Friday, February 1, 2019

Tackling the Root Causes of Poverty


Recently, I’ve had conversations with my constituents in Saanich South about the causes of poverty in a province that’s as lucky as ours. After years of neglect under previous governments, it’s shocking to learn that our province has the second-worst poverty rate in Canada. And even sadder is that 20 percent of those living in poverty are children.

These are more than just numbers – they’re peoples lives.

Unfortunately, for sixteen years life got harder under the previous government. Housing prices skyrocketed, calls to raise welfare rates were ignored, and life became less affordable.

We're doing our level best to change that. Last fall, our New Democrat government passed historic legislation that set bold poverty reduction targets. We’ve taken significant action already to reduce poverty. We’ve announced record funding for affordable housing and childcare, have over 2,000 modular homes under construction, and cut MSP premiums in half.

We know that poverty can negatively impact health and education outcomes, creating a negative feedback loop that can be incredibly difficult to break. But by investing in children and their families, we’re working to break the cycle that keeps people impoverished from one generation to the next. When you invest in children, you lift up their entire family – and their future.

We know there’s more work to do. Our Poverty Reduction Strategy will be released in the coming weeks, and we’ve committed to reducing the overall poverty rate by 25 percent, and the child poverty rate by 50 percent, in the next five years.

For the first time, BC has targets and timelines in place to hold government accountable for reducing poverty. That’s a huge and important step forward. The work has only just begun, but I’m proud of the work our government is doing to create a more equitable province for all British Columbians.