MLA Welfare Challenge

Raise the Rates has launched a new campaign for October 2012 – the Welfare Food Challenge! Anyone can participate in this Challenge to live on only the food they can purchase for $26 for a week. Find out more about it at

Raise the Rates, organizers of the MLA Welfare Challenge, will continue to raise public awareness and advocate for public policy changes, including increasing welfare rates. Please consider making a donation to support this work.

Latest updates:

Tuesday, February 1, after a last night ‘couch surfing’ in Surrey, Jagrup Brar ended his month of living on the welfare rate of $610. He lost 26 pounds in weight, ended up $7 in debt and had to sell his backpack to have enough money to take the Skytrain back to Surrey.

Raise the Rates thanks Jagrup Brar for his courage and commitment to spending a month in poverty. Keep visiting this website for more updates from Jagrup and campaign information from Raise the Rates.

As Jagrup Brar has said many times, BC is a wealthy province and we can do better. We expect the politicians of BC to act to end the suffering of the 500,000 in poverty due to low wages and inadequate welfare rates.

10 reasons to raise welfare, voted on by people in the DTES of Vancouver:

  1. We wouldn’t have to rely on food banks and lines.
  2. So families won’t have their children apprehended.
  3. The cheque doesn’t take you all the way through the month.
  4. We have no shower, no washroom, you have to share with everyone on the floor; you want to quit drugs or alcohol, you can’t in this condition.
  5. Wouldn’t have to do risky things to survive.
  6. Can’t get enough food.
  7. Self worth and confidence.
  8. It would help avoid crises.
  9. Can’t buy clothes or anything.
  10. No personal life as a result (of low welfare rates).

The MLA Welfare Challenge was issued in 2011 by Raise the Rates, a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia. The purpose of the Challenge is to highlight the depth of poverty which 500,000 people across BC have to endure.

Jagrup Brar, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood accepted the Challenge to live on $610 for the month of January. He is spending half the month in Surrey and half in Vancouver. While his experiences are not the same as people on living on welfare as he was in good mental and physical health when he started and he knows it will end after a month, none the less he will live on $610 and discover how little money that is. He is also meeting many other people on welfare and in poverty and learning of their experiences.

On the website you’ll find Jagrup Brar’s blog, facts and information about welfare and poverty in BC, a blog by a Downtown Eastside resident about Jagrup’s experiences, as well as some videos and links to media coverage.

We invite you to explore the website, share it with friends and contribute yourself.
Jagrup Brar accepts the MLA Welfare Challenge:

W2TV: MLA Welfare Challenge 2011 from Sid Tan on Vimeo.

38 thoughts on “MLA Welfare Challenge

  1. The only news about this I can access is five days old, where is the daily blog stuff?? All this is the same news endlessly repeated, no news at all.

  2. I give you a lot of credit for doing what you are doing & realizing the struggles for the people on welfare. I wish more representatives would try this and see for themselves what people go through.
    As a councillor for my tribe I see and hear the stuggles for my people. We live on a remote island and rely on the BC ferry for transportation, and at close to $10 per person and $20 for vehicle, this makes it very difficult for people to get what they need. They can’t just go walk down the street and pick up groceries because we do not have a store on our island. I wish our MLA would do what you are doing and come to our island and survive on a welfare cheque.
    I will keep updated on your story and hopefully you have read my post.

    Thank you,
    Penelakut tribe councillor

    • Get a job. Be inventive. Use your mind and imagination. Do not just sit around on your BUTT. Do something and be proud of yourself. How where you raised?????

  3. After I pay my rent, hydro and phone and buy a few groceries, I am totally broke. There is no leftover money for milk or bread or any other food items during the month. I go to the food bank and hope to get some. I am getting so fed up, I might pitch a tent this spring. No one will hire me because I’m over 50 and have a mental disorder, but I can still work part-time. I have no friends or relatives to depend on or help me. My beloved little dog is sick and needs vet attention which she is going to get this Spring, even if it means living on the street.

