SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council of BC)

April 17, 2009 17:09 ET


Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor BURNABY, BC, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - April 17, 2009) - Gang activity and crime will persist without a plan that coordinates action across ministries and addresses social exclusion says SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia).

"We know that poverty is a huge exclusion factor, and exclusion factors have been linked in many studies to increased risk of crime and gang activity" says Nancy Henderson, Executive Director. "Social policies, especially a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy would help to reduce crime and gang activity effectively in the long-term."

SPARC BC is one of 200 organizations calling for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for BC that includes addressing affordable housing issues, welfare, support services, training, minimum wage, childcare, and that ensures coordinated action and accountability across ministries within a specific timeframe.

Key facts about poverty in BC:

* BC has the highest proportion of working poor families in Canada, with more than half of poor children coming from families where at least one parent is working.
* Poverty has persisted despite strong economic growth and the gap between rich and poor has been increasing - the top 20% of BC families now earn more than the entire bottom half of families
* 546,000 or 13% of the BC population live in poverty, which is the highest poverty rate of any of the provinces
* BC has the dubious distinction of having had the highest child poverty rate for the last five consecutive years, and the current rate is still nearly 22%


/For further information: SPARC BC is a non-partisan, independent charitable organization that focuses on the key social issues of income security, accessibility, and community development education, and provides research services, consulting, and the parking permit program for people with disabilities.

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