FREDERICTON (CNB) - The board of the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation met for the first time today.

"To look around the table today and to see every part of our society represented on this board was truly a humbling experience," said Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock. "We all believe that the work we are doing together will have a profound impact on reducing poverty in our province."

Lamrock is one of four co-chairs on the board. The corporation is co-ordinating and implementing Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan.

Board members were involved in several tasks during today's meeting:

  • worked on establishing local community inclusion networks;
  • worked with stakeholders to determine the details of prescription drug program for non-insured persons. The objective is to phase in the program by April 2012;
  • received an update on the poverty reduction plan. The update included highlights of the recently released housing strategy, Hope is a Home, and the accompanying homelessness framework, A Home for Everyone, a five-year plan to reduce poverty and end chronic homelessness by making housing more affordable.

"A remarkable amount of work has been accomplished since the poverty reduction plan was adopted in November 2009 by the 50 members of the Final Forum," said Léo-Paul Pinet, another one of the co-chairs. "With the first meeting of the board completed, we look forward to supporting communities across the province in providing solutions to help those living in poverty."

The four co-chairs have been appointed for a four-year term, and each will serve a one-year term as board chair. Pinet will be the board's first chair. James Hughes, deputy minister of social development, will serve as corporation president.

The 22-member board represents government; business; community non-profit organizations; and persons who have experienced poverty.