Reform The BC Welfare System

Reform The BC Welfare System

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Eric Boland Zaharia started this petition to John horgan and

As the cost of living in British Columbia is skyrocketing through the roof with the increase of the cost of food, renting and other expenses, people who are on the current welfare system in BC including Metro Vancouver are struggling to support themself. Vancouver has the highest cost of housing and the cost of living in North America according to recent studies. Source: CBC Vancouver Feb.2014

Most of the welfare, they only get $375 for Shelter which includes Housing and base utilities. The problem with that is you can't find a place for $375 in Southern BC, not even $600, but worst $1000.

The Current welfare payouts (2017-Present):

Disability Assistance: $1182*12= $14,184 a Year

Income Assistance: $375-$820.00*12= $4,500- $9,840

The Current rates is way below the Canadian poverty rate of $19,000 and the recommended cost of living in Metro Vancouver which is over $30,000 for a single individual. 

On both income assistance and PWD, the rent/housing payment is only $375. The average rent price for a single bedroom in Metro Vancouver is over $1200 a month. The starting price of rent in the City of Vancouver is over $1500 for a one-bedroom suite.

BC has the highest child poverty rate in the whole country. Source: CBC Vancouver: Nov. 2014

People on the Disability program face harder times because of the low program. I have a Disability, but I can still work. Jobs are hard to find and to stay. Most of the jobs that are available are only Part-time jobs and are at minimum wage, which most people have to have two or three jobs just to keep a roof over their heads and their kids.

Police are having issues around the Welfare payment days, as the highest drug overdoses and deaths happen around these days. Source: CBC Vancouver Sept. 24, 2014

The current problem is that faces poorer people including these on Disability uses places like Money Mart, Cash Money or other payday loans which charge high-interest loans. Tons of these people are locked into these types of shark loans, which affects their Financial in the future.

What should be reformed of the BC Welfare System:

1a) Increase the Welfare rates to the following rates, which will help the BC economy as there would be money to spend on goods and services.

New propose Payment rates:

Disability Assistance: should be a minimum of $1400 (for these who can work) to $1800 a month (For these who can't work) and change with inflation (Can make up to $12,000 extra for employment income). Include EI payment as employment income. Housing rate should be spit from regular rates.

Income Assistant: $700-$1100 and change with inflation (Have to prove they are looking for employment).

People on the Welfare will have a prove they are looking for jobs, by reporting their job search to the Government of BC, like the Government of Canada EI Program.

1b) increase the housing cost allowance from $375-$860 to more regional base costs for what the minimum advertised price for what that person would need for housing.Have that check be given to the landlord or mortgage company.

Housing Rates for PWD:

  • Studio or shared Bedroom: $600
  • One Bedroom (Single Person): $800-$1100
  • Two Bedroom (Two or small family): $800-$1300
  • Three Bedroom (Family): $900 to $1400

2) To deal with the increasing drug and overdose issues, Split up payments to every two weeks, not only will that help the Police and emergency services, but getting paid every two weeks, will help the BC economy as there would be more money being spent on products and goods then one payment per month.

Encourage the use of drug and substance rebab programs to help with the drug crisis in the province. Increase Support for Mental health treatment and support to help these with mental illness.

3) Have more affordable housing made available. The UN Human Rights Charter Article 25 said the following: 

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." -UN Human Rights. 

4) Job support includes more support in finding an employment job and help keep the jobs. Also support for the employer, which will help the person and the customers of the businesses.

The trust with Government officials has dropped steadily over the last many years which has included the following issues.

1) Lack and cutting off funding for the public education system in BC, which cause the teachers to go on strike, not once but two times. The First time was in 2012, caused issues with teaching to be an issue with lack of report cards and other issues. The Second time causes my friends that know, to have their future post-schooling to be in trouble.

2) Translink trust has sky drop to the bottom of the Public Trust. TransLink has knowingly wasted money on the non-working Compress program, which is two years and counting late. The failing Skytrain, which I had to reroute, which took 4 hours+ to get home, which would take just over an hour and a bit.

3) BC Ferries record high fares, BC Hydro record prices increasing, bringing in the HST which the public did not want. Source: straight.com (December 29, 2014)

4) No support for Kids after leaving Foster Care after Age 19, which I was a foster kid in the system. Source: News1130 (January 12, 2015)

5) ICBC losing over $2 billion over the last few years with the increasing cost of insurance. 

I hope to hear back from Premier John Horgan or Honourable Shane Simpson on the issue of Income Assistance on how the BC Government will change the program and how the Government will change it.

Farther Reading:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/income-assistance/on-assistance

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/bc-employment-and-assistance-rate-tables/income-assistance-rate-table

https://www.surreynowleader.com/news/youth-led-report-calls-on-b-c-government-to-create-plan-to-end-youth-homelessness/ -Feb 21, 2020 Surrey Now-Leader

https://www.straight.com/news/1287346/bc-legislative-committee-makes-no-recommendation-increase-welfare-rates- August 21, 2019- The Straight

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