Addressing Poverty

Addressing Poverty

The statistics are shocking.

The child poverty rate in Canada is 14%, the child poverty rate in BC is 20%, the child poverty rate on Vancouver Island is 21%, and in the central Island, nearly 23%. A 2009 study by CPABC found that poverty in BC costs society between $8.1 and $9.2 billion a year—or between 4.1 and 4.7 percent of the provincial economy (as measured by GDP) in costs to the health care and justice systems, and in foregone economic activity.

Poverty in our society is systemic and generational. It is no surprise that children impacted by the multi-dimensions of poverty have limited access to basic physical, mental and emotional development necessary to lead healthy, productive lives. These realities are cyclical— preventing generations from leading fulfilling lives and contributing to the vitality of our communities.

The impact is far-reaching. Our ageing population is increasing the need to attract a new generation of skilled labour and business successors. Businesses find themselves needing to look beyond Vancouver Island to infuse their workforce with youth, imagination and commitment. At the same time, the 21% of youth living in poverty are unlikely to graduate from high school or receive the training they need for meaningful employment. Instead of becoming the next generation of skilled labourers and business successors contributing to the vibrancy of our economy, they are marginalized, stigmatized, and face multiple challenges leading to a net negative impact on the local economy. Let’s be clear, with an Island population of 799,400 according to the 2016 national census, 26% of families (128,000 people) are living in poverty…

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