Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has released the following statement on Statistics Canada’s release of the Canadian Income Survey 2018, which shows declines in poverty rates in British Columbia:
“The 2018 Canadian Income Survey demonstrates that TogetherBC, the province’s first poverty reduction strategy, is working. We set a target to reduce the overall poverty rate by 25% and the child poverty rate by at least 50% by 2024 based on 2016 data.
“B.C.’s overall poverty rate was 8.9% in 2018 compared to 12% in 2016, while B.C.’s child poverty rate declined to 6.9% in 2018 from 12% in 2016. I’m pleased to see this Statistics Canada data confirm that our poverty reduction strategy is working to make life better for people. By investing in housing and child care, and by raising the minimum wage, we are helping to lift British Columbians out of poverty. These statistics are encouraging and confirm we’re on the right path, but there is still more work to do.
“Since forming government in July 2017, we’ve been delivering on our priority of making life more affordable for British Columbians. We’ve increased income and disability assistance rates twice and made child care more affordable. In just over two years, 23,000 new affordable homes are completed or underway throughout the province and we’re taking action to make renting fairer for people in B.C.
“With the release of the Canada Income Survey 2018, Statistics Canada also released its second comprehensive review of the market-basket measure, which establishes poverty thresholds based on the cost of necessities such as food, clothing, accommodation and transportation. It recommends increasing the costs associated with housing and accommodation, as well as transportation.
“The previous government chose to ignore the housing crisis and left people behind. Our government is choosing to invest in people with a plan to build 114,000 new affordable homes through partnerships over 10 years. We also expect additional initiatives rolling out this year will reduce poverty rates. For example, the new BC Child Opportunity Benefit that comes into effect October 2020 is expected to help about 290,000 families. The elimination of MSP premiums, effective January 2020, and increases to the minimum wage are helping low-income individuals and families.”
- Statistics Canada proposes to finalize and start using the revised market basket sometime in the early summer. Applying these revisions will result in some changes to the number of people living below the poverty line but will still demonstrate a reduction in B.C.’s poverty rates.
- As required by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, the first annual report on B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy will be released by October 2020.
TogetherBC, B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: www.gov.bc.ca/TogetherBC
Budget 2020: www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2020
Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey 2018: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200224/dq200224a-eng.htm?HPA=1