BC’s first poverty reduction strategy was launched on March 18. The plan, TogetherBC presents a comprehensive framework to measure, reduce and prevent poverty. The strategy included many positive initiatives that have previously been announced, including the transportation supplement for people with disabilities, the increase in earnings exemptions for people receiving PWD benefits and the $50/month increase to PWD benefit rates.
However, it still leaves significant gaps that will make it difficult to meaningfully address poverty. Most importantly, the poverty reduction strategy did not include any plan to increase social assistance rates. Inclusion BC will continue calling for an increase in PWD benefit rates to reflect the cost of living in this province.
The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has responded to the strategy and has launched an email campaign to encourage people to contact the minister to make the necessary steps to fill the gaps left in this strategy.
The email reads, “recognizing the human rights of people living in the deepest poverty requires increasing income assistance rates far beyond the recent $50/month announcement and linking them to the actual cost of living.”