    • I used to live in Alberta but relocated to BC in 2008. Stupid mistake! I was on a $1,000 mth AiSH benefit. Here in BC i barely exist on a miserly PWD of $906 per month. The Govt needs to let us live!! Screw the Olympics! I cant afford milk for my coffee anymore! I cant even buy veggies (total luxury). RAISE THE PWD BENEFIT AMOUNT to match Alberta.

  4. In the 1970s there was a federal experiment called the Manitoba Mincome where an entire town was given a guaranteed annual income. The outcomes are just now being examined by Dr. Evelyn Forget of the University of Manitoba. She found better health and education outcomes; check her draft report here:
    ( here )

    There were also positive outcomes from a recent pilot project in a village in Namibia Namibia Basic Income Grant Pilot Project

  5. Part 1 of 3 – Work Credits – Eliminating Canadian Welfare – MLA Jagrup Brar

    I came across the article “Living on welfare tests MLA’s endurance” in the Thursday edition January 13-19, 2012 edition of The Epoch Times – Ottawa Edition.

    As it so happens I have a solution for the Canadian government to completely get rid of the need for Welfare Programs, which cause an unnecessary expense for the Canadian government and the Canadian people.

    Epoch Times has my permission to print this solution that would fundamentally change life in Canada for everyone, making their lives financially better and more fulfilled.

    Currently the only fiscal constraint on the Canadian government is how it values the Canadian people and their ability to do work that benefits their society.

    By adopting the new financial concept of “Work Credits” the Canadian government can not only eliminate the Welfare system it can empower the 3 million unemployed Canadians to create their own jobs. Work Credits eliminates unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

    “Work Credits” fundamentally changes how a country values its citizens and the work effort that they can do to benefit their society.

    The financial concept of “Work Credits” allows a country to revalue its money supply based on its most valuable natural resource, “Its People”.

    People are assigned a life time value to do work for their community, city, province and country. This value is then added to the province’s / country’s money supply.

    People are then paid very two weeks for doing work that benefits their society.

    It is really a very simple financial concept to eliminate unemployment, poverty and homelessness in the Canada (which has 3 million unemployed) and saving the 68,000 government jobs to be cut.

    By changing the financial system of Canada to a “Work Credit” based society the Canadian government can then assign a value of $50,000 (for example) to all of its citizens. Canadian citizens now come with a built in economic value of $50,000 (for example) to do work that benefits their society. Work that can include working for the Canadian government (local, provincial, federal). Benefits to the Canadian government include a drop of 80% in government employee expenses because all Canadian government employees now come with a built in economic value of $50,000.

    “Work Credits” puts money into the hands of the people who need it the most to support both themselves, their families, and their local economy.

    By assigning people a value to do work in their society the entire society benefits. Work gets done that needs to be done and local economy benefits.

    People who are unemployed and not generating income hurt the entire local economy.

    How does the financial concept of “Work Credits” work?

    For example citizens would be valued at $50,000 a year. (To do work that benefits their society.)

    Person’s value = (100 years – person’s age) x $50,000

    Country money supply = (100 years – median population age) x country population x $50,000

    Country working capital = Country money supply x 7%

    In a “Work Credit” based society unemployment, poverty and homelessness are eliminated. This is because each person is now valued at $50,000 a year to do work for their society, what ever it is and what is legal.

    “Work Credits” is NOT about equality, simply that the first $50,000 of a person’s yearly salary is covered by their own economic value.

    People can work for the government, military, a company, be self employed, be a stay at home parent, be paid to go to school K to 12, college and university.

  6. Part 2 of 3 – Work Credits – Eliminating Canadian Welfare – MLA Jagrup Brar

    Government salary expenses drop 80%, military salary expenses drop 80%, public and private company salary expenses drop 80%, groups of people can now create their own companies knowing they will be paid to do so. One parent can remain at home to care and raise the children. A Stay-At-Home-Parent is now a recognized job and paid for. Children are now paid to go to school. Society now recognizes that the MOST important job a child can do is to go to school and learn. Older students are paid to go to college and university. Likewise this is their job and they are paid to do it.

    It is a fundamental shift in human civilization to place a monetary value on a person and their ability to do work in their society that will benefit that society.

