featured Poverty

Community Services saves millions on welfare payments in 2016-17 fiscal year

Kjipuktuk (Halifax) – The Department of Community Services closed its 2016-17 financial books with a $2,4 million surplus in its Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) program.

Photo Robert Devet

This was due to lower caseloads and lower than anticipated expenses, the department writes in its 2016-17 accountability report. Child, Youth and Family Support was $0.7 million lower than the estimate as a result of fewer children in care.

These savings are offset because actual spending on the Disability Support Program exceeded estimates made at the start of the year by $4.4 million, the service delivery program overspent by $2.5 million, and the department faced $1.4 million in salary overages.  

All in all, The Department of Community Services expenses were $2.8 million or 0.3 percent higher than estimated at the start of the fiscal year.

The department has an overall budget of $933 million, including an ESIA budget of $348 million. In that context the ESIA surplus may not seem that big a deal. But the news may be difficult to stomach for people on welfare who struggled to make ends meet and saw their bus passes taken away or special diet allowances cut back over that same year.

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  1. What a shameful performance! I can’t believe we just signed up for another 4 years of misery for our most vulnerable citizens.

  2. How can Community Services be so happy with a surplus ? When you have women and children on benefits who have been
    cut of from services that were needed for them to move forward. You cut back on Bus transportation. people with disabilities and special
    food needs. medical need and I could go on and on and on. I am sure you are very much aware of what the Department has done to so many people. Please don’t celebrate , this is not a Win, when people are kept down and not allow to become healthy. But are given
    crumbs this is not a victory, Please look in the mirror and ask yourselves , why are we celebrating. Taking from those less fortunate. What happened to Rights to have a home, food on y our table and all of the other Human Rights Laws in this Country. Please look at the mistakes you have made and correct them. Let help build healthy communities.

    Dolly Williams
    Advocate for Homelessness &
    Those who can’t speak for themselves.

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