Pathways Out of Poverty: Social Hiring and Income Assistance

The Local Economic Development Lab is excited to announce the release of “Pathways Out of Poverty: Social Hiring and Income Assistance” – our submission for the BC government’s public consultation on the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

LEDlab, in collaboration with Potluck Cafe Society, recently examined the effects of existing income assistance policies and legislation on social hiring and employment in the Downtown Eastside.

Findings from the project highlight areas where the current income assistance system falls short of removing, and at times even creates or perpetuates, barriers to people rising out of poverty or finding labour force attachment. As a result, many individuals remain economically disempowered and trapped in a cycle of poverty. Drawing on these findings – which are based on interviews with income assistance recipients, social enterprise employers and DTES community organizations – LEDlab put forward its submission for BC’s public consultation on the Poverty Reduction Strategy in March 2018.

The submission aims to further facilitate some of the innovative solutions and non-traditional employment opportunities that have been developed in the community to help fill gaps in government service provision. The ten recommendations proposed in the submission pertain to the following five Areas of Reform:

  • Increasing access to Income Assistance
  • Recipient classification the reflects people’s needs and abilities
  • Financial incentives that incentivize, not punish
  • Modernizing employment services and supporting social enterprise
  • Improving the government-community relationship

The government’s commitment to reducing poverty and delivering the services people count on is encouraging. We believe that implementing LEDlab’s recommendations will have a substantial impact on these commitments – supporting assistance recipients in crucial ways, and building on the work done by DTES organizations and social enterprises to help create economic and social inclusion for some of BC’s most marginalized residents.