KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate know that some of my past stories talk about how intrusive the annual reviews for income assistance recipients are.
For more information, see this story: All that’s wrong with the much-feared Annual Review, and how to begin to fix it.
I believe the annual review needs to be monitored, or perhaps recorded on video.
Recently, while the Community Services Budget Estimates were discussed after the Budget speech, Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc asked a question about these annual reviews.
Unfortunately there is no video, however I did receive an email from NDP caucus staff that talks about it.
This is what the email says:
“When Sue asked the Minister about annual reviews, the Minister said that they are meant to ensure a thorough review – not meant to be punitive, that often they find people’s situation has deteriorated and they qualify for additional supports.
“She repeated that the Department is not trying to police ESIA recipients and that the annual reviews are supposed to be about caseworkers building relationships with clients.”
This response clearly shows that the Minister and her staff and bureaucrats are not paying attention when income assistance recipients complain about their annual reviews.
Many income assistance recipients in the community are tired of having that relationship with a caseworker and annual reviews altogether.
Nothing was said about clients walking out of their annual reviews with cuts made to their income assistance checks. I found that disappointing, because it is another part of what happens at an annual review.
Overall it looks like they are not getting rid of annual reviews.
So let hope miracles will happen as the income assistance transformation continues!
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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