featured Poverty

Nothing for people on welfare in Nova Scotia budget

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Although life gets more expensive by the day, the provincial government plans no raises for people on social assistance in this fiscal year This, I am told, is what DCS staff indicated to people in the budget lockup.

This is also confirmed in budget estimates released today, which do not mention social assistance increases, and shows no changes in the money allocated to the Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) program overall.

Photo RaiseTheRates.org

No increases in basic allowance, shelter or special needs allowances means parents will continue to go to bed hungry in Nova Scotia.

Since the Liberals took office in 2013 the basic welfare rate was increased only once, by no more than $20 per month, an increment by now fully erased by inflation.

Shelter allowances have remained frozen since 2006. Single people get $300 per month for rent. A single person who lives with disabilities gets $535. Try to rent something anywhere in Nova Scotia for that measly amount.

Meanwhile, special needs allowances, intended to support people who require special diets or other medical supports, have not increased since 1998.

However, according to Community Services, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just that the tunnel is very, very long.

Standard household rates (meaning less bureaucracy), and reduced earning clawbacks are on the way, we are told, all as a result of  the secretive transformation project the department has been engaged in since 2015.  

But none of these things will happen until 2019-20, the Liberal response to an election survey on poverty issues explain. How much money people will gain, or lose, remains to be seen.

The devil is in the details. It all could easily turn into spin, a way to reduce departmental staff, and a way to further cut costs and push people into the workforce, even when that is inappropriate.

To do it right will require affordable but serious investments. The kind of investments that would not align well with the current desire to balance budgets at any costs.

And even more than money, it will require a government that truly wants to help people on social assistance to live a better life, a life with dignity, a life without food banks.

So far we have seen very little that suggests this is the case, and much to suggest the opposite.

The government must show that it is serious about addressing poverty in Nova Scotia. Raising the rates immediately would go a long way.

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  1. Living on min wage is hard as well 20 hrs a week figure that out plus no medical plan no bus pass i can go on and no money for special diet.. going blind where us my help at

  2. Min wage is supposed to take a jump from $11.00 per hour to $15.00 per hour here in Canada. I’ll believe that when that happens because lies are told even on the news.The min wage should be at least $20.00 a hour and the cost of rent,food,transportation,clothing and getting a simple hair cut costs money. Part time jobs are not helping people much until,they become full time.People on welfare don’t have enough money to live on and not everyone can get employment.There is not enough jobs to go around and not everyone can achieve it.Going to college,trade school or University doesn’t prove success of finding a full time job for everyone,either.Since the Liberals took office in 2013 the basic welfare rate was increased only once, by no more than $20 per month, an increment by now fully erased by inflation. These Liberals should have not been voted into parliament in 2013 in the first place.What a mistake that was and they don’t give one dam that people are suffering and go hungry including people with families.They won’t make any changes and it’s getting to the point that nobody can survive and live properly because of their standards.The system has to change and the Liberals should be voted out for good. There’s no need of this improper conduct these Liberals are doing to society and they are not even ashamed or feel guilty for letting people go without. It’s mean,degrading and very selfish to not help people in a crisis and that is what is happening in this country of Canada right now.

  3. $868.00
    $400.00 Rent
    $115.00 Power and Heat
    $80.00 Phone and Internet

    that leaves me with 273.00 for:
    Personal Items etc.

    Now I have a letter this month saying my Special Diet of $81.00 will be cut off.
    I live in a Rural Area with no Public Transportation and only one Grocery Store being Sobey’s

    I also had to fight an appeal to keep my Working Income for $150.00 / month that Social Services deducted $4$

    I’m sure there’s a Huge Cost to them Causing Mental Illness in the System that they do not want to Address.

  4. I had to go to Legal Aid just to keep the $150.00 for Working Income even though I’m a Person with Disabilities and work and earn above that. Nothing for my Lisence/ Registration/ Insurance / Car Repairs / Gas , etc. is considered and I live in a Rural Area with No Public Transportation, and the only Grocery Store is Sobeys.

    I’m Absolutely Certain, all they want to do is get you off Assistance- or Force you into Mental Health.

    When you finally end up so Mentally Ill- and go into a Residencial Care Facility- Social Services will give them , $100’s of Dollars per day/person of Tax Payers Dollars…. and You, can go to Work Programs and Earn 50Cents / hr. (to a Maximum of $60.00 per month?). But it does help Create Government JOBS!

    I’m Certain there’s other Topics which should be addressed- that they don’t want to acknowledge. One only has to look at my family to see the Destruction of the Social Systems in place to help those with Disabilities.

  5. Every Injured Worker whom is on Social Assistance or Disability Pensions, or receives Health Care/Medical Attention and Medication and is not able to work from their Work Related Injuries; if it is not being coved by WCB/WSIB or Veteran’s Affairs;- as it is supposed to be Covered by the W.C.B./W.S.I.B, through Employer Premiums Paid- is “FRAUD UPON the PUBLIC” . That was Part of the “Historic Compromise” the Federal Government Legislated through “The Meredith Report” which WCB/WSIB was Created. Yet; sadly many Permanently and Disable Injured Workers, are being Mistreated and Denied Benefits and Medical Care through a BIAS and CORRUPT SYSTEM!

    Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
    “The Canada pension plan was never meant to be a disability system, but injured workers apply for CPP disability because they have a three- or four-year wait before they can get an adverse decision overturned. Other agencies now have to bear the costs—taxpayers bear the costs—of these workplace injuries instead of having the employers, who are supposed to be paying these costs, paying them. So the taxpayers pay them.”


    All Permanently Disabled and Injured Workers are welcome to join the group:

  6. I was on assistance and because I got fired from my job they cut me off everything for 6 weeks even when they knew I was losing my house. So I lost my house have no where’s to live and even when I tried to re aply and telling them I was being evicted they still did nothing to help till finally I no longer had a place for me and my child to live then they decided they were gunna help me again but only for a month before cutting it off again for no reason at all

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