New legislation sets poverty reduction targets and timelines in B.C.

New legislation sets poverty reduction targets and timelines in B.C.

Photo courtesy CBC.

Photo courtesy CBC.

The provincial government has introduced legislation which aims to bring thousands of British Columbians out of poverty in the next five years.

The goal of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, if approved, is to commit the government to reduce the overall poverty rate in B.C. by 25 per cent and the child poverty rate in half over that timeline.

The province says the scope of the strategy will be released early next year.

The legislation is based on input from more than 8,500 people during an engagement process on poverty from Nov. 2017 to March 2018.

If passed, the legislation will also establish an independent advisory committee to advise the social development and poverty reduction ministry on matters related to reduction and prevention and require government to annually report on its progress.

The province would also be required to release its first poverty reduction strategy by March 31, 2019, and focus on key issues including housing, education, employment, income supports and social inclusion.

The government says B.C. is the only province that does not have a poverty reduction strategy, despite having the second-worst poverty rate in the country.

According to the latest provincial statistics, about 557,000 people were living in poverty in B.C. in 2016, including 99,000 children.


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