Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson announced the members of his Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction as he invited British Columbians to share their ideas to help shape the Province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The 27 people appointed to the minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction bring a broad range of expertise to their roles, and will provide their insights and guidance to the minister as the Poverty Reduction Strategy is developed. The forum members represent multiple sectors, including poverty advocates, people with lived experience, Indigenous people, academics and experts, along with representatives of the labour and business communities.

“Poverty affects too many people in our province. It’s time to change that and today is where we start to forge a new path,” said Simpson. “This group of advisors will support me as we work together to bring effective and permanent solutions that will lift people out of poverty and help them to build a better life.”

The announcement also marks the beginning of the Poverty Reduction Strategy engagement process, along with a website where people can contribute their thoughts on how to reduce poverty. The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC) will also facilitate in-person engagement sessions in up to 20 communities throughout the province. The dates and locations for those sessions will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Poverty is a complex problem and finding solutions is a collective responsibility,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction and co-chair of the advisory forum. “This group of individuals has come together for a common purpose — to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to meet their potential and build a good life for themselves and their families.”

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to champion the voices of British Columbians through my role as co-chair in this advisory committee,” added Dawn Hemingway, chair of the School of Social Work at UNBC, where she is also an associate professor. “We get much further when we work together. I look forward to working with the minister and advisory members in the coming months.”