This morning Tim Blades, anti-poverty advocate, member of BRAG and CASAR, and NS Advocate author, spoke truth to power about the Community Services’ Employment Support and Income Assistance program, better known as welfare or income assistance. Tim did so at Law Amendments, while the Financial Measures Act (this year’s budget) was under the microscope. And oh boy, did he ever tell them a thing or two!
PSA: Join us for a screening of the documentary My Week on Welfare, as well as a panel discussion featuring individuals with lived experiences of being on welfare and individuals working within the system.
“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!
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.
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.
A coalition of anti poverty activists and community groups wants premier Stephen McNeil to understand that current income assistance rates are really inadequate. And they need your help in order to get that message across.