CARAQUET (CNB) – Three committees have been formed by the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation to tackle key issues in New Brunswick’s fight against poverty.

“Our government is dedicated to reducing poverty in this province through co-operation with business, the non-profit sector and people who have lived in poverty,” said Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock. “These new committees will provide all stakeholders with yet another opportunity to contribute to this necessary work.”

Lamrock and corporation co-chair Léo-Paul Pinet announced the committees and their chairpersons today.

“These committees will carry out critical work that will ultimately lift people out of poverty in our province,” Pinet said. “The committees will include representatives from government, business, non-profit organizations and those who have lived in poverty. We look forward to the advice they will provide the corporation.”

The committees:

●    Health Benefits – This committee will consult stakeholders to develop options for a prescription drug plan for uninsured residents by 2012 to ensure all New Brunswick families have access to necessary medications and are protected in the event of a catastrophic illness. Former senator and former lieutenant-governor Marilyn Trenholme Counsell of Sackville will be a co-chair of the committee. Two others, a pharmacist and a representative of the business sector, will be named later.
●    Social Assistance Reform – This committee will provide advice to the Department of Social Development about its work to change New Brunswick's rules-based social assistance system into an outcome-based system that encourages social assistance recipients to become self-sufficient. The chairpersons are Roger Lessard of Pokemouche, chair of the Community Non-Profit Organizations Secretariat advisory committee and executive director of Youth Priority Centre Inc. in Campbellton; and Ken Pike of Fredericton, director of social policy for the New Brunswick Association for Community Living and the 2008 recipient of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission's Human Rights Award.
●    Social Enterprise and Community Invest Funds – This committee will develop a policy framework on social enterprise and community investment funds within which community inclusion networks may work. The chairperson is Seth Asamakos of Saint John, general manager, Saint John Community Loan Fund, executive director, Canadian Community Investment Network Co-operative, and co-director, Atlantic Social Economy Research Project, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax.

“With the creation of these committees, more than half of the priority actions in Overcoming Poverty: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan are complete or well underway,” said Lamrock.

The minister provided a progress report on this plan; it is on the Department of Social Development website.


●    Department of Social Development (poverty):