‘There is much to be done’: B.C. gets D+ grade in Food Banks Canada poverty report card

Click to play video: 'B.C. nearly fails poverty report card'
B.C. nearly fails poverty report card
WATCH: For the second year in a row, B.C. has received a near-failing grade on the poverty report card. As Richard Zussman explains, without heavy political intervention, the grade isn't expected to get better any time soon – May 22, 2024

For the second year in a row, B.C. has received a near-failing grade in Food Banks Canada’s poverty report card.

Food Banks Canada released its annual poverty report card Wednesday and B.C. received a D+.

The province also received a D+ in 2023.

The report attributes the low grade to several factors for the grade.

The 2024 report card found that almost half of people who were surveyed feel “worse off” compared with last year.

It found that 46 per cent of respondents are spending 30 per cent or more of their income on housing — a seven per cent increase from last year.

More than 60 per cent of people who rely on government support said funds are insufficient to keep up with living costs.

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The province received a failing grade for housing, which the entire country also got, outside of P.E.I.

B.C.’s food insecurity rate for 2024 is sitting at 21.8 per cent, and was given an F grade on the report card as well.

Last year, B.C. received a B- in its food insecurity rate.

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B.C. agriculture industry calls for regulaton changes to increase food production

The poverty rate in the province is substantially higher than the national average.

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B.C.’s 2024 poverty rate is sitting at 11.6 per cent, while the national average is 9.9 per cent.

“Despite being one of Canada’s wealthiest provinces, B.C. struggles with significant income inequality and housing affordability issues, particularly in urban centres like Vancouver,” Food Banks Canada staff said.

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“Indigenous peoples, racialized people, and marginalized groups face disproportionate barriers to economic opportunities and social services, which highlights the need for targeted policies to address systemic inequities.”

Food Banks Canada said 14.5 per cent of Indigenous British Columbians are considered to have a low income, compared with 8.8 per cent of B.C.’s overall population.

The one area where B.C. saw significant improvement from last year is its grade for legislative process. It went from a C in 2023 to a B in 2024.

“The BC government is coming off a strong year of legislative action on housing affordability and poverty reduction planning,” the report said.

“Still, there is much to be done, especially in relieving financial stress for people.”

The report comes with a number of recommendations to address the shortfalls of the province.

Food Banks Canada said the province needs to introduce a new poverty reduction strategy, require all political parties to respond to an expert panel on basic income, and maintain BC Housing’s capital budget at $1.2 billion per year until 2030.

Multiple surveys were conducted across the country by Food Banks Canada asking thousands of Canadians about these issues.

Food Banks Canada said since 2021, its services have seen an increase of 50 per cent across the country.

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More calls to increase B.C. food production

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