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

Charge laid in Abbotsford motorcycle crash that killed Maple Ridge woman

Megan Kinnee, 19, died in collision on July 13, 2018

Abbotsford couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Abbotsford cartoonist Ernie Poignant, 100, to launch new book

Proceeds from book sales go to Heritage Abbotsford Society

Two new Central Park Village apartment buildings under consideration

New buildings would include 142 new housing units in third phase of project

Surprise demand from city leaves Abbotsford man frustrated

Council to decide whether local man will have to hand over land if he wants to subdivide property

VIDEO: Under the big top in Abbotsford

American Crown Circus and Circo Osorio performed July 11-14

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Most Read