Centre For Family Equity


Our recommendations are informed by our community-engaged research on the impact of social services and public policy on families experiencing poverty. 

On this page, you will find a comprehensive list of twenty-two recommendations submitted to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction’s consultation process in spring 2023 regarding the development of TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.  

Our 22 recommendations are grouped in our four focus areas for 2023. 

Priced Out

Priced Out responds to our community engagement results by addressing the rising cost of living and its impact on BC's families. Priced Out addresses solutions to rising costs and food access, lack of affordable and accessible child care and before-and-after-school care, and access to dental care, transit, medication, vision care, and counselling for families living below the poverty line in BC. 

Focus on the high poverty rates of lone-parent-led families in all aspects of policymaking and expand the supplement for lone parents in the BC Family Benefit.

Raise the net income cut-off for the BC Family Benefit rate reduction to ensure better distribution of this impactful benefit to families living in the greatest depths of poverty.

Expand the Feeding Families initiative to establish a fully universal school food system within the Ministry of Education and Child Care that creates a culture of healthy eating and guarantees universally accessible, free access to healthy meals at all public schools in the province. 

Complete building BC’s $10 a Day child care system to guarantee a spot for every family that needs one and ensure all spots are universally accessible and free. 

Build a publicly-funded, publicly provided seamless before-and-after school care system within the Ministry of Education and Child Care and ensure all spots are universally accessible and free.  

Provide free transit for all youth by expanding the Get on Board age of eligibility up to 18 in every transit system in the province. 

Include medication and vision care as extended MSP-covered health benefits beginning with roll out first to families and others living below the poverty line. 

Ensure maximum uptake of the Canada Dental Benefit in BC for low-income families who are eligible. 

Make counselling an MSP-billable service and ensure basic psychotherapy and counselling is cost-free and universally accessible within our health care system. 

Income Justice

Our Income Justice focus area responds to member input on work, wages, quality jobs, and job opportunities. This focus area will address solutions to low and unlivable wages, inadequate income and disability assistance rates, lack of access to higher paying work, and sustainable part-time and full-time jobs with benefits for families impacted by socio-economic inequality.  

We also address the need for pay equity legislation and tackle the entrenchment of marginalized parent and caregiver workers, including trans and gender-diverse parents, 2SLGBTQIA+ parents, mothers, racialized parents, those with disabilities, and other equity-seeking parent-workers in sectors defined by low-waged and precarious labour. 

Increase the income and disability assistance rates to the Market Basket Measure and ensure annual increases linked to inflation. 

Significantly raise the earnings exemption for those accessing income and disability assistance and ensure no income is clawed back below the poverty line. 

Scrap the unlivable minimum wage and replace it with a Minimum Living Wage. We echo the BC Poverty Reduction’s recommendation to close the gap between BC’s current minimum wage rate of $15.65, the Metro Vancouver living wage rate of $24.08, and Victoria’s Living Wage rate of $24.29 an hour by 2026 with regular annual increases to reflect changes in the cost of living. 

Provide five family and caregiver wellness/sick days for all British Columbians to ensure no parent’s livelihood is threatened by their children’s sickness. 

Implement a fair wage grid for early childhood education workers in our child care system and ensure all jobs are family-supporting with livable wages, benefits, and job security. 

Ensure all jobs within a publicly provided before and after-school care system are unionized with a wage grid, benefits, and job security. 

Implement pay equity legislation for BC. 

Advocate to the federal government for CERB amnesty for impacted BC residents. 

A Roof Over Our Heads

A Roof Over Our Heads addresses the housing crisis in BC for low-income families with a focus on justice for renters, the right to move, and rezoning. A Roof Over Our Heads aims to ensure all families in BC have access to appropriate, safe, and affordable housing.  

Implement vacancy control across BC. 

Implement a province-wide plan to build new dedicated, non-market affordable housing that aims for a quarter million units over the next decade or 25,000 new non-market units per year as proposed by the CCPA-BC and supported by the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. 

Ensure non-market affordable housing includes an appropriate amount of three, four, and five-bedroom + options to ensure large families are not excluded from affordable housing options. 

Safe, Heard, Protected: A Vision for Family Law

Safe, Heard, Protected: A Vision for Family Law calls for a family law system that is financially accessible for low-income parents and caregivers in BC. We advocate for a system that ensures those impacted by intimate partner and gender-based violence are safe, heard, and protected in and by every facet of the system. 

Provide access to legal aid for those with incomes below the Market Basket Measure poverty line with adequate hours to solve complex cases. 

Overhaul the family law system to ensure women impacted by intimate partner violence are safe, heard, and protected with their right to security and safety upheld.