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

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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Glenmore Road construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read