    The financial concept of “Work Credits” does not cost society anything, rather for the first time it recognizes its people as the country’s MOST valuable natural resource.

    In a “Work Credit” based society it is impossible to be unemployed, in poverty, and homeless.

    “Work Credits” are independent of a nation’s energy reserves. When the world’s oil supplies begin to run out between 2020 and 2030 the Canadian economy can still keep running smoothly with 100% of the country’s population employed.

    The financial concept of “Work Credits” is the modern financial solution for the Canadian economy. The solution is easy. The technology exists to do it.

    Simply value people as the country’s most valuable natural resource and assign them a monetary value to do work in their society.

    “Work Credits” provides a solid economic foundation for local economy.

    “Work Credits” eliminates the need for a welfare system.

    “Work Credits” eliminates the need for an unemployment system.

    “Work Credits” eliminates the need for a retirement system. People are now valued to do work until they are 100 years old.

    “Work Credits” eliminates economic crime by 95%. There is no reason for anyone to steal as they now have a built in economic value of $50,000 (for example) to do work to benefit their society.

    Canadian taxation drops 80%. The need to tax the gross income of Canadian citizens is GREATLY reduced. This benefits everyone in Canadian society.

    Because everyone now comes with a yearly base economic value of $50,000 a year (for example) there is NO need to collect taxes to pay for Canadian government salaries (local, provincial, federal). A country’s working capital account pays for infrastructure projects and higher salary expenses.

    Public stock markets surge as 66% more of the Canadian population can now invest in the stock market and public companies.

    The financial concept of “Work Credits” can eliminate the Canadian Welfare system by changing how the Canadian government values its citizens. Assign Canadian citizens a value to do work and empower people to create their own jobs to benefit their community, city, province and country.

    This article was originally written to save 68,000 Canadian government jobs planning to be cut. Work Credits allows the Canadian government (local, provincial and federal) to hire everyone they need to run their operations smoothly, and put all 3 million unemployed Canadians back to work contributing to their society, local economy, and economic system.

    “Work Credits” financial system. Place an economic value on the country’s most valuable natural resource “It’s People” and add this economic value to the country’s money supply to be paid back to the people for work effort performed. It is that easy!

    “Work Credits” the economic solution for the Canadian government, and Canada

    Arnold Vinette
    Ottawa, Canada

  7. Part 3 of 3 – Work Credits – Eliminating Canadian Welfare – MLA Jagrup Brar

    Work Credits – A new financial economy for Canada

    Values Canadian Citizens as the country’s most valuable natural economic resource.

    Proposed Value for a Canadian citizen is $50,000 a year to do work that benefits their society.

    Canadian Citizen’s Value = (100 years – person’s age) x $50,000

    Canada’s Money Supply = (100 years – median population age) x country population x $50,000

    Canada’s Working Capital = Country money supply x 7%

    Based on median age of population 39.5 years in 2011.

    Canadian population in 2011 is 34,711,000.

    Canadian Citizen’s Value = (100 years – 39.5 years) x $50,000

    Canadian Citizen’s Value = $3,025,000

    Canada’s Money Supply = (100 years – 39.5 years) x 34,711,000 x $50,000

    Canada’s Money Supply = $105,000,775,000,000 = $105 trillion dollars

    Canada’s Working Capital = $105,000,775,000,000 x 7%

    Canada’s Working Capital = $7,350,054,250,000 = $7.35 trillion dollars a year

    Canada’s Working Capital pays for medicare, military, government and infrastructure projects.

    Work Credits eliminate unemployment, poverty and homelessness in Canada.

  8. The above three comments have been given to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and too many government bodies in the European Union who are experiencing severe financial debt due to high government expenses and high country unemployment.

    The financial concept of “Work Credits” can work in any country of the world to eliminate unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

    This article was refined today to help save 68,000 Canadian government jobs.

    The problem is NOT Canadian government spending, but rather not valuing the Canadian people appropriately to do work in their society.

    Give people a value to do beneficial work in their society and it will change civilization for the better.

    The financial concept of “Work Credits” eliminates the need for Welfare Programs, by giving all Canadian citizens a yearly economic value of $50,000 (for example) to do work that benefits their community, city, province or ccountry. What ever it is these people love to do and what is legal.

