Earlier this week, Scott Fraser MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim and Gord Johns MP for Courtenay-Alberni met to sign on to a Poverty Reduction Protocol for the Alberni-Clayoquot Region.
The next step will be to seek endorsement from local Mayors, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District directors and Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council leadership.
Fraser commented, “Poverty is a complex issue which cannot be addressed by any one organization or initiative and I have been working to bring together local stakeholders to discuss and identify opportunities and plan around poverty reduction.”
The ACRD currently experiences the fourth highest rate of poverty out of 29 regional districts in BC with 5870 people out of 29950 or 19.6% living in low income homes. The child poverty rate is 32.2% with 1950 children out of 5980 in the region living in low income homes.
The Alberni Clayoquot Health Network offered assistance in this process and coordinator Marcie DeWitt was instrumental in obtaining funding for a Working Together To Reduce Poverty Workshop where a Theory of Change to Reduce Poverty in the ACRD identified five outcome areas.
This report has been presented to local groups and leaders throughout the fall and winter.
“The signing of this protocol is a first step towards establishing a multi-jurisdictional collaboration to tackle poverty in the Alberni Valley,” said Johns.
Next steps to the initial signing will be to present the Protocol and Theory of Change to local municipalities, NTC and ACRD Board for a resolution to sign on to the process of planning and taking action to reduce poverty in the Alberni-Clayoquot Region.
On Thursday in the House of Commons, Johns commended Alberni Valley residents and government leaders for taking action to eradicate poverty.
Johns said, “The protocol agreement compels leaders to consider the innate connection between poverty and health outcomes when formulating policy and planning for the future of our communities.”
He added, “There is a lot to be done, but together we can work to lift people out of poverty and build thriving, strong communities for all.”