Statement on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

VICTORIA, BC-Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction, have issued the following statement in recognition of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Oct. 17, 2019:

“Today is the United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Since 1993, the day has recognized the need to eradicate poverty worldwide. This year, its focus is ‘Acting together to empower children, families and communities to end poverty.’

“No one should grow up in poverty. Every child has the right to access opportunities to live, learn and grow into adulthood without facing additional challenges of poverty. By better supporting families, we can break the cycle of poverty in B.C.

“Addressing poverty is a challenging and complex issue. We know that approximately 40% of the people living in poverty in British Columbia are working poor. They are people who have a paycheque coming into the house, but they cannot make ends meet.

“In addition to challenges around affordability, people living in poverty struggle with feeling isolated from their communities and not being able to fully participate in our society. They should not have to face the alienation that comes with the stigma of poverty.

“We must do better, which is why earlier this year the Province released TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The strategy, first of its kind in the province, is our path to reducing child poverty by at least 50% and overall poverty by 25% by 2024. When we create better opportunities in key areas, such as affordable housing and child care, these changes will help the people and families who need it the most.

“TogetherBC also recognizes that we must act together. Poverty reduction requires the strength of partnerships between governments, organizations, businesses, communities and individuals. It must be a collective effort informed by the voices of those who have experienced poverty – and supported by those who can help create change.”

Addressing poverty is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.