featured Poverty

Welfare in Canada: Nova Scotia sucks big time

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Each year Maytree releases a Welfare in Canada report, showing total incomes of people on welfare across Canada.

The Welfare in Canada reports look at the total incomes available to those relying on social assistance (often called “welfare”), taking into account tax credits and other benefits along with social assistance itself.

How does Nova Scotia measure up?

Each year the picture for Nova Scotia is grim when measured against other provinces, and that tradition continues for 2019.

This is how we measured up in 2019.

As you can see, people on income assistance in Nova Scotia are among the very poorest in Canada, competing with New Brunswick for the worst province in Canada designation. 

How adequate is the income?

The table below looks at how welfare incomes in 2019 compared to Canada’s official poverty measure, the Market Basket Measure (MBM), for each of the example household types. Both the total welfare income and the poverty threshold in the table are for Halifax.

As you can see, incomes for any household type are far below the poverty line. In fact, incomes for single persons considered employable and single parents with one child are furthest below the poverty line among all the provinces.

Over the years the poor are getting poorer

Finally, things aren’t getting any better. From 2018 to 2019 incomes either remained stable or increased marginally. Over the years though single people on income assistance in Nova Scotia are getting poorer, taking into account inflation. By a lot.

Incomes for households with kids either remained more or less stable over the decades or increased by a tiny little bit.  

A week ago, after a story about child poverty in Cape Breton, the CBC asked Community Services minister Kelly Regan for comment.

Poverty is a persistent problem that won’t be solved quickly, but the minister said her government continues to work on it.

“Every year we make investments because we want to help more people live better lives and we are working to do that,” Regan told reporter Michael Gorman.

It’s amazing how politicians continue to get away with platitudes like that, given what the numbers clearly show.

See also: The face of poverty: Skipping food and going without oil to save every penny for his children

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