Poverty reduction on the menu at the Coast March 29

Chilliwack meeting is part of province-wide consultations on poverty strategy

Chilliwack is invited to talk about what can be done to ease poverty.

The Chilliwack meeting on Thursday, March 29 is part of a series of consultations being held all across B.C. since last fall and is the last meeting on the schedule.

The feedback is being collected by an advisory committee with the aim of drafting B.C.’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy.

“It’s now more important than ever that the provincial government hear our collective voice loud and clear highlighting the pillars of a strong, comprehensive poverty reduction plan,” according to the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition.

Coalition members are urging participation in the process arguing that poverty eradication is not only a moral duty, but a human rights obligation. Priorities include lobbying for higher wages, increased assistance, affordable housing, child care and more.

“Our work is grounded on the recognition that there is not only a moral duty to eradicate poverty but also a legal obligation under international human rights law, such as the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Canada in 1976,” said the Coalition online. “The Covenant recognizes ‘the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.’ As such, the existence of poverty in B.C. is a human rights violation, as detailed in our Human Rights Framework.”

Here are the questions guiding the province-wide discussions:

• What does success look like in a BC Poverty Reduction Strategy?

• What do you think are the best ways to reduce poverty in British Columbia?

• What can we do as a province, a community or as individuals to reduce poverty and contribute to economic and social inclusion?

READ MORE: Poverty plan stalled

B.C. is recognized as having the highest poverty rate in Canada, with more than 678,000 people under the poverty line, and 118,000 of those children, so a strategy to reduce poverty and homelessness is considered overdue by the Poverty Reduction Coalition, which includes 400 members from B.C.’s labour, faith, Indigenous and social groups.

“Community pressure has pushed the government to commit to a poverty reduction strategy. Now we need community action to ensure that it’s a strong plan with legislated targets and timelines,” according to the release.

READ MORE: Poverty tour

The community meetings being hosted by the province will run to the end of March, with March 30 as the official deadline for online submissions as well. The last meeting of the series will be held in Chilliwack on Thursday, March 29.

Here is some of the feedback the province has received so far from various community meetings. Submit feedback this way, too.

The Chilliwack Poverty Reduction meeting Thursday, March 29 is at the Coast Hotel Chilliwack – 45920 First Avenue. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The community meeting runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A hot meal will be provided.

Supports are being made available to help Chilliwack residents participate, including transportation, child care, disability and health supports, as well as secure storage for belongings.

Anyone in need of support to make it to the meeting is asked to contact Lara Therrien Boulos at 604 718-8504 or email: ltboulos@sparc.bc.ca


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