “child opportunity benefit,” to be extended until children are aged 18 in concert with the federal child benefit program.

Simpson also emphasized the NDP government’s commitment to fund on-reserve housing for Indigenous communities, historically the federal government’s responsibility, and committing nearly $3 billion in gambling revenues for Indigenous communities over 25 years.

Simpson said “systemic racism” is the main reason why Indigenous people are twice as likely to live in poverty as B.C. residents as a whole.

“There will be other initiatives moving forward as well, but this was about establishing that road map moving forward, and that meant capturing the things that make this work,” Simpson said. “It’s a five-year project to get up to the objectives that we have in this plan.”

READ MORE: B.C. increases child tax credit to match Ottawa’s

READ MORE: Seniors, families focus of B.C. rental housing fund

READ MORE: B.C. child care program begins with pilot project

In the provincial budget announced in February, income assistance rates for all categories were increased $50 per month, following a $100-a-month increase soon after the NDP government took office in 2017. That brings the single employable rate to $760 a month.

The budget also includes $15 million over three years for the province’s modular housing plan for homeless people, adding 200 more units to the 2,000 modular living units set up since 2017, primarily in areas with tent camps.

The federal government officially established a “poverty line” in 2018, using the “market basket measure” of the cost of basic goods and service. That measure yields a total of 557,000 people in B.C. living in poverty, nearly 100,000 of them children, Simpson said.

The B.C. plan’s goals, announced last fall, are to reduce overall poverty by 25 per cent and child poverty by one half. Legislation passed last year requires the province to report annually on its progress, starting in 2020.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nelson contributes $5,000 in kind to Rosemont inter-generational park

Natural playground, benches and paved walkways will attract seniors and kids at Art Gibbon Park

Cannabis outlet requests to take over MMJ Canada location

Quadz Cannabis has applied for a licence from the city

Castlegar teens rescue man from river

Will Watt and Shay LaFayette helped save a fisherman from the Kootenay River.

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

PHOTOS: Nelson kids clean up Easter mess

Coloured eggs were strewn across Lakeside Park

VIDEO: Nelson students paint Parachutes for the Planet

The youth-led initiative lobbies governments for climate change action

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read