April 24th, 2024

B.C. introduces legislation to reduce poverty rate by 60 per cent over next decade

By The Canadian Press on March 5, 2024.

Sheila Malcolmson looks on during a news conference in Nanaimo, B.C., Wednesday, April 12, 2023. British Columbia's government says it is setting new 10-year targets to reduce poverty in the province, including focusing on cutting child and senior poverty rates. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s government says it is setting 10-year targets to substantially reduce poverty in the province, with a focus on lifting children and seniors above the poverty line.

Sheila Malcolmson, social development and poverty reduction minister, says legislation introduced today changes three laws to set higher targets to cut poverty, ease employment requirements for people on income and disability assistance and provide more supports.

She says the legislation commits B.C. to cut overall poverty by 60 per cent over the next decade, including reducing child poverty by 75 per cent, and for the first time committing to cutting seniors’ poverty by 50 per cent.

Malcolmson says the province has exceeded its original poverty reduction goals set in 2018 to reduce the overall poverty rate in B.C. by 25 per cent and child poverty by 50 per cent.

The government’s most recent report on poverty reduction says that since 2021 B.C.’s total poverty rate dropped by 45 per cent from 2016 levels and child poverty is down by 54.6 per cent.

But the report says in 2021 there were still 447,000 people in poverty, including 70,000 children.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2024.

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