A member of the Williams Lake Indian Band has been appointed as a member of the Minister of Social Development’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction.
Minister Shane Simpson made the announcement Monday as he invited British Columbians to share their ideas to help shape the province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Executive Director of the Cariboo Friendship Society, Rosanna McGregor says she’s proud to be part of it and to have been selected.
“There’s 27 members from throughout the province, everybody’s bringing a different level of skill and experience to the committee. The Friendship Centre has been working on poverty initiatives since we opened in 1969 and I came here in the early nineties and have been working with different initiatives that the Friendship has done. Most of the things that we do are things that try to assist with poverty reduction: social housing, emergency shelter, the transition house, pregnancy outreach program.”
The Advisory forum according to a news release will provide their insights and guidance to the minister as the Poverty Reduction Strategy is developed. The Forum will support the minister by:
- Identifying the causes of poverty and innovative approaches to poverty reduction
- Recommending priority actions and principles for the Poverty Reduction Strategy that governments and all sectors of society can collectively work on and support
- Discussing ideas for poverty reduction generated through the consultation and engagement process
- Offering expertise and advice on how best to implement the Poverty Reduction Strategy in the context of other government priorities
- Working within communities to encourage full participation in the Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Providing advice on legislation, including targets and timelines.
“I think it’s really appropriate timing,” adds McGregor who is also the President of the Board of Aboriginal Housing Management Association and the chair for Williams Lake Social Housing Society, and participates in many community boards including the Social Planning Council, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Advisory Committee and participates on the Human Service Worker Advisory for Thompson Rivers University.
“We’re not really sure what our industries are going to look like with the forest fires and the lumber industry what does that do to our community. In the same vein, if we get any industries in then do we have enough childcare providers? Do we have enough daycare spaces? What are the impacts to the infrastructure like the hospital or schools? All of those things can be affected by any changes in any of the industries that we have in our community, and are all stuff we need to take into consideration.”
B.C. has the highest poverty rate in the country with 678,000 British Columbians living in poverty according to the Market Basket Measure.
The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia will also facilitate in-person engagement sessions in up to 20 communities throughout the province with the dates and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.