Community Update: BC’s Poverty Reduction Plan Announced March 18th

Dear Community Partner,

BC’s first poverty reduction plan, announced March 18 by Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson, included some more improvements to Ministry coverage and accessibility in addition to the $50 rate increase to disability and income assistance effective April 1, 2019.

The improvements include:

  • Eliminating the requirement to apply for CPP early retirement
  • Changing the definition of spouse to require 1 year instead of 3 months of living together
  • Eliminating the “transient” category so that homeless people can receive the same support and income exemptions as housed people
  • Increasing shelter-related crisis grants
  • Removing the financial penalty for paying room and board to a parent or child
  • Simplifying and shortening the process to have benefits reinstated after leaving Ministry assistance
  • Eliminating the requirement that someone must be on income assistance for 12 out of 15 months in order to apply for Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB).

We celebrate the wide reach of the plan, which includes expenditures for housing, health, childcare, education and training and built-in performance measurements to keep the government accountable. We encourage the government to keep moving forward and to raise the disability and income assistance rates further.