Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson announced the members of his Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction as he invited British Columbians to share their ideas to help shape the Province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The 27 people appointed to the minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction bring a broad range of expertise to their roles, and will provide their insights and guidance to the minister as the Poverty Reduction Strategy is developed. The forum members represent multiple sectors, including poverty advocates, people with lived experience, Indigenous people, academics and experts, along with representatives of the labour and business communities.
“Poverty affects too many people in our province. It’s time to change that and today is where we start to forge a new path,” said Simpson. “This group of advisors will support me as we work together to bring effective and permanent solutions that will lift people out of poverty and help them to build a better life.”
The announcement also marks the beginning of the Poverty Reduction Strategy engagement process, along with a website where people can contribute their thoughts on how to reduce poverty. The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC) will also facilitate in-person engagement sessions in up to 20 communities throughout the province. The dates and locations for those sessions will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Poverty is a complex problem and finding solutions is a collective responsibility,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction and co-chair of the advisory forum. “This group of individuals has come together for a common purpose — to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to meet their potential and build a good life for themselves and their families.”
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to champion the voices of British Columbians through my role as co-chair in this advisory committee,” added Dawn Hemingway, chair of the School of Social Work at UNBC, where she is also an associate professor. “We get much further when we work together. I look forward to working with the minister and advisory members in the coming months.”
The advisory forum will support the minister by:
- Identifying causes of poverty and innovative approaches to poverty reduction;
- Recommending priority actions and principles for the Poverty Reduction Strategy that governments and all sectors of society can collectively work on and support;
- Discussing ideas for poverty reduction generated through the consultation and engagement process;
- Offering expertise and advice on how best to implement the Poverty Reduction Strategy in the context of other government priorities;
- Working within communities to encourage full participation in the Poverty Reduction Strategy; and
- Providing advice on legislation, including targets and timelines.
“We want to hear from all British Columbians through the engagement process,” added Simpson. “Their thoughts and ideas will help shape the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the future of our province.”
- B.C. has the highest poverty rate in the country, with 678,000 British Columbians living in poverty according to the Market Basket Measure.
- The Market Basket Measure recognizes that a minimum disposable income of $20,000 a year for singles and $40,000 a year for a family of four is necessary to provide a basic standard of living.
- 118,000 of B.C.’s poor are children in low-income families and about 64,000 are seniors.
- Approximately 40% of those living in poverty are low-income, working adults.
Read the bios of the members of the minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/poverty-reduction-strategy/advisoryforum
Join the conversation at: engage.gov.bc.ca/BCPovertyReduction