End to poverty urged

Open letter to mayoral candidates and candidates for city council:

Open letter to mayoral candidates and candidates for city council:


Social workers in Terrace get to see the effects of poverty every day. While

many of the programs they provide address the effects of that poverty, they

seldom have the capacity to address the roots of it.  But government policy

can do that.


At their convention last year, the Union of BC municipalities passed a

resolution calling on the province to adopt a comprehensive poverty

reduction plan.   (Several other provinces have developed such plans or are

working on them and they appear to be effective in reducing poverty and its

effects.)  BC has had the highest rate of child poverty for years and is

doing nothing in a concerted way. As social workers, we support the

development of a comprehensive policy to reduce if not eliminate poverty in



As you can imagine, social groups have been actively working on this issue

for years, (http://bcpovertyreduction.ca).    Among other initiatives, draft

plans calls for a living wage for all British Columbians, a strong

commitment to social housing and a plan to address our child care crisis by

creating a provincial system that is both accessible to all families and

capable of providing quality care for their children.  As social workers, we

support these initiatives.


We ask that you do as well and we ask you to place Terrace in a leadership

position in the fight against poverty in British Columbia.  Poverty does not

just concern the poor.  Its costs affect us all.  As explored in The Cost of

Poverty in BC, www.policyalternatives.ca/costofpovertybc

<http://www.policyalternatives.ca/costofpovertybc>  ,  poverty costs the

government $2.2 billion a year or almost 6% of our provincial budget.  The

social cost is even higher.  In dollar terms it is estimated at up to $9.2

billion.  That’s over $2 thousand dollars for every man, woman and child in

BC every year!


The irony of this tragedy is that poverty reduction would, in the end, cost

half of what poverty costs us now.  If no British Columbian lived below the

poverty line, the savings to our health care and social service system, our

justice system and our educational system would more than pay for financial

supports we need to put in place to ensure that no British Columbian is

needlessly poor.


If elected, will you be active in pushing the provincial government to adopt

such a plan?


Robert Hart, President,

Northwest Branch, BC Association of Social Workers

Terrace, BC



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