BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has held the work of poverty reduction in BC since 2019, before which time the province did not have a poverty reduction strategy. In 2019, the Ministry produced the Together BC report, detailing its strategy for poverty reduction over the next five years.
This year, as mandated by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, the Ministry is doing its first 5-year review of the strategy. As a part of the review process, between March and April of 2023, they invited engagement and submissions from the general public and from established anti-poverty organizations across BC for their recommendations for poverty reduction strategies.
In order to submit feedback to the Ministry during the engagement process this Spring, Pivot hosted a community consultation with members of the Our Homes Can’t Wait coalition, a group of people who have lived and living experiences of poverty who are currently receiving or have accessed at some point in their lives a form of income and/or social assistance. The group reviewed and discussed the Ministry’s priorities together and developed a set of their own recommendations for poverty reduction to submit to the Ministry, informed by their own personal lived experiences with poverty.
The group identified several of their own key priorities outside of the Ministry’s identified priorities for poverty reduction in BC. These recommendations include increasing social belonging through increased opportunities for peer work and civic and social engagement, finding new ways to fund poverty reduction by eliminating the criminalization of people living in poverty, enshrining the protection of people living in poverty in provincial law, and funding free and accessible public transit in metropolitan areas, but, especially, in rural areas.
The group also addressed five of the six key priorities identified by the Ministry for the province’s poverty reduction strategy, including creative recommendations to address access to housing, education, employment, income supports and social supports for people who live in poverty in BC.
Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.