Budget Estimates: Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Jul 11, 2020 | Blog, Governance | 1 comment

I appreciate the brief opportunity to honour the powerful work of community advocates I have met with several times by asking Hon. Shane Simpson (Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction) in Budget Estimates about potential accessibility and inclusion legislation.

It’s my preference to be discussing the actual legislation this Spring, but at least we now have a timeframe on the record.


Thursday June 25, 2020 [3:25pm]

[Transcript]

J. Isaacs:

Actually, I think the Leader of the Third Party wanted to jump in here, so I’ll let him go ahead.

A. Olsen:

I appreciate the answers from the minister today. It’s nice to be here with you all, even though it is through videoconferencing.

[3:25 p.m.]

I just wanted to follow up very briefly. Minister, you mentioned the accessibility and inclusion legislation. I’ve had some constituents that we’ve met with to discuss some challenges that they had around some specific issues. This was a number of months ago. I’m just wondering when you might be able to see that legislation. I’ve had a number of my constituents reach out to me, asking me to follow up about when that legislation was coming.

Hon. S. Simpson:

Thank you to the Leader of the Third Party for the question. The Leader of the Third Party may know that we went through an extensive consultation process. We’ve been preparing the accessibility legislation. It originally had been my hope to bring that legislation potentially to a fall session. Of course, the legislative timetable has, to say the least, been thrown into some disarray. But if that can’t occur because of being overtaken by circumstances, I would hope that we’d be able to bring the legislation in, in the spring.

A. Olsen:

Thank you for that, Minister. I appreciate it. I know that our wide constituency of British Columbia will be happy to hear that. So I’ll pass that along to my constituents.

Thank you to the member for Coquitlam–Burke Mountain for giving me this opportunity. I’ll leave the floor to you now.


Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay


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1 Comment

  1. Dianne Varga

    Hm. What concerns me about poverty reduction is twofold. First, where are social assistance and disability rates that even come close to the federal Market Basket measure? In 2016, the social assistance rate for a single person in BC was only $610/month, which is around 38% of the Canada Poverty Line. With the increase brought by the new government in 2017, the rate for a single person was $710/month, about 44% of the poverty line, and with the newest increase, the assistant rate rises to $760/month, about 47% of the poverty line. The latest statistics gathered by the City of Nanaimo show that the average cost of one bedroom rental units in 2017 was $1054. It doesn’t compute, does it. No one receiving public assistance in Nanaimo can afford to rent an apartment in Nanaimo.

    Second, where is a policy of vacancy control that could cool the out-of-control rental housing market? I have a one-bedroom apartment in Nanaimo in a building erected exactly 50 years ago. I pay $1095 a month, which is not too far off from the cost of brand new one-bedrooms. It’s a lack of vacancy control that lets landlords inflate rents far beyond the allowable annual increases set by the BC Residential Tenancy Branch, marching more and more people into poverty and homelessness. But I think I called on you in 2018 to support tenants’ calls for the government to implement vacancy control. Why did you do nothing about this?

    Reply

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