    Arnold Vinette is a native of British Columbia. Born in Princeton. Age 49 years.

    Arnold Vinette
    Ottawa, Canada

  9. To be reduced to living in filthy dumps eating garbage and vermin in order to survive; to lose self respect and the respect of loved ones; to lose one’s home, possessions, livelihood, health and life because of a lack of something as unnecessary as money are tragedies that, hopefully, future generations will be able to avoid forever.

    Poverty is having to sell your children so the remaining family members may survive awhile longer. Poverty is people buying infants, drugging them and cutting off their legs and one arm; as the children grow up, they beg on street corners for their owners. This is somewhat like the Middle Ages. Comprachicos, or child buyers, would buy infants from impoverished parents, put them bent over into ceramic vases, sometimes having to break their bones first, then allowed to grow into whatever shape the ceramic vase had. The unfortunate survivors were used to amuse royalty and the wealthy.

    Poverty is homeless families living on one square of pavement for generations. It’s nine- and ten- year-old prostitutes and children abandoned by the tens of thousands in the big cities of the world, or orphaned by the many wars spawned by America. Forced into child labor, abused by adults and taught to use drugs, they eventually become criminals or unclaimed corpses in a morgue. It’s a mind numbing, soul-destroying existence that breeds crime, ignorance and ill health. But that’s Capitalism for you.

    excerpt from, “Ultimate Poverty. Unlimited Wealth”,

  10. Did he try to get a job – the one a person from the street could try to get – during this month? Because welfare is given to people with expectation that they won’t LIVE on it, but SURVIVE jobless period. This is a real challenge. This is a direction to move: not making welfare bigger to make life easier for people who prefer not to work (because I know personally a lot of those), but to help everyone who is able to find the work – and only then help more those who can not.

  11. I am a single parent taking care of my daughter who has CP, She is 21 and on disability assistance. I have been taking care of her and have never asked for any help, but recently I lost my job and I am looking every where and can’t find anything, so now I am on welfare and yes it is very hard to live on only very little. when you are on the system, you will not realize what it feels to have such little money and pay bills and buy groceries. I don’t remember the last time I went out for a cup of coffee -what’s that!!!. I have always helped everyone who needs help but when it is my turn I see the back of their heads.If you call and ask for more money to help you out they give you 20 per person and you have better have a good excuse and that is all you get for the year. How can you treat a person like that, who has contributed all her life then is laid off and has to ask for help and is given very little money is this how Canada pays you back.

  12. Thanks for doing this, I wish more MLA’s would have participated. My Son has been impacted by meeting homeless on the streets and those in need that in his short life of 14 years he has taken steps to helping where he can. He recently wrote a song and published it on iTunes and is giving all profit to help the homeless. He wishes he could do more and that others would as well.

  13. Although I admired this MLA for stepping up and offering to ‘try’ to live on welfare for 1 month, I have to admit it seems some basic realities are being over looked. First off he started the month off on the 1st of January with the money. I remind the public that the cheques for January were issued December 19th- 6 days before christmas. To expect a hungry family or a family with nothing for Christmas not to tap into that before Jan 1st is very unrealistic. December 19th till January 24 is a tad longer then 1 month. Also did he have to buy winter clothing or clothing at all? Did he have to buy cold meds or vitamins or get a hair cut during that ‘1 month’ ? Where did he do his laundry? Diabetic needles that are not covered by medical? Get his eyes tested which is not covered? Was there any unexpected expenses that cropped up leaving him to stretch that money any further? Although a noble gesture- 1 month does not even come close to accurate reflection of the cost of living that creeps in during extended existence on Income Assistance.

    • I can’t presume to answer for Mr. Brar and you raise excellent points Mara but let’s look realistically at what he’s done. His “experiment” has raised the issue in the public consciousness to a level that hasn’t been seen for many years. Middle–class people caught up in their own struggles over the past few years have turned their backs on people less fortunate. Jagrup is holding a mirror up for them to see where their callousness has led. Of course everybody says “it’s not my problem” but Jagrup has answered, “yes, it is.”

