The newest provincial welfare stats are in: In 2018 in Nova Scotia the very poor get poorer once again, and we continue to be the province with the lowest total incomes for people on social assistance.
I end my presentation with one request, Ms Knight; Hear what I am saying, look at these examples, and tell me that I am better off.”
Last Friday several members of the Benefit Reform Action Group (BRAG) met with managers at Community Services, at the department’s invitation. Tim Blades was sick and couldn’t make it, but fellow BRAG member Jodi Brown read his letter on his behalf. The letter is addressed to Joy Knight, who is the department’s director of Employment Support Services. Tim tells it as it is.
Kendall Worth on two issues he and other people on income assistance care a lot about, the bureaucratic nonsense around special diets, and the need to raise the rates to something more like a living wage.
Community Services giveth and Community Services taketh away. The tiny increases people on income assistance will get next year may push them over the Poverty Reduction Credit threshold. The department says it doesn’t yet know what to do about it, or how many people will be affected.
At last night’s screening of My Week on Welfare in Dartmouth, g=human rights lawyer Vince Calderhead talked about how the much-hyped transformation did not at all make things better for people on income assistance and his fear that special needs allowances will be next.
He also tackles the subject of tactics, don’t waste your time trying to convince bureaucrats, he says.
Kendall Worth reports on some good news for income assistance recipients: as of May 1 you will be able to keep more of your earnings from tips, commissions and other income from self-employment.
Kendall Worth wrote an open letter explaining why people who are actually on social assistance need to be heard by members of the Standing Committee on Community Services.
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!
In 2019 all income assistance recipients in Nova Scotia stand to lose a good chunk of buying power to inflation. In 2020, when people on income assistance finally get a raise, that raise in most cases gets eaten up by inflation, and then some.
In other news, Community Services spent millions less on welfare payments last year than it anticipated.
Stella Lord, of the Community Society to End Poverty in Nova Scotia, writes on this year’s budget, and welfare transformation. “nstead of punitive regulations and an outdated categorical budget deficit model that pre-defines “need” but keeps people constantly “in need,” we require a social safety net and service-delivery model worthy of the name. How about one that rests on social justice, human rights, and community well-being?”