Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


October 2, 2018

Shane Introduces Historic Poverty Reduction Legislation

BILL 39 — POVERTY REDUCTION 
STRATEGY ACT

Hon. S. Simpson presented a message from Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Poverty Reduction Strategy Act.

Hon. S. Simpson: I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time now.

I’m pleased to introduce the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. This bill will address the critical issues of poverty in our province and require the development of a poverty reduction plan to achieve legislated targets and timelines for poverty reduction in B.C. This work relates to our shared commitment to reduce poverty with the B.C. Green Party, reflected in the confidence and supply agreement between the B.C. New Democratic caucus and the B.C. Green caucus.

B.C. has the second-worst poverty reduction outcomes in the country, according to the statistics available. In 2016, there were 557,000 people living in poverty, including 99,000 children. This means that 12 percent of our population is living in poverty. Despite these numbers, B.C. is currently the only province without a poverty reduction strategy.

The proposed legislation will require B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy to be released by March 31, 2019, and then reviewed and updated at least every five years. The bill will ensure that provincial poverty reduction efforts, for years to come, are approached in a way that is meaningful, effective and based on the experiences of people living in poverty.

The legislation ensures accountability for government to make real progress by setting ambitious but achievable targets and timelines within the legislation and requiring annual reporting to the Legislative Assembly and the public.

At the core of the bill are targets for reducing the poverty rate by 25 percent overall and by 50 percent for people under the age of 18 over the next five years. This will be using Canada’s official poverty line.

To achieve these targets, the legislation outlines key areas of focus for the strategy, including improving the affordability of goods, services and housing; opportunities for people to move out of poverty; and the inclusion of persons living in poverty in community life.

The proposed legislation supports government’s commitment to reconciliation by requiring the strategy to reflect the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Our government’s poverty reduction efforts are a cross-government commitment, as we know that people living in poverty are feeling a range of challenges that require action. For this reason, the bill outlines key action areas for the strategy, including housing, education, employment, income support and supports for families, children and youth.

Hon. S. Simpson: I move the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill 39, Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

events
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm