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Kendall Worth: Our anti–clawbacks petition was tabled at Province House

Kendall Worth and Susan Leblanc. Contributed

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Susan Leblanc is really is nailing it at Province House when it comes to advocating for changes in the Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) program.

The issue is that when you are on social assistance you are entitled to keep a portion of the money you earn. But EI benefits, that you paid into while working, are clawed back completely. And if you are self-employed, Community Services takes all your earning. How is that fair?

You readers may remember two stories that were posted in the Nova Scotia Advocate not that long ago. There is this story here, My meeting with Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc, where we sat down for coffee and talked about drafting the petition, and this story here, Community Services must stop taking all EI benefits and self-employment earnings from people on Income Assistance, which kicks off the petition and shows why MLA Lisa Roberts also is supportive.

Then there is also this third story, Knocking on doors with Gary Burrill to sign our petition against the claw backs, which talks about why MLA and NDP Leader Gary Burrill supports our petition.

Unfortunately Susan or the caucus staff were not able to provide me with a video of the petition being presented. However, Hansard says that there were 231 signatures.

This is a great start in bringing the fight to Province House to get changes made to the Employment Support and Income Assistance program, so that EI and self employment earnings are no longer clawed back.  People on income assistance are lucky to have Susan Leblanc as an MLA in Nova Scotia.

However if you were to watch the video from question period, judging by Minister Kelly Regan’s response to Susan Leblanc’s questions it doesn’t look good for the employment insurance clawback.

However,  the video shows some reason for hope that the 100% self employment earnings clawback maybe will stop at some time.

So it seems that those on income who are also earning self employment income may have some good news to look forward to  

The 100% employment insurance clawback is insulting for all who are seasonal workers, and especially for persons with disabilities who are seasonal workers.  

Let’s hope things will improve with the system as time goes on and that the minister will ASAP change her mind about what she said about the employment insurance clawback.          

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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