OPINION: Getting to work to lift people out of poverty



B.C. has the highest poverty rate in the country. Right now, 678,000 people in B.C. are living in poverty, of those people 118,000 are children in low-income families, and about 64,000 are seniors.

Too many people are struggling to make ends meet, earn a decent wage, or find affordable housing. Too many families and children are suffering without basic necessities, and too many seniors are unable to live out their remaining years in dignity.

In a province as prosperous as ours, poverty and inequality on this scale should never be tolerated, but for years the B.C. Liberal government refused to take action. The wealthy and well connected came first, while people paid the price.

We’re getting to work to fix the problems caused by years of neglect, to lift people out of poverty, and make life better and more affordable for people across B.C.

Despite persistently high rates of poverty, under the previous government B.C. remained the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction strategy.

While the cost of living skyrocketed income assistance rates were frozen for 10 years. One of the first steps we took as government was to provide immediate relief to the most vulnerable by raising income assistance and disability rates by $100 per month, but there is much more to do.

We committed to delivering a government that works for people, to tackle poverty in B.C. and make life more affordable. As part of that, this week, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Shane Simpson, announced our plan to develop a comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy for B.C.

Minister Simpson named experts who will participate in an Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction and invited people across B.C. to join in creating B.C.’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The advisors bring a diversity of experience and backgrounds to the table, and represent the perspectives of people with lived experience, poverty advocates, Indigenous peoples, academics and experts, and the labour and business communities. They will work together with the government to identify underlying causes of poverty and recommend effective solutions.

The announcement also marks the beginning of the Poverty Reduction Strategy engagement process, along with a website where people across B.C. can contribute their thoughts on how to reduce poverty.

To share your experience, ideas, and input to help shape the Poverty Reduction Strategy, go to: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction/.

We’re listening to you, and taking action to make life better for you and your family. And in the weeks and months ahead, we’ll do even more to make life more affordable, improve the services people count on, and create good jobs for people throughout B.C.

Together, we can help lift people out of poverty, build a better life and a better B.C.



  1. Thank you for being proactive an for the positive steps that your administration has taken. When we colonized BC, one of the biggest differences between settler and indigenous society was monetization, in particular, assigning a monetary value and individual ownership of land. With the recent archaeological discovery of Indigeneous civilization 10 thousand years older than the ancient pyramids right here on Vancouver Island, it puts our 300 year colonial history into perspective. Due to biodiversity, Indigenous peoples on our coast worked only 7 weeks out of the year in order to store enough supplies for the winter. The world is smaller now and we are part of a global economy now. We are unlikely to drop our smart phones and pick up hunting and gathering but we need to examine our approach in the last few hundred years. “Ecosystems suatain societies that create economies. It does not work the other way around.” Measuring our prosperity with guages such as GDP are unsustsinable. I recently learned of the “Happy Planet Index”(.org)
    Our present economic system drives unsustainable resource extraction and land use. One of the most common wealth generating tools for British Colombians is to buy land leverage it or simply wait for it to appreciate. Our fractional reserve banking system allows banks to create money when clients take out mortgages. We are moving towards a fiat currency that is not backed by anthing tangeable like gold. It is inflationary in nature. “Indians” cannot participate in land ownership and wealth generation on reserves under the Indian Act. So we now have a system where biodiversity is at an all time low. We promised Douglas Treaty nations that they could hunt “unnocupied lands” and fish as formerly. We now have a real estate market that is so expensive and out of touch with reality that there are hardly any reasonably priced places to live. We have made descendants of keepers of the land for the last 15000 years “homeless”. My settler ancestors used to survive on single income. We are supposed to be making progress. “Corporatocracy” as people call it is also a huge contributing factor in equality and I thank you for restoring our Provincial democracy.
    I urge you to consider the basic income or guranteed liveable income. It streamlines social programs and reduces costs, in addition to poverty reduction.
    I also urge you to consider monetary reform by advocating for the adoption of “The New Social Contract” that Canadian Bank Reformers propose.


  2. So thankful to be rid of crusty Clark! Now to have a government in to looking into poverty gives us hope! My husband an I are on disability….we are allowed to earn 12,000 $ in a yr…so my husband tried to work a partime job to help us get by…when his dr told him he could no longer work at all disability made him apply for ei..they took all his ei of our check…says he didn’t work for that…but yes he did!!!! Them deducting that from our check was a hardship on us an we are no further ahead from him trying to better our life…during this terrible time my son passed unexpectedly an we got no help for expenses incurred…this has been the hardest time of my life to say the least!! I hope an pray our new government will change these hardshhips!!!

  3. I would like to be on the advisory panel. I have become an expert in poverty, having experienced it myself.

  4. govt need to experience poverty ya took my ei too. widows pension ect ect ect all this was not a good out come grrrr

  5. Premier John Horgan
    I would love to have a sit down to help with the homeless.And other issues we are having.
    I am advocate and I am working in New West. I am also having meeting with Peter Jullian
    Thank you
    Karen Goatham

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