One in five children in New Brunswick lives in poverty. This translates to 28,510 or approximately 21% of children in the province. Child and single mother poverty is particularly pervasive. The city of Saint John is host to the highest child poverty rate of Canada’s larger urban areas.
In 2009, New Brunswick became the sixth Canadian province to adopt a poverty reduction strategy. In 2010, the Economic and Social Inclusion Act introduced its legislative framework. The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation (ESIC), a Crown corporation, was created to oversee development of these plans. Its Board of Directors is comprised of representatives of four sectors (citizens, non-profit, business, and government). One-third of the Board includes people with lived experiences of poverty.
In May 2014, the ESIC created “Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan, 2014-2019”. Its vision is for all people of New Brunswick to be able to meet their basic needs and to live with dignity, security, and good health. This is to be done concurrently while providing opportunities for employment, personal development, and community engagement. The Economic and Social Inclusion Act requires the province to adopt a new plan every five years. Unaccomplished goals from 2009 are continuing priorities for the 2014 strategy. The new plan aims to reduce poverty by 25% and deep poverty by 50%.
The cost of poverty in New Brunswick is estimated at $2 billion a year.