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November 2018

November. A month of colourful leaves, cooling temperatures, lots of rain in the Lower Mainland, and snow in many other parts of the province. Whether we are bracing for winter or already experiencing winter conditions, November is a good time to turn our thoughts to those living in poverty. Whether it is hunger, precarious employment, or housing security, no one should be facing these struggles alone.

November is also the month when First Call releases their annual BC Child Poverty Report Card. The 2018 report will be released on November 20. As educators, the well-being of our students is central to our work. We understand that the effects of poverty create obstacles to our students' good health, learning, and success.

The BCTF recognizes November as Antipoverty Month. Each week in November will focus on poverty at different levels. Week 1: Poverty at the School Level; Week 2: Poverty in our Communities (BC); Week 3: Poverty in Canada; Week 4: Poverty as a Global Issue. We will address issues such as housing, childcare, student attendance, school food programs, and more.  

Please advocate for those living in poverty. The BCTF's Antipoverty web page has lesson plans, resources, posters, and more. You can also book a free antipoverty workshop for your school's staff.     

By Leon D'Souza, member of BCTF Committee for Action on Social Justice

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: BCTF Antipoverty Month
November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance. *See link to article on the Trump administration's goal to “define transgender out of existence.” BCTF resources can be found here.
November 25­-December 10:16 Days of Action (updated resource)
November 23Buy Nothing Day


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Poverty is far from a simple issue and comes in many different forms. The Typography of Poverty resource will help you explain the issues to your students. It comes with lesson ideas as well as the seven colourful pages you see here that can be posted in your classroom. This poster series is available as a download or can be ordered from the BCTF by sending an email to socialjustice@bctf.ca. Please specify quantity and include a mailing address.


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To dig deeper into the definitions of social justice, social responsibility, and social service, why not try combining your annual school food drive with a BC Poverty Reduction Coalition lesson plan: 

The BCTF resource, A Social Justice Lens, can help you and your students better understand the concept of systemic change

BCTF-designed infographics on poverty can be found on the BCTF Antipoverty webpage and stem from information collected in the BCTF Poverty and Education survey.

You can also find many resources and lesson plans on the November Antipoverty Month web page to accompany these infographics for each week of November.

Week 1:    Poverty at the School Level resources

Poverty at the School Level article
Hungry Students infographic
Staff Awareness infographic

Week 2:    Poverty in our Communities resources

Poverty Reduction Plan infographic
Poverty and School Attendance infographic
Economic Pressures on BC Families infographic

Week 3:  Poverty in Canada resources

Funding is the Fuel infographic
Climbing the Money Wall infographic
Adequacy of Resources infographic  

Week 4:  Poverty at the World Level resources

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The recently updated “Poverty as a Classroom Issue” workshop helps teachers to develop an awareness of the issue of poverty and its implication for our students. It will challenge teachers to reflect on the assumptions we make about children living in poverty and offer strategies on how to support children who may be experiencing discrimination at school because of their socio-economic status.

Other workshops on poverty:

Help End Child Poverty in BC Classrooms, Schools and Local Communities
Creating Inclusive Spaces: Applying an Equity and Inclusion Lens to Your Local, Schools and Classrooms

To request these or other social justice workshops for a school-based, local, or regional professional development day or for a School Union Representative Training (SURT) day, click on the “Book this Workshop” link below the workshop description on the BCTF Social Justice Workshops page

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Classism is defined as prejudice against, or in favour of, people belonging to a different social class. Visit the Raising Awareness page on the BCTF Equity and Inclusion web pages for links to several antipoverty videos and Poverty Myth busters from the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. These resources address the underlying causes of poverty, and in doing so, help dispel stereotypes leading to classism.

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Do you have a story to share about a social justice activity or project that you have carried out in your classroom, local, or community? Is there a social justice issue that you'd like to highlight for BCTF members? We are currently accepting articles for the Winter/Spring 2019 edition of the Social Justice Newsletter. For more information, see the Social Justice Newsletter Submission Guidelines document on the Social Justice Newsletter page.

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The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has developed a campaign aimed at seeing the introduction of a bold and comprehensive poverty reduction plan from the government of British Columbia that would include legislated targets and timelines to significantly reduce poverty and homelessness. See the ABC plan.



 #AllOnBoard stands for affordable and accessible transit that is based on income in Metro Vancouver, to ensure our communities can access public transit to live, work and thrive. They advocate for free transit for all children and youth 0-18, and for a sliding scale monthly pass system based on income. They also advocate for a social justice and poverty reduction mandate for Translink, non-stigmatizing affordability measures, fare evasion fines to be unlinked from ICBC, and infrastructure expansion. 

Raise the Rates logo

Raise the Rates BC works to end poverty and homelessness in BC. Sadly, Raise the Rates will not be sponsoring the Welfare Food Challenge this year! The average rent for a room in the Downtown Eastside increased to $687 per month this year, leaving only $23 per month for food and other necessities. Last year's challenge allowed the participants $19 for the week to buy food. The current $5.75 per week for the challenge would prove most difficult. While the challenge is not running this year because of these deeply inadequate rates. We cannot forget that there are still about 190,000 people trying to survive on income and disability assistance who don't have a choice.

Please support them by emailing the Minister of Social Development and your local MLA at www.abcplan.ca and urging the government to raise the rates!

First Call logo

The 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card will be available mid-month on the First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition website. 

The BC government has put forward Bill 39, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. See details below:
The ActBill 39 - 2018: Poverty Reduction Strategy Act
A response: Poverty Reduction in BC: New Legislation & Next Steps
CBC News report: BC vows to cut poverty rate by 25% in 5 years.

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Submission dates for Local Social Justice Grants: any time between September 4 and April 12, 2019.  

Local Social Justice Grants provide seed money for activities or projects involving several schools within a local aimed at bringing about systemic change for social justice. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Our information package and application form for BCTF locals and sublocals is online. To ensure you have time to carry out your project by the end of the year, please apply as early as possible.  

Other Grants:  

Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund: deadline is November 21, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.  

Social Justice Initiatives Grant: deadline is December 13, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.  

The BCTF will be hosting the biennial Provincial Social Justice Conference this Spring on the weekend of

May 25. Local social justice contacts and local Ab Ed contacts should stay tuned for details on how to register.  

For more information, including application forms and examples of past projects, visit the Social Justice Grants and Funds web page.

Todd Patrick
Assistant Director of Social Justice
BC Teachers' Federation
100-550 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4P2

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