March 6, 2020
Recreation Highlighted in Poverty Reduction Plan
The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation presents Overcoming Poverty Together 3: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan.
“Reducing poverty and eliminating barriers to allow the full inclusion of all New Brunswickers is a challenge near and dear to my heart,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard, who is co-chair and minister responsible for the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation. “It is important that we all work together to reduce poverty and to create a province where everyone is able to fully participate.”
The new plan builds upon the progress that has already been accomplished over the past 10 years. It includes nine priority actions divided into three pillars:
Income Security: includes actions addressing improvements to social assistance, changes to the Employment Standards Act and an increase of the capacity and sustainability of social enterprises.
Co-ordination of Programs and Services: includes actions towards a review of government programs, services and tax policies targeted to low-income individuals, and the implementation of a One-Stop-Shop service to help New Brunswickers access information and navigate government and community programs and services.
Inclusion and Healthy Communities: includes actions bringing improvement to mental and addictions services, the development of regional transportation plans, work with partners to provide inclusive opportunities for recreation activities for New Brunswickers on a low income, and the development of food programs in all schools.
The objective of the plan is to reduce income poverty by at least 50 per cent by 2030, in line with the objectives of Opportunity for All, Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy, and those of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainability of the United Nations.
Stéphane Leclair, executive director of the corporation, said the innovative approach adopted over the past 10 years of bringing together people who live or have lived in poverty with representatives of the non-profit sector, the business sector, and the government has produced a stimulating movement of community capacity building.
The Community Inclusion Networks will continue to play a critical role in calling upon local and regional partners to help them develop their regional plans for poverty reduction and economic and social inclusion, said Leclair.
Some of the highlights of Overcoming Poverty Together over the past 10 years include:
New Brunswick Drug Plan
Healthy Smiles, Clear Vision program
Provincial transportation strategy and community transportation services in New Brunswick
Minimum wage increases
Free post-secondary tuition program
Below are a few statistics about poverty in New Brunswick:
In 2009: the poverty rate was 14.2 per cent or a total of 104,000 people.
In 2018, (the most recent year of available data): the poverty rate was 7.9 per cent or a total of 58,000 people.
There has been a 44 per cent decrease, or a total of 46,000 fewer people living in poverty from 2009 to 2018.
The goal for Overcoming Poverty together 3: Reduction of the number of people living below the poverty line in New Brunswick to 50,000, or seven per cent, by 2030.
The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation received 25,000 comments from 2,500 participants during a public engagement process that took place across the province in the winter and spring 2019.
“This was the most comprehensive in the province in terms of poverty since the adoption and implementation of the first plan in 2009,” said Leclair. “Forty community dialogues, eight sectoral dialogues, an online survey, focus groups with people living in poverty, a call for briefs from non-profit organizations and gatherings with subject matter experts were also part of the process.”
The plan takes effect immediately.