      I will relate an experience of my own. I lived in Los Angeles in the 80s. And I was homeless there for one single night–just one night–a picnic or camping out to a true homeless person. But even in a warm city like that I was freezing cold that night and more seriously scared, scared to go to sleep, scared of what my future was going to look like. After that night I couched surfed for a month then lucked into a job and got on my feet. I have never forgotten that and since then I have felt what a tragedy homelessness is and how much I admire homeless people who struggle on. It and our welfare system is a stain on our society.

      Jagrup has said himself that he knows it is only a month and does not compare to being condemned to such bare survival. But he may be surprised himself how deeply it affects him.

    • So you would prefer that someone with NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL choose political outcomes affecting people on welfare??

      At least he has the Courage to try having this small taste – He will not get the Malaise of seeing this as his future for the next whatever number of years that others who – inadvertantly or otherwise – get trapped there – do end up feeling – but having had a small taste at least helps him to see that potential or feel something to reflect that idea – something – some idea – some experience is Better than NOTHING – leastways it worked that way in my life – homeless ten+ years – no welfare – no odsp – no money – try a tatse of that one

      • Stephanie Cadieux, the Minister responsible for welfare, was asked why she didn’t accept the challenge. She said she didn’t think she would learn anything useful…..

  14. Even though I have lived in Winnipeg my entire life,I was placed on disability Social Assistance with my sister(both have emotional/physical problems)for many years.We cannot go ‘job hunting’ eithe,r as the phychologist said our ‘mental state’ won’t be as like it used to be(dealing with severe anxiety/depression).Long story short,I really hope the Gov’t will increase rent rates asap, as its dispicable as well as inhumane.At times, the foreigners that come here get a ten or twenty thousand dollar grant as a ‘welcome’ package to live here(not sure if they all get it?)The born Canadians are placed on the back burner and the Politicians don’t take a second glance at our situation and let us sleep under bridges,as long as they have money in their pockets & thats good for them.Long story short,where my sister and I reside, we have a Jamaican landlord thats not only racial against french Metis(don’t ask us why, as I even try to cut his side of the property during summer as we’re doing our side,being kind).He treats us like wax out of his ear & this is how he thanks Canadians welcoming him and his family into the country!?I think not.If he’s so miserable here,why doesn’t he just go back.Last but not least,due to not enough rent we’ve been stuck here for five years with his descriminating mouthy stares/remarks and we are literally stranded with this moronic landlord for heaven knows how long!When we ask for things to be done around the duplex, he mouths off saying theres nothing wrong so the problem never gets repaired!My one TRUE WISH would be Social Assistance getting a helluva ‘face lift’ and get the rent increases higher.It’ll make all the difference!

  15. I think all the politicians should experience this challenge!!! I am a single mother with MS and have a daughter in her second year university. I have to work part time and I am very fortunate to still be able to work. I am allowed to make an extra $500.00 and then what I make over that disability takes it dollar for dollar! When I get child support, which in not consistent, that is also taken off dollar for dollar! You can never get ahead and it is very frustrating. I can get the child support in my daughters name but with no legal aid that will cost me $500.00 dollars to do it legally. You become stuck within the system!. Changes need to be made through out the system and quickly as poverty is extremely prevelant within BC

  16. These here are the kind of comments I see daily. I just thought I would share with you what many people think of those of us on welfare or disability…

    ” No we don’t follow rich people around and judge them. but then again it’s their own money they earned. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,” consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

    If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choice’s.”

    That is one of the many statements I see so often, or that we can afford expensive cars, lobster and steak. Someone needs to break these myths. It seems people feel we choose to live this way and that it is fun. Of course more often than not it is someone who had everything handed to them in life, and has never had to lower themselves to dig in bins etc. And they probably never will.

    I hope what Jagrup has done is helpful in getting the change so much needed to change this system. I applaud him for doing it to show what those of us on the system go through on an almost daily basis.

  17. I have been on welfare for four years now in Ontario. The rate I receive has virtually unchanged since I was first put on the system. I have actively tried to find employment to no avail. I will say that I have a record, am a born Canadian, and white. So therefore I am the last of the people selected for jobs. And when there is only one job to four people, it’s disgraceful.

