FREDERICTON (GNB) – All 12 community inclusion networks across the province have now been integrated into their respective regional service commissions.

Under local governance reforms that took effect Jan. 1, the commissions are now responsible for regional leadership on matters such as community development and transportation.

Since 2011, the networks have been a component of the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation’s poverty reduction plan, Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan.

“I commend the community inclusion networks, their local partner organizations, volunteers and all the participants who have been active in their communities and who, year after year, succeeded in bringing together citizens, groups and other partners to help their fellow citizens,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard, who is also minister responsible for the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation. “We are looking forward to seeing their valuable work thrive under the umbrella of the regional service commissions.”

During the coming months, the community inclusion networks and regional service commissions will be developing plans for programs that meet the needs of their respective regions. The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation will continue providing the resources necessary for the networks’ operations.

“I applaud the community inclusion networks and regional service commissions for their outstanding co-operation throughout the transition process during the past year,” said Jean Allain, president of the corporation’s board. “I also want to acknowledge the community organizations that have housed the networks over the years.”

Shephard said the collaborative approach among the various stakeholders and local governments will continue, with the development and implementation of transportation strategies at the community and regional levels. The goal is to ensure that all New Brunswickers have access to medical care, food, family support, banking services and vital connections to their communities.

With this new partnership, the regional service commissions and local governments are becoming key players in social inclusion and issues related to poverty reduction, said Shephard.

More information on the community inclusion networks is available online.

The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation is a Crown corporation that co-ordinates and implements the Overcoming Poverty Together strategy. Its board of directors consists of 17 members representing government, business, community non-profit organizations and people who have experienced poverty.