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Province makes first step towards Poverty Reduction Strategy

B.C. is the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction strategy despite having the second-worst rate of poverty.

The province has introduced legislation to start to tackle the issue.

Adrienne Montani, provincial co-ordinator, with First Call said The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act will define the scope of the strategy and sets poverty reduction targets and timelines that the government must meet.

“They’ve said we are going to reduce poverty by 25 per cent among everyone and 50 per cent among children, so they’ve got two different targets in there. And, this must be done by the day that we have in 2024 so it’s over 5 years that we will hit these targets, but it doesn’t say how they are going to do it.”

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How they are going to do it, will come early in the new year.

Montani said her organization hopes to have some input into that document and the provincial budget will be one to watch because that will determine how much money the province is willing to spend on the strategy.

Montani said one of the ways they could reduce poverty is by making changes to the Early Childhood Tax Credit which currently sits at 660 dollars per year.

“We’ve asked the Finance Department to look at making it a more robust credit that matches other provinces and goes all the way until a kid turns 18, and double the amount, at least, to match Ontario’s.”

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Montani said the government has a half-baked cake when it comes to making improvements to childcare and more needs to be done, especially when it comes to recruitment and retention of Early Childhood Educators.

She said there also needs to be improvements in disability rates and increases in shelter rates.

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