Complex problems need robust solutions

In a recent column in the Victoria Times Colonist, Trevor Hancock notes that some of the new government’s policies are welcome. However, Hancock notes that “[p]overty is one of the most important contributors to ill health and premature death.” Poverty in childhood however is especially pernicious as it can “set children up for a lifetime of challenges and problems that many can never fully overcome.”

Solutions to intractable social issues like poverty must be addressed early and in a holistic fashion. Poverty is especially complex as solutions and government response cuts across several provincial ministries. Hancock is heartened that the minister of social development and poverty reduction is tasked with designing and implementing an anti-poverty strategy in the province.

Poverty has many contributing factors. Hancock notes that the mandate letters, which outline the government’s priorities for each ministry, do not go far enough. In particular he cites that expensive housing, climate change and unsustainable resource policies, that contribute greatly to poverty, are not adequately addressed.

What is clear is that a comprehensive plan is needed if we are to make sustainable improvements in our social policy. We need a plan that makes connections between ministries, ccommunity-benefit organizations, levels of government, advocates and citizens. We need a clear understanding of all of the pieces that must be in place to create wellness in our province.

Check out Trevor Hancock’s column here.