The BC Liberal government is trying what no other government in Canada has ever dared to try: fighting poverty without spending more money.
The “alleged” poverty reduction strategies announced in April by Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development, will start in summer 2012 with the help of perhaps 100 families with children in seven communities. The communities are Stewart, Port Hardy, Cranbrook, Prince George, Kamloops, New Westminster and Surrey.
The pilot projects are a partnership with the Union of BC Municipalities and plan to engage local governments, community organizations and businesses. The initiative has also attracted the support of the BC Representative for Children and Youth.
Details about the strategies are vague at best, because the government says it wants to hear more about the needs of poor families in the seven communities before committing itself to specific courses of action.
However, it is clear that the government’s main hope is getting different ministries and local authorities to work better with each other to serve the needs of their clients.
Here is an analysis of the features of the regional strategies. It comes in part from government news releases, information collected by BC Stats, and a detailed briefing provided by the ministry at the May 2012 monthly meeting of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.