Strategy exceeded provincial targets, says Nicholas Simons, MP for Powell River-Sunshine Coast
The increase in supports and services in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic has helped some of BC’s most vulnerable people, as highlighted in the 2020 Provincial Poverty Reduction Annual Report.
Featured in October 4, TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy 2020 Annual Report, details intergovernmental initiatives aimed at reducing poverty and addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations. According to a press release, TogetherBC is the province’s premier poverty reduction strategy and aims to reduce British Columbia’s overall poverty rate by 25% and child poverty rate by 50% by 2024 .
“After the first year of implementing our poverty reduction strategy, we have been able to exceed our targets,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and Member of Parliament for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “At the same time, it is important that we recognize that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be fully understood for some time, but it is clear that our intergovernmental approach to better connect people to the services they need , and building a culture of empathy and understanding has worked well.
The statement said that to support people throughout the first year of the pandemic, the government introduced a series of supports and services, including: further increasing the minimum wage for low-income people; rent freeze and stop evictions; provide emergency funding for child care providers; provide funding for emergency food bank delivery options; provide a temporary supplement in the event of a COVID-19 crisis to people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors, and to allow people on income or disability assistance to keep federal and provincial COVID-19 support payments without being penalized; working with local governments to move hundreds of people living in settlements in Vancouver and Victoria to safe indoor housing; and improving Internet access in rural and indigenous communities.
The release says that, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data from 2019, British Columbia has met its targets by reducing the overall poverty rate by 29.4% and the child poverty rate by 57.6% compared to to 2016.
While the 2020 Annual Report describes the province’s efforts to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable and marginalized populations in British Columbia, it does not fully reflect the effects of the pandemic on the poverty in British Columbia, which will be addressed in the future. reports, the statement said.