Minister responds to poverty issue

Re: Paul Willcocks column “No plan to improve dismal poverty record,” (Trail Times Nov. 28)

Re:  Paul Willcocks column “No plan to improve dismal poverty record,” (Trail Times Nov. 28)

No one wants to see a child living in poverty. It is an issue that affects all of us and belongs to all of us. We need to empower families with the means to break the poverty cycle by helping to remove barriers and creating opportunities that will bring about real change. That is why the Premier is focused on a job creation plan that will strengthen the economy, create and protect jobs for families in every region of B.C., and make sure people are able to get the skills training and education needed.

Our government is committed to finding real tangible solutions to address child poverty but we cannot do this alone – and there is no one size fits all answer. This is why we have committed to working closely with municipalities to develop regional poverty reduction strategies that will address the real challenges families are facing across the province. At the same time, we are providing critical targeted services and supports to low income families such as creating new affordable housing units, rental assistance, increasing minimum wage and subsidizing child care.

Our efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs, while providing targeted supports are working.

B.C.’s child poverty rate is at its second-lowest point in the past 20 years. Since 2003, B.C.’s child poverty rate has dropped by almost 38 per cent.

We have made real progress, but we know we still have a ways to go.  By working together effectively, we can make a real impact on poverty that will give families the springboard they need towards security and greater success in all aspects of life.

Mary McNeil

Minister of Children and Family Development