What is poverty costing us in BC?
BC has one of the highest rates of poverty in Canada. With a provincial election expected within a year, it's important to discuss what can be done to change this.
A new report released last week is poised to change the conversation about poverty in BC. The Cost of Poverty in BC reveals that the dollar-value cost of poverty in the province is twice the anticipated cost of fixing the problem.
Poverty is consistently linked to poor health, lower literacy, poor school performance for children, more crime, and greater stress. Now, for the first time, actual dollar figures have been calculated for the cost of poverty to government and society as a whole, including higher public health care costs, increased policing and crime costs, lost productivity, and foregone economic activity.
The report concludes:
- Poverty in BC represents a direct cost to government alone of at least $2.2 billion annually, or close to 6% of the provincial budget.
- The cost to society overall is considerably higher — estimated at up to $9.2 billion per year, or 4.7% of BC’s GDP.
That's as much as $2,100 for every man, woman and child in BC, or $8,400 for a family of four, every year.
We cannot afford inaction any longer.
Help change the conversation about poverty!
Watch the video, "What is poverty costing us in BC?", then help spread the word with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Sign-on to the Petition Calling for a BC Poverty Reduction Plan launched by Make Poverty History's provincial partner, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, to get updates on poverty in BC and find out about further actions you can take to get a poverty reduction plan in BC.
Look up your MLA and call, email, or visit their office (report in hand) to tell them that the cost of poverty is too high. Contact them while they're in their home constituencies over the summer and let them know we want to see a poverty reduction plan in their party's platform ahead of the next election.