Poverty Reduction Plan

Vancouver is a thriving city, but as with other large urban centres, not everyone has benefited equally from growth. Many people struggle to make ends meet across the city.

As part of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy, we are in the process of creating a poverty reduction plan.

The plan aims to improve the lives of people that are struggling to make ends meet by:

  • Increasing incomes and improving services
  • Addressing the root causes of poverty
  • Looking at broader issues of inequity, opportunity, and belonging
  • Breaking the cycles that make it difficult to navigate out of poverty

It will be informed by the new poverty reduction frameworks of both the federal and provincial governments, both of which included input by Vancouverites.

Poverty is a barrier to prosperity, not an alternative to it

Drawing from the Healthy City Strategy and other key policy documents, we sent input on the possible creation of a national poverty reduction strategy to the federal government in July 2017.

The submission, Prosperity for All, was inspired by input from over 70 organizations representing government, nonprofits, the private sector, and people with lived experience.

We made recommendations ensuring basic needs are met, fair health and social supports, Living Wage and sustainable transportation, safety, inclusion and reconciliation, and shared leadership. 

Read the submission  (1.2 MB)

Share your experiences and ideas in person

There are several upcoming opportunities to help us shape the Poverty Reduction Plan.

Email your ideas, get updates

Can't join us in person? Email ced@vancouver.ca to:

  • Send us your ideas
  • Get an alert about our upcoming online survey
  • Be added to our mailing list

Follow our progress

  1. Learning
    Q2-Q4 2017
    • Consultation with over 70 organizations to create recommendations for the federal government
    • Provincial consultations
    • Best practice research
    • Pre-engagement
  2. Listening Phase 1
    Q1-Q3 2018
    • Phase 1 engagement: deep poverty
    • Tamarack Poverty Reduction Summit
    • Healthy City Summit
    • Mayor's Working Group on Immigration - Poverty Reduction Summit
  3. Listening Phase 2 and creating the plan
    • Phase 2 engagement: people struggling to make ends meet
    • Plan development in partnership with community
    • Meaningful early action implementation


Ongoing work continues with the Poverty Action Advisory Committee, and key partners including the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council.

What we've heard so far

Starting in April 2018, we convened an ongoing Poverty Action Advisory Committee, made up of 40 community organizations and people with lived experience of poverty.

This committee oversaw and advised on the first phase of engagement, including fifteen listening sessions with over 250 people experiencing extreme poverty. These listening sessions focused on understanding ‘a day in the life’ of Vancouver residents, enabling us to learn about systematic barriers that people experiencing poverty face on a day-to-day basis, and to have these voices guide and direct future policies and programs.

The results from Phase 1 engagement are presented in the What We Heard report  (1.1 MB).

“I was homeless for two years up until five months ago. I now reside in an SRO. A day in my life is pretty stressful. It is a constant struggle for day-to-day necessities. After my half of the rent is paid I am left with $300 per month, now if I do my laundry, buy some food and toiletries I am left with less than zero. I can’t afford any transportation. I can’t afford the few items I need to be able to look for work.”  – Listening session participant

Phase 1 'What We Heard' groups engaged

  • 411 Seniors Centre Society
  • Binners Project
  • Chrysalis Society
  • DTES Market
  • DTES residents (low-income family sessions)
  • DTES Women's Centre
  • Exchange Inner City
  • Hogan's Alley Society
  • MOSAIC/Rainbow Refugee
  • PWLE Advisory Committee
  • RayCam
  • South Granville Seniors
  • Watari

Profile: EMBERS Eastside Works

EMBERS Eastside Works is an income generation hub located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and formed by Urban Core, a coalition of DTES service providers that recognized the significant gap in employment services for people unable to work full time, but don't fit into current government-contracted employment services. They help people improve their livelihoods by:

  • Finding part time and flexible work opportunities for people with barriers to employment
  • Accessing training and support
  • Connecting to their community and local workforce

By partnering with businesses, non-profit organizations, and other agencies, EMBERS Eastside Works creates meaningful opportunities for people to generate income, increase their skills and improve their livelihoods. In other words, it supports people in moving out of poverty. 

EMBERS Eastside Works is part of the City of Vancouver’s Community Economic Development (CED) Strategy. We are providing funding to support program development, operations, and rent. The CED Strategy is one of our actions to address income, employment, and affordability - a key part of poverty reduction. 

Learn more

Other equity-focused work


Regulatory tools

  • DTES Neighbourhood Fit Tool
  • Inclusionary Zoning (Social Housing)
  • Social Procurement Framework (underway)



Grants and projects

  • Direct social services agents, social innovation projects, DTES Capital
  • Eastside Works (The Lux), Arts Factory, 312 Main, DTES Market