VICTORIA— At a time when many British Columbians are seeing B.C. Liberal policies benefit only the rich, New Democrats are introducing legislation aimed at tackling poverty and creating economic inclusion in the province.
If passed, the Poverty Reduction and Economic Inclusion Act would mandate government to develop a poverty reduction strategy within one year, and legislate specific targets and timelines to reduce poverty and the impact it has on families.
“Record high food bank usage, many seniors unable to afford shelter, and stubbornly high child poverty rates show that our economy is not benefiting many B.C. families,” said Michelle Mungall, B.C. New Democrat spokesperson for social development. “We clearly need legislation that will result in government action and accountability.”
This will be the fifth time since 2011 that B.C. New Democrats have introduced legislation to tackle poverty. Mungall noted that if the B.C. Liberals had passed the act earlier, policies such as the clawback of bus passes from people with disabilities would never have gone forward.
“The purpose of a legislated poverty reduction strategy is to get the government working as a team to tackle poverty,” said Mungall. “A government focused on reducing poverty would know that systemically taking bus passes away from people with disabilities means that they won’t be able to get to their part-time jobs, volunteer and be included in community.”
“B.C. is the only province in the country without a poverty reduction plan. We also have among the worst child poverty in the country year after year,” said Mungall. “We can and we must do better.”
Here is a link to the introduction for the Poverty Reduction and Economic Inclusion Act.