May 26, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswickers will work together in June to propose priority actions to reduce poverty in the province.
This is the second phase of the provincewide poverty reduction process, Bringing the pieces together, a comprehensive public engagement initiative designed to give New Brunswickers the opportunity to get involved in reducing poverty. It involves three stages: a dialogue phase; a round-table phase; and a final-forum phase.
"During the first phase of the process, almost 2,500 New Brunswickers shared their views and ideas on the best ways to reduce poverty in our province," said Social Development Minister Mary Schryer, co-chair of the initiative. "With this very valuable input, we can now proceed with the round-table phase, where a group of committed citizens from around the province will develop a list of options for actions that can be implemented to reduce poverty."
The 30 participants in the round-table phase have expertise in different fields, including housing, business, community, youth, disability and literacy. Some participants also have first-hand knowledge of living in poverty.
The participants are: Schryer, business sector representative and co-chair Gerry Pond, community non-profit sector representative and co-chair Léo-Paul Pinet, Alex Arseneau, Alexis Couture, Anne Hébert, Brenda Murphy, Clem Tremblay, Denise Carroll, Donna Linton, Eric Tusz-King, Francine Kanhai, Greg D'Souza, Jeff Sparks, Jennifer Melanson, John Wheatley, Josée Arseneau, Ken Pike, Lisa Murphy, Martin Bélanger, Roger Augustine, Sister Auréa Cormier, Sue Rickards, and Trevor Holder.
Also included are representatives of key departments such as Social Development, Education, Health, Women's Issues, and Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.
"Participants in the round-table sessions have been selected to reflect an appropriate blend of gender, language, geography and socio-economic status," said Pond. "They have been selected because of their personal expertise and life experiences, as well as their interest regarding the issue of poverty reduction."
In addition to the priority actions, the participants will also be mandated to develop a global objective, indicators of success, and an accountability and monitoring mechanism. These options will be presented to the final forum in November 2009, when a final plan to reduce poverty will be adopted.
"A poverty reduction plan is a long overdue," said Pinet. "While many programs and services currently exist to assist the most vulnerable residents of our province, they are often not delivered in a collaborative manner. It is time that we combine our resources to develop a more coherent strategy that will yield strong results for the benefit of all New Brunswickers."
More information on Bringing the pieces together may be found online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Duguay, Poverty Reduction Initiative, Department of Social Development, 506-444-2155.