MLA Mable Elmore, Social Development Minister Shane Simpson and UNBC social work professor Dawn Hemingway announce public consultation on a poverty reduction plan, Oct. 30, 2017. File photo

Talking about poverty reduction in Langley

Provincial Ministry of Social Development to hold Poverty Reduction Strategy community meeting

Langley residents will get an opportunity to have a say on a new provincial poverty reduction strategy on Tuesday, March 27 at the Langley Senior Resource Centre, at 20605 51B Ave.

The community meeting will run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Residents are being invited to come and talk about how to reduce poverty in the province.

Last year, the B.C. NDP government announced an advisory committee would be touring the province to gather input to create a poverty reduction plan with annual targets.

It planned to table legislation this spring, but that was delayed to the fall, after Social Development Minister Shane Simpson announced the advisory panel would need more time.

READ MORE: B.C. poverty reduction starts with committee

The committee is co-chaired by Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore and Dawn Hemingway, chair of the social work department at the University of Northern B.C.

Provincial figures show there are approximately 678,000 people in B.C. living below the poverty line, 118,000 of them children.

That is based on the “Market Basket Measure,” which sets the poverty line at $20,000 a year for singles and $40,000 a year for a family of four.

Of the 678,000 people below the line, around one quarter receive income and disability assistance and another eight per cent receive federal disability benefits.

Approximately nine per cent are seniors and close to 40 per cent are working adults earning below the poverty line.

The NDP government has already announced a number of poverty initiatives, including a $100-a-month increase to social assistance rates, removing fees for adult basic education and English language courses, and making post-secondary tuition free for young people coming out of B.C.’s foster care system.

READ MORE: Langley third highest for growth in homeless population

Refreshments will be served at the Langley meeting.

People who need assistance to participate are asked to contact Jayd Ursulak by phone at 604-718-7745 or email: JUrsulak@sparc.bc.ca.

People can also submit input online at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction or send an email to BCPovertyReduction@gov.bc.ca or call Enquiry BC at 1-800-663-7867 and ask for BC Poverty Reduction (Calls can be made Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time).

Upcoming meetings:

Abbotsford:

Date: Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018

Location: Garden Park Towers – 2825 Clearbrook Road #101 – Magnolia Dining Room

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The community meeting runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Notes: A hot meal will be provided.

Chilliwack:

Date: Thursday, Mar. 29, 2018

Location: Coast Hotel Chilliwack – 45920 First Avenue

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The community meeting runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Notes: A hot meal will be provided.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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