Centre For Family Equity

Creating a BC where all families thrive.

About Us

The Centre for Family Equity, formerly known as the Single Mothers’ Alliance, addresses family poverty in BC.

We are a membership-based organization of low-income parents and caregivers, the majority of whom are lone mothers, located in over 41 locations across the province. We carry out community-engaged research and legal action and propose evidence-based public policy solutions to address family poverty in BC.

We focus on four key areas in order to address family poverty in BC:

  • Affordability

  • Quality Jobs and Livable Incomes

  • Labour Market Access

  • Emergency Adaptation and Resilience

We address how the social identities of families result in systemic marginalization, discrimination, and poverty for many. We examine and tackle systemic discrimination and poverty that may be rooted in a combination of the following: racialized identity, Indigeneity, gender identity, trans identity, sexual orientation, health and mental health status, social class, marital status, religion, ability, age.

We advocate for public policy and human rights-focused solutions to socioeconomic inequality and take a wholistic, whole-family approach to family well-being.  Most children and youth are in poverty because their parents and guardians are in poverty as they work below the poverty line or access income assistance in BC. The majority of families in poverty are those led by lone mothers and we continue to focus on gender equality and high levels of lone-mother led family poverty in BC within our broadened mandate.

Our direct programming rises from the research we conducted over the past two years in partnership with UBC. Our pilot Parental Mental Health Initiative  focuses on mental health group support for low-income parents and caregivers impacted by gender-based and intimate partner violence. 

Our Lived Experience Led Model

The Centre for Family Equity consists of an active member network of parents and caregivers throughout the province, the majority of whom are lone-mothers impacted by gender inequality and poverty. Our work is driven by a community-based organizing model shaped by our Basis of Unity, an anti-oppression tool that has worked meaningfully since we founded as the Single Mothers’ Alliance in 2014.

Community engagement determines our strategic priorities.

Our frequent listening campaigns ensure our work towards justice and socioeconomic equality is continually meeting the real and evolving needs of families based on their lived experience.

We strongly believe that our members are skilled leaders.

We are passionate about facilitating access to tools for impacting change and building capacity to motivate movers and shakers everywhere in BC.

Family Poverty in BC

As of 2021, over 126,120 children were living in poverty in BC, with approximately 1 in every 7 children affected. Of these, a staggering 68,300 children were raised in lone-parent households. The child poverty rate for children in lone-parent families is a shocking 40.4%, over five times higher than in other families. On-reserve child poverty rates in 2021 were even more devastating, with rates dramatically higher than the provincial average of 14.3%. On 59 BC First Nations reserves, the overall child poverty rate reached 31%, impacting at least 4,360 children.

Furthermore, rural reserves experienced a child poverty rate of 35%, significantly higher than the 27.5% rate observed in urban reserves. 

We must recognize the disparities experienced by newcomer and racialized families. Based on 2021 Census data using the LIM after-tax measure, most racialized children in BC face higher poverty rates compared to non-racialized children. Arab, Korean, and West Asian children have more than double or triple the risk of poverty. The census data also reveals that in 2020, over one in five (21%) recent immigrant children aged 0-17 lived in poverty in BC.

These statistics expose the stark reality that certain families in BC face a significantly higher risk of living in poverty. At the Centre for Family Equity, we are committed to advocating for equitable policies and implementing tailored initiatives to address these disparities and create a just and prosperous future for every family.

Statistics on child poverty quoted here are care of First Call's 2023 BC Child Poverty Report Card.

The Centre for Family Equity is a member of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and partners and collaborates with a diversity of organizations throughout BC.

More About Our Approach

Our focus on intersectional equity means we address how the social identities of families result in systemic marginalization, discrimination, and poverty for many. 

We examine and tackle systemic discrimination and poverty that may be rooted in a combination of the following:  

  • racialized identity 
  • Indigeneity 
  • gender identity  
  • trans identity 
  • sexual orientation 
  • health and mental health status  
  • social class 
  • marital status  
  • religion 
  • ability 
  • age 
  • newcomer and refugee status 
  • citizenship status  
  • other characteristics  

Basis of Unity

For more information on our approach and the shared principles that guide us please see our Basis of Unity.