KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As we all know, at Christmas time Santa checks his naughty and nice list twice. It is safe to say that Minister of Community Services Kelly Regan along with Premier Stephen McNeil are on Santa’s naughty list, and many poor people have given up hope that this government will ever make things better for them.
In HRM there are many people living in poverty, including a large population of working poor, and those on CPP Disability, and especially also people living on Income Assistance.
So the actual message from Income Assistance recipients in this letter is:
We know that from your home in the North Pole you see everything that goes on in this world. That’s why you know that life for us living on Income Assistance in Nova Scotia is difficult.
This is our wish list.
First and foremost people on income assistance needs to ask you to bring them a better department of Community Services to deal with. Here is a hint.
Second, we wish for an immediate increase in our allowances to a living rate, something like this.
Our third wish is that in the new year groups like the Benefits Reform Action Group and CASAR get to meet directly with the minister of Community Services and the Premier instead of being pushed onto bureaucrats like Brandon Grant.
Here are a couple more wishes.
- Access to opportunities to socialize, especially when affordable places (meaning the soup kitchens and drop-ins) are closed on evenings, weekends, and holidays.
- Better access to mental health supports and services.
- More employment opportunities for those of us who are able to work.
- Telephones for those of us who right now cannot get approved for the telephone allowance through Community Services.
- New clothing for those of us who have cloths that are looking as old as the hills.
- Opportunity to repair past friendships with friends and family members whom we once had good relationships with and as far as we know are still alive and want nothing to do with us.
- In the months of October, January, April, and July many Income Assistance recipients receive the Poverty Reduction Tax Credit and the GST checks. That is extra money in their pockets for those months. Why can’t they get a similar type in December when they really need that extra income? If they could get something in December, that would make Christmas a bit merrier for them.
- For Premier Stephen McNeil and Minister Kelly Regan to receive visits from a Christmas Ghost to show them the true lives of people living in poverty in Nova Scotia.
Santa, with the good heart you have I know you are against poverty. So Santa, while you are on your travels on Christmas could you take the time to make that visit to Minster Kelly Regan’s home and have a talk with her.
Income Assistance recipients in Nova Scotia!
Kendall Worth is a tireless anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.
With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.
Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again.
You’re very skilled at expressing simmering rage with humour! When I booked my trip with Access-A-Bus to get groceries next Thursday, the scheduler, who was very jovial, asked me why on earth I’d want to be in a grocery store smack between Christmas and New Year’s. I told her it was both because Thursday is the only day to get groceries delivered and that it was “cheque day” for income assistance (or the day after). She said, in an incredulous voice, “You mean they don’t give you your cheque until AFTER Christmas?”
Federal CPP cheques are sent/deposited a few days before Christmas, although it is the January cheque. I had a friend, since passed away, who was on CPP. He said that money was for January so if he spent any of it on Christmas, he’d be in a bind for the month of January so he ignored it until after Christmas. If DSC gave us our cheques before Christmas, some people would not have the self-control not to buy extra food and other things for Christmas.
Here’s an idea. Petition the federal government to change the months in which we receive the quarterly GST rebate. Make it March, June, September, and December instead of April, July, October, and January.