April 3, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - More than 2,000 New Brunswickers participated in the public engagement initiative, Bringing the pieces together, which will result in the development of a plan to reduce and prevent poverty in New Brunswick.
"This great participation of all sectors of our society assured the success of this important initiative to develop a high-quality poverty reduction strategy for New Brunswick by the end of 2009," said Social Development Minister Mary Schryer, co-chair of the poverty reduction initiative.
Bringing the pieces together is a comprehensive public engagement initiative designed to give New Brunswickers the opportunity to get involved in reducing and preventing poverty. It involves three stages: a dialogue phase; a round table phase; and a final forum phase.
The dialogue phase was completed earlier this week in Fredericton with the last of 16 public sessions held across the province. New Brunswickers also contributed to the process by sharing their thoughts online, or by submitting briefs and letters.
"New Brunswickers have responded with great enthusiasm across the province," said initiative co-chair Léo-Paul Pinet, representing the non-profit sector. "The process has been described by participants as authentic. Everyone had the chance to talk and share their thoughts on poverty."
"Participants in the dialogue sessions agreed that it will take action by every sector of our society if we really want to reduce and prevent poverty," said co-chair Gerry Pond, representative from the business sector. "It is time that we combined our resources to develop a more coherent strategy that will yield strong results for the benefit of all New Brunswickers."
Phase I of the initiative will be completed this spring with publication What Was Said, which will include all the input received from New Brunswickers.
Phase II will see the What Was Said report submitted to a group of experts on poverty, including those who are living in or who have lived in poverty. During a series of round tables, these experts will develop options on priority actions to reduce and prevent poverty in New Brunswick.
In the third and final phase, the options will be presented to participants in a final forum in November 2009. Participants will include residents, municipal and provincial government representatives, union leaders, business leaders, and representatives of the community non-profit organizations.
"Under the leadership of Premier Shawn Graham, this final forum will see the development of the first poverty reduction plan for the province of New Brunswick," said Schryer. "This plan will help to focus social priorities and bring coherence to social policy initiatives in our province."
More information may be found online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Duguay, poverty reduction initiative, Social Development, 506-444-2155.