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

Cullen to fisheries minister: do your job

MP calls for new minister to visit Northwest, see salmon crisis in person

Spirit North funding annoucement now expected any day

Indigenous Services Canada annouces new timeline for funding annoucement

Kitwanga inches closer to ambulance station goal

This year’s Humpy Run raises close to $20,000.

Anglers furious over VIP fishing trip

DFO, SkeenaWild both investigating legality of FN research licence to fishing party

Kool-Aid Man bails on Terrace and Kitimat mayoral race

Says he has accomplished goal of raising electoral awareness

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Pot, cash, mansions: Judge divvies up illegal estate of divorcing B.C. couple

The Smiths ran a multi-million marijuana operation that spanned three counties

Most Read