Sunday July 23, 2017 


Pov News

A Drop in the Bucket

Raising welfare rates to affordability living

Jean Swanson, RRC


aise the Rates Coalition is calling on the new BC Government to commit to actually changing the lives of people in poverty, rather than continuing the same scam of the last decade.

Raise the Rates expects that the $100 increase just announced by the new Premier, John Horgan, is the first step to tackling deep poverty. After all, Christy Clark proposed a $100 increase as part of her desperate bid to stay in power.

Raise the Rate looks forward to meeting with the new government to plan prompt and meaningful action to tackle the deep poverty in BC.

“The fact is, the numbers don’t lie. Going from $610/month to $710/month gives people $4/day to live on now, after paying the average rent of an SRO at $548/month. Who can survive in this city on $4/day?” asked Jean Swanson, an advocate with Raise the Rates. “We know that what we need is an increase to Stats Canada’s market basket measure of $1500/month, period.”

BC has one of the highest rates of poverty in the entire country. Having had welfare rates frozen for over a decade, an increase of $100 is hardly a drop in the bucket towards significantly reducing poverty, or, as Horgan stated, helping people to “live in dignity”. While it is promising that there is talk of a poverty reduction strategy, words prove nothing in politics without concrete action.

“The solutions to poverty are straightforward; it simply needs a change of priorities. For too long government gave huge tax handouts to the rich, while people at work and on welfare struggled in poverty,” said Bill Hopwood, anti-poverty advocate and organizer. “With real change that raises welfare and the minimum wage, builds social housing and taxes the rich we can end poverty in BC.”



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