Poverty activist and welfare recipient Tim Blades speaks at the recent screening of My Week on Welfare in Lower Sackville. His message is not the one that Community Services would like you to hear, but it’s rooted in lived experience.
“My Week on Welfare” is a documentary about the state of the welfare system in Nova Scotia. Next week it’s coming to Lower Sackville. It’s a great documentary, and the discussion after the showing is always very powerful. You’re not alone, and you don’t have to take it!
In September several MLAs from all three parties attended a screening of My Week on Welfare at the auditorium of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in downtown Halifax. This is what Aron Spidle, who is featured in the documentary, told the MLAs. “When a friend asks me to do something with them, the first thing that occurs to me is to ‘how can I get out of this gracefully?’ because most of the time I cannot afford it.”
On Wednesday evening several MLAs from all three parties attended a screening of My Week on Welfare at the auditorium of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in downtown Halifax. My Week on Welfare is a wonderful documentary, produced by Jackie Torrens, that offers glimpses into the lives of income assistance recipients, families and individuals both, trying to make ends meet on a scandalously low food and shelter budget. The screening was organized by BRAG and CASAR members. What follows is what poverty advocate and Nova Scotia Advocate contributor Tim Blades told the MLAs.
The Benefits Reform Action Group sent a letter to the Community Services Standing Committee, explaining why it is no longer interested in meetings with bureaucrats that go nowhere.
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has ruled that Community Services cannot refuse to pay a welfare recipient for suitable housing just because the rent exceeds the shelter allowance. We talk to Dalhousie Legal Aid lawyer lawyer Claire McNeil, who argued the case, and community legal aid worker Fiona Traynor, about the scope of this milestone decision.
The notion that as a reporter you should talk to all parties affected by a story is often held up as what distinguishes real journalists from bloggers and spreaders of fake news. Except, apparently, when the story is about social assistance.
The annual review for people on social assistance is intrusive, stressful, and often unnecessary. But when BRAG complained to the Standing Committee it turned into a lengthy exchange of letters. Enough of that, says BRAG. Here is the story, as told by Kendall Worth.
“The best path out of poverty is a job,” Community Services (DCS) deputy minister Lynn Hartwell told a CBC reporter a couple of weeks ago. Sure, responds community legal worker Fiona Traynor. But it’s a stigmatizing thing to say when 60 to 70% of people on assistance are unable to work because of disabilities.
We interview food security expert Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, who will be visiting Nova Scotia later this week. She talks about hunger counts that don’t count hunger, food banks that don’t solve food insecurity, and income thresholds that don’t reflect it. Also, why people who are food insecure get sick so much, even if the illness has nothing to do with diet. And finally, what we should do to fix the problem.