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This Act is current to August 14, 2019
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Poverty Reduction Strategy Act

[SBC 2018] CHAPTER 40

Assented to November 8, 2018

Contents
Part 1 — Definitions
1Definitions
Part 2 — Poverty Reduction Strategy
Division 1 — Development of Strategy
2Minister to develop strategy
3Poverty reduction and prevention initiatives
4Commitment to Indigenous peoples
5Scope of strategy
6Accessibility and coordination
7Description of effects
Division 2 — Reporting and Publication
8Annual reporting
9Publication
Part 3 — Community Involvement
10Advisory committee
11Consultations
12Supports for participation
Part 4 — Miscellaneous
13Section 5 of Offence Act does not apply
14Regulations
15Commencement

Part 1 — Definitions

Definitions

1   In this Act:

"advisory committee" means the committee under section 10;

"annual report" means a report under section 8;

"strategy" means the strategy under section 2.

Part 2 — Poverty Reduction Strategy

Division 1 — Development of Strategy

Minister to develop strategy

2   (1) The minister must develop a strategy to reduce and prevent poverty in British Columbia.

(2) The minister must

(a) post the strategy in accordance with section 9 (a) by March 31, 2019, and

(b) review and update the strategy at least once every 5 years after that date.

Poverty reduction and prevention initiatives

3   (1) The strategy must include initiatives intended, over the 5-year period beginning on January 1, 2019, to reduce the poverty rate for 2024 below the poverty rate for 2016 by at least

(a) 25% among all persons, and

(b) 50% among persons under 18 years of age.

(2) The strategy must include initiatives intended to reduce and prevent poverty by increasing the following:

(a) the affordability of goods, services and housing to persons living in poverty and other low-income British Columbians;

(b) the opportunities for persons living in poverty to move out of poverty;

(c) the inclusion of persons living in poverty in community life and in systems of supports.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), the poverty rate must be measured using the market basket measure published by Statistics Canada as the "Market Basket Measure" or "Canada's Official Poverty Line".

(4) The minister must review the targets set in subsection (1) before December 31, 2023 and, after doing so, may lay a report before the Legislative Assembly respecting future targets for the reduction of poverty.

Commitment to Indigenous peoples

4   The strategy must reflect a commitment to

(a) reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,

(b) the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and

(c) the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Scope of strategy

5   (1) In developing and updating the strategy, the minister must consider

(a) the breadth and depth of poverty, and

(b) the full range of persons living in poverty.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the minister must consider the following topics:

(a) housing;

(b) families, children and youth;

(c) education;

(d) employment;

(e) income supports;

(f) social supports.

(3) Without limiting subsection (1), the minister must consider the following groups:

(a) children;

(b) youth;

(c) women and persons of all genders;

(d) Indigenous peoples;

(e) persons living with disabilities;

(f) persons living in rural and remote communities;

(g) immigrants and refugees;

(h) LGBTQ2S+ persons;

(i) seniors;

(j) persons and families working and earning low incomes;

(k) persons living with or fleeing abuse;

(l) persons living with mental illness or addiction;

(m) persons of colour.

Accessibility and coordination

6   In developing and updating the strategy, the minister must consider the accessibility and coordination of

(a) initiatives included in the strategy, and

(b) supports provided to or for persons living in poverty by or on behalf of the following:

(i) the government;

(ii) the government of Canada;

(iii) Indigenous governments;

(iv) local governments.

Description of effects

7   The strategy must include a description of the effects that the minister intends poverty reduction and prevention to have on British Columbians as a whole.

Division 2 — Reporting and Publication

Annual reporting

8   (1) The minister must prepare, by October 1 of each calendar year, beginning in 2020, a report on the previous calendar year that describes the following:

(a) the actions taken to implement the strategy;

(b) the effects of the strategy on poverty reduction;

(c) any progress made towards the targets set in section 3 (1).

(2) An annual report on a calendar year must include the comments provided under section 10 (4) (a) in relation to that calendar year.

(3) The minister must lay each annual report before the Legislative Assembly as soon as practicable and, promptly after doing so, must post the annual report in accordance with section 9 (a).

Publication

9   The minister must

(a) post the strategy and the annual reports on a publicly accessible website maintained by or on behalf of the minister, and

(b) make the strategy and the annual reports available in accessible formats.

Part 3 — Community Involvement

Advisory committee

10   (1) The minister must establish a committee to advise the minister on matters relating to poverty reduction and prevention.

(2) At least half of the members of the advisory committee must be women.

(3) The advisory committee must include a representative from at least each of the following groups:

(a) Indigenous peoples;

(b) persons living in poverty;

(c) persons living with disabilities;

(d) local governments;

(e) organizations that advocate for persons living in poverty;

(f) the business community;

(g) unions;

(h) academics;

(i) persons living in rural and remote communities.

(4) Without limiting subsection (1), the advisory committee has the following duties:

(a) to give the minister comments in relation to a calendar year on the matters referred to in section 8 (1);

(b) to advise the minister in relation to consultations under section 11.

(5) Members of the advisory committee must be

(a) reimbursed for reasonable travelling and out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred by them in discharging their duties under this Act, and

(b) if they are living in poverty, paid an honorarium.

Consultations

11   (1) In developing and updating the strategy, the minister must consult with representatives of at least the groups referred to in section 10 (3).

(2) Consultations under subsection (1) must be carried out in a manner that is intended to

(a) ensure the strategy is informed by the experiences of persons living in poverty, and

(b) uphold the commitment under section 4 to Indigenous peoples.

Supports for participation

12   The minister may provide monetary or other supports to or for persons living in poverty to enable them to

(a) serve on the advisory committee, or

(b) participate in consultations under section 11 (1).

Part 4 — Miscellaneous

Section 5 of Offence Act does not apply

13   Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

Regulations

14   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

Commencement

15   This Act comes into force on the date of Royal Assent.