B.C. poverty rate still too high

Oksana Fedjko, Langley Advance

Dear Editor,

Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We willingly help developing countries to fight famine and survive the consequences of droughts, earthquakes, or floods. This is how rich countries should help poor countries.

Does it mean we have no poverty in Canada? Unfortunately, no.

B.C. has the highest rate of poverty in Canada. The most vulnerable are women with children, youth, people with disabilities, and seniors.

Our province has been in second place for child poverty amongst other provinces for nine years in row. Although we have social services and programs for people in need, such as shelters, welfare, social housing, the increasing costs of living reduce almost all efforts to fight poverty to zero.

Twelve years ago, Newfoundland and B.C. were the provinces with the highest poverty rates in the country. Now, Newfoundland has one of the lowest poverty rates, yet B.C. consistently remains on the highest rate of poverty among Canadian provinces.

The explanation is our provincial government does not have organized and responsible poverty reduction strategies whereby income tax rates for low income families would be considerably reduced, special programs to ensure a smooth transition from social assistance to paid employment, or increased welfare and child care benefits to cover people’s basic needs.

Those strategies would surely result in a significant reduction in the level of poverty in our province.