The Honourable Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has reached out to both the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and First Call for preliminary consultations on a poverty reduction plan for BC. The PRC met with the Minister and staff on August 10, and First Call conducted a meeting including youth advocates on August 24.
The First Call delegation included First Call staff, Dr. John Millar, (Public Health Association of BC), Rachel Malek (University Women’s Club of Vancouver and Fostering Change’s Youth Advisory Circle), Eyob Naizghi (MOSAIC), Lynell Anderson (Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC), Simka Marshall (BC Federation of Students), Jeska Slater (Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association) and Karla Verschoor (Inclusion BC).
Topics discussed included expectations of a robust cross-ministry plan, reducing income inequality as a key element of the plan, the importance of a regional focus that covers all of BC, Indigenous poverty rates, better supports for youth aging out of care, reducing student debt, tuition waivers for youth in/from care, investing in child care as a poverty solution, poverty as a barrier to immigrant and refugee settlement, raising disability rates and supports for children with disabilities transitioning to adulthood, bus passes, working poverty and living wages.
The scope of First Call’s advocacy to end child poverty and the 21 recommendations in the 2016 Child Poverty Report Card were introduced. First Call looks forward to working closely with government to address issues impacting children and youth as the poverty reduction plan is developed.
Detailed notes of the meeting are available by contacting First Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.