FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswick received two awards for its initiatives on poverty reduction at the Poverty Reduction Summit organized by the Tamarack Institute and Vibrant Communities in Ottawa.

An award was presented to New Brunswick for Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan, in the category of provinces and cities working together in partnership.

Also at the event, Vibrant Communities Saint John received the Innovators Reducing Poverty award for the work of Juanita Black and Bill Gale. Black and Gale were both recognized as heroes in poverty reduction in Saint John, with influence on different sectors of the population.

The Overcoming Poverty Together plan was recognized for its capacity to bring together, in a non-partisan way, a cross-section of New Brunswickers, including persons living in poverty and the non-profit, business and government sectors. Together they developed and adopted the provincial poverty reduction plan.

“With the leadership of the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation and the dedication of the community inclusion networks, we are seeing positive outcomes as they relate to economic and social inclusion,” said Government Services Minister Ed Doherty, who is also minister responsible for the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation. “This innovative and comprehensive approach to overcoming poverty has been critical to improving New Brunswickers’ quality of life.”

Organizers of the event noted that the creation of 12 community inclusion networks as part of the plan proved crucial to its success. The networks are at the heart of building community capacity and raising the level of engagement through collective and collaborative efforts. They play a co-ordination role with local organizations and support them in the development and implementation of diverse community projects that promote economic and social inclusion with the aim of reducing poverty.

Continued progress towards the goals of the plan was also a determining factor for New Brunswick to receive this national award.

The Poverty Reduction Summit brought together senior leaders from across the country and beyond to align their efforts and merge their passion for poverty reduction.

“New Brunswick received these awards because of its unique model of bringing together, in a non-partisan approach, citizens, the business and non-profit sectors and the government to initiate, develop and implement a truly province-wide, grassroots poverty reduction strategy,” said Paul Born, president of the Tamarack Institute. “It is not about creating a revolution, it is about fostering an evolution that re-imagines ourselves and embraces what we have.”

The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation is a Crown corporation that co-ordinates and implements the Overcoming Poverty Together strategy. The corporation's board of directors is composed of members representing government, business, non-profit community organizations, and people who have experienced poverty.