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.
Unpublished policies and regulations that say unintended things are part of how Community Services conducts its business.
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.
Anti-poverty activist Kendall Worth on five income assistance recipients who all lost their special diets in the last little while, even though their medical doctors told Community Services that the diet was medically necessary. What to do?
Alec Startford: “The recent changes to the Income Assistance Program are embedded in a traditional worldview that poverty is largely the result of an individual deficit, that people need to work harder to join the workforce, and for those who can’t work, we feel sympathy for their suffering and we want to relieve the pain. The grounding principle in this worldview is that the free market is the best and most efficient way to alleviate poverty. Where it can’t the social welfare system will provide remedial services to relieve suffering.”
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.
Community Services spent $3.5 million less on social assistance payments than budgeted. Social assistance recipients continue to live well below the poverty line.
Sometimes all you need is a lucky break! Kendall Worth with a heartwarming story how a community came together to put a young woman on social assistance back on her feet and how her future now looks much brighter than ever before.
“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.
For years and years Community Services didn’t make an effort to find Joey Delaney a place away from the locked psychiatric ward at the Nova Scotia Hospital, even though there was no medical reason for him to be in that awful place. More testimony from the human rights enquiry.