Jennifer Rice and Shane Simpson spoke at a poverty discussion in Prince Rupert on Jan. 11 (Keili Bartlett / The Northern View)

Province seeks public opinion on poverty

The Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is travelling across B.C.

More than 150 people gathered to hear and share experiences with the provincial government about poverty in Prince Rupert.

The North Coast city was the first of 22 stops for 2018 for poverty discussions held across the province. On Jan. 11, MLA Jennifer Rice introduced Shane Simpson, the minister of social development and poverty reduction, to the crowd at the Nisga’a Hall.

The community meetings have been set up by the ministry and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC) to hear directly from affected people for a poverty reduction strategy.

“B.C. is the only province in Canada that doesn’t have a [poverty reduction] strategy, and we’re changing that,” Shane Simpson said.

“In British Columbia, we have about 678,000 people living in poverty. That’s 15 per cent of the population of the province. Here in Prince Rupert, the numbers are even tougher,” Simpson said. “One in five kids are poor. If you’re disabled or Indigenous, you’re twice as likely to be poor than anybody else. The challenge is over 40 per cent of the people who are living poor in this province have a full-time pay cheque coming into the house. They are the working poor.”

READ AND WATCH: City to receive 44 units for homeless, and the search for an emergency shelter

He said the process will take time as the ministry determines what issues take priority and how best to address the feedback they receive. Some issues Simpson said they’ve heard include affordable housing.

In a Facebook post the day after the discussion, MLA Jennifer Rice wrote that some issues raised included tenancy issues, mental health support, food security, childcare, transportation, community support and systemic racism and multi-generational poverty.

“Our commitment is that everybody in this province has value, and everybody should be heard and people living poor certainly have a right to be heard in solving the challenges that they face every day.”

Lara Therrien Boulos, one of the SPARC researchers hired by the ministry, said, “These meetings are really centred on creating safe environments for people to share their ideas, perhaps share stories. We understand there are some regional differences and experiences are going to be different across the board.

“I think that it’s really important for people to have a chance to be heard in a meaningful way, to feel supported in sharing their stories and to know that this is going to inform hopefully action moving forward that will change these experiences for the better and lift people out of poverty,” Therrien Boulos said.

The next two public poverty discussions in Northern B.C. will be in Terrace and Smithers on Jan. 12 and 13.

READ MORE: Tents raised outside city hall to draw attention to homelessness



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A tent city was set up outside Prince Rupert City Hall two weeks ago. The tents were a visual reminder for residents just how prevalent homelessness is in the city. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Just Posted

Chief Wah Tah K’eght leaves a legacy

Chief Wah Tah K’eght (Henry Alfred) from Witset was reported to have passed away on Sunday morning.

Great news for Indigenous youth program in BC

The federal government came through with over $1 million in funding for Indigenous youth program

Any style, any medium, any artist

The 6x6 Smithers Art Gallery fundraiser is taking work from artists of all ages over the next month.

RCMP confirm death of Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CMTN unveils renovated House of Cedar

$18.4M upgrade and renovation cited as key to modern trades training

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Most Read