Right This Minute!
The priority areas of work of the Council are:
Poverty Prevention and Reduction
Many residents of the region face an affordability crunch. Their real wages have declined, and the cost of the essentials of living (transportation, food, housing, child care, education) are increasing. We produce a number of tools and track trends in these challenges, including the Affordability Index, Living Wage Calculator and the Quality of Life Challenge. We also manage the BC Transit Ticket Assistance Program to help with the cost of transportation. The Council will continue to support strategies to create joined-up solutions to poverty in the region and are members of the BC Coalition to End Poverty. We presented this brief to BC Legislature's Standing Committee on Finance about the need for regional and provincial action on poverty.
Community Economic Development
Poverty can't be tackled without the creation of sustainable economic opportunities appropriate to people in different circumstances and contributing to the social and economic vibrancy of our communities. We support partnerships with small and medium sized enterprises to improve productivity through workplace training, the Skills Plus program, and Labour Market Dialogues. We also support the Microcredit Lending Program to create capital financing for people to create their own enterprises, and are working to create a community economic development strategy for the Capital Region. We are members of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network.
Housing costs are the largest driver of affordability challenges in the region, for both home owners and renters. The Council is responsible for the Housing Affordability Partnership and has produced significant reports on housing subsidy programs like the Rental Assistance Program. We are also members of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and have contributed to understanding the barriers to affordable housing for farm workers.?We are currently working on an initiative to create a new pool of capital social financing for the region to support the creation of new units of affordable housing.
The Council works to enhance the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Region. We support the Food and Agriculture Roundtable and its policy working group, to create a supportive environment for a sustainable food and agriculture system. We also work on social sustainability with organizations like the Association of Family Serving Agencies and Understanding the Early Years. We work with regional and municipal governments to improve sustainability planning that integrates social, economic and environmental considerations.
Across these four priority areas of our work we apply a social inclusion lens to enhance civic participation, equality of opportunity, and the social capital of our region.