There is nothing inevitable about poverty in BC. We can get rid of it if we take practical steps to implement a comprehensive Poverty Reduction Plan with legislated targets and timelines. Find out how here.
BC Poverty Reduction Coalition

By now you've probably heard that the provincial government issued their 2014 BC Budget recently. Despite the Family Day announcement that Christy Clark would raise welfare rates and roll out a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy (if you enjoy political satire, visit Raise the Rates for more on their spoof), the budget's many pages could not cover up this missed opportunity by the provincial government. At the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition (BCPRC) we've developed a brief report of our analysis of the budget (which you can read below), and we're also sharing a small compilation of what our members think about it. It's clear our member, the BC Federation of Labour, wanted more: in breaking news, they have joined other BC Labour leaders in calling for a raise in the minimum wage to $13 per hour.

But this past month has not only been filled with reports and analysis. Some of the most exciting news we have for you comes from the Poverty Reduction Action Committee (PRAC), which has met a few times in preparation for their next exciting project: a "Poverty Myth Busters" campaign! Work is underway to launch this fun and interesting way to talk about poverty and get to the root of the issue. If you are interested in participating with the PRAC crew, please get in touch or check out PRAC on our website!

There are also some great upcoming events this month, which you can attend to show your appreciation for the excellent work of organizations that are making a difference in BC. We encourage you to check out the invitations below to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Gala Dinner and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities' "Swing into Spring" event, which will both be great fun for sure!

Finally, the government's Disability Consultation closes on March 11 so take a moment to comment online if you haven't already done so.

Please make sure to get in touch with us if you have any ideas or feel the itch to get involved; we'd love to hear from you and find ways to work together! In the meantime, remember to check out our website and Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter to keep informed.

Talk to you soon!

Trish and Gil


BC Budget balanced fiscally but not socially: No plan to tackle family poverty

BC Poverty Reduction Coalition: Despite a strong recommendation from the Budget Consultations report to “introduce a comprehensive poverty reduction plan,” the government has failed to include any substantial measures to address poverty in this year’s budget.

“British Columbians will be seeing rising costs of hydro, MSP, and the general cost of living with little support from the government to balance those pressures through investment in social programs like affordable housing and child care,” as Trish Garner, Community Organizer with the BCPRC, explained. (Full article here)

What you need to know about BC Budget 2014

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Despite claims that tens of thousands of jobs would flow from LNG projects, BC Budget 2014 projects that the unemployment rate will increase from last year’s rate of 6.6% and remain at 6.8% until at least 2018. Virtually all economic indicators for the next three years (2014 to 2016) have been revised down since last summer, including economic growth, personal income, corporate profits, consumer expenditures, residential investment, retail sales, employment and housing starts.

Balancing the budget in 2013/14 was a political, not economic imperative. The price of the balanced budget is the missed opportunity to address some of the pressing economic and social challenges the province faces. (Full article here)

Canadian Cancer Society applauds BC government commitment to cancer prevention

The increase in tobacco taxes [introduced in the 2014 Budget] will result in approximately $50 million in annual revenue, a “significant portion” of which will be allocated to funding cancer prevention. The government commits to working with the Canadian Cancer Society and other research partners to develop and implement these initiatives. (Full article here)

Budget 2014: Empty promises and more instability for public education

BC Federation of Teachers: There is no new funding [in the 2014 Budget] to deal with millions in rising costs downloaded onto school districts like another MSP hike and huge BC Hydro increases. That means, despite the government’s claims, more cuts to classrooms and less services to support all children, including those with special needs.

According to Statistics Canada, British Columbia currently funds public education $1,000 less per student than the national average. Only PEI is worse than BC, and this gap in funding continues to have serious implications for students. (Full article here)

Balanced budget papers over chronic funding shortfalls across government

BC Government Employees Union: The BCGEU welcomes increased funding for the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Community Living B.C., but these increases will not keep up with case load pressures and will put people at risk. There are other ministries and agencies desperately in need of adequate funding.

“The finance minister needs to explain how a supposedly balanced budget is good for people who can't find a job, young people who can't get training and seniors who can't get home care,” said BCGEU President Darryl Walker. (Full article here)


2014 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Gala

Thursday, March 13, 2014, door open at 5:30 PM
Fraserview Hall (8240 Fraser Street, Vancouver)

Individual tickets: $90
Reserved-seating group table for eight: $750
Become an event patron (includes a reserved table for eight and event recognition): $1500
Tickets on sale now here, or email Dianne Novlan (call her at 604-801-5121 x221). Tax receipts will be issued in early 2015 for a portion of the ticket price (and the full amount of any additional donation you make).
Includes: A delicious buffet Indian dinner and a silent auction full of amazing gifts, services, tickets to arts events, getaways and more.

An evening with former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page: The State of Public Finance and Democracy in Canada & MC Charlie Demers

About Kevin Page
Over his five-year tenure as Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), Kevin Page consistently made headlines for his bold determination to make federal government finances transparent and accountable. Praised for his work by both the left and the right, Page recently received the Public Accountability Award from the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the union representing scientists and professionals in the federal public service.

Called an “unlikely enforcer” and a “latter-day folk hero to the average taxpayer,” Kevin Page’s term in office allowed Canadians to scrutinize the fiscal decisions of our government and gave us an unprecedented level of financial accountability.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014 from 5:30-9:00 PM
Holiday Inn (711 W Broadway, Vancouver)
Tickets are just $80 and you'll receive a partial charitable tax receipt.

Stephen Quinn, Host of CBC's On the Coast will host this wonderful evening where you'll enjoy a scrumptious hot buffet dinner, cash bar and lots of fun while supporting the BCCPD.

Special Guests include David C. Jones, actor, comedian and improviser extraordinaire, voted Best Comedian in Vancouver by The Georgia Straight!, and you'll also enjoy amazing Togolese-born musician Lazare Halk.

Among the activities, there will be an auction & raffle, this year’s special feature is the BCCPD’s inaugural Outstanding Employer of the Year 2014 award, recognizing a BC employer for its contribution to employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Please buy your tickets online here.

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition acknowledges and honours the fact that our communities lie on unceded Indigenous lands.


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