    My depression which started in my teens has become full-blown and unmanageable in the last few years of living below the poverty line. I am now filing for disability… Something that I didn’t want to do out of pride I guess, but have no choice in the matter anymore. Although it won’t be much of an increase, it will at least pay my $425 in rent, Ontario Works currently pays $375 maximum.

    I don’t know of a single place for rent at $375, not even rooms in houses are that cheap. I split a basement apartment with someone else to be able to get my rent so cheap, Bachelors in Toronto go for $600, or a DOLLAR MORE than welfare gives you for rent and basic needs put together.

    I do have other people helping me out here and there, knowing full well that I can never pay them back. I wish I didn’t have to rely on anybody else. Oh and if I told them that I even got $20 from someone, they would take it off of my cheque. It is utterly disgusting the state our social services are in.


  18. i live off of 800$ a month (unemployment) and I find it nearly impossible and completely depressing. So glad I went to university so now I am in debt for a student loan and still can’t find any work! It’s hard. And it’s heartbreaking when you can’t give all that you wish you could, when you have to tell a child that you will have to reschedule that sledding day because you can’t put 10$ in the gas tank. I don’t expect anyone to give me money for nothing. I want a job. I want to contribute, and I am able to but there are simply no jobs. I done what I was told was right, I went to school and am supposed to be a scientist. But now it’s been three years and I don’t see it getting any better. My life is passing me by while I live cheque to cheque, eating less then I should, just wait for the cheque to come to pay the bills, then wait for the next one to pay the bills again. It’s a cycle, and once your stuck in it you see no future and no hope. I can imagine living off of 610$ a month, but I wouldn’t call it “living”.
    But realistically, where does this money come from? Can we, as a country, afford to increase the welfare rates? And who should get welfare, and for how long? I think many people agree that the system is being abused, so how are we supposed to determine who gets what money and for how long? I’m glad I’m not the one who has to figure that all out. It’s a sad situation.

  19. I agree with cherllb: Why did Stephanie Cadieux not think she could learn from the experience? I have met many officials that say the same thing. How could they NOT? Do they honestly believe that they know all there is to do this. Other jobs require practicums and I believe this type of job absolutely needs it. Also, Mara Nord points out that Jagrup recieved a check on the 1st;when January checks were issued on the 19th of December.He was lucky enough to spend the holidays at home with some loving pats on the back and good lucks before his ” adventure “.. I would also love to afford to go out for coffee or buy something ” new “. The one thing he did have, tho was HOPE. He knew this was ending. For those living on assistance, their self-esteem and depression lowers to the point that ” one more NO ” would put them over the edge. I pray this experiment does work for the people and not just fade away. Many people have been talking or asking about it. The people would like to know just what will become of this knowledge; remembering that everyone does not own a computer.

  20. I’m really glad you did this. I consider myself very sympathetic to people living in poverty and yet when I first heard that IA is $610/mo my first thought was “well that’s not so bad, it’s $375 for rent and then $245 for groceries and things” which you show is a flawed perspective. Thank you for showing me this. Raise the rates! and eliminate the hassle for people to find decent support and healthy food and homes.

  21. There are many people who work retail and put alot of time and committment into their jobs, but many of these people are not given full time work, do not recieve bennefits, do not get paid days off and are working for minimum wage. Yet they are still expected to be available any time to work, must come in to cover for others who may be students and have sports, family or social commitments and these people will often be working overtime to complete to copious amount of work that their employer expects them to work, and they do not get paid for the overtime because they should not be working and should have finished their work already. However these people are very concerned about completing their work and are afraid to be replaced by someone else because we are alway replacable. I feel that too many employer take advantage of their employees and are able to get away with it. And I feel that buy having retail providing so many jobs that are not actually full time and are not good paying jobs that it helps to affect the unemployment rates, so that they look good but in reality its not many hours and not good pay.

  22. I am on welfare and was offered a job at a local retail outlet, but needed some training I could do from home that costs under $300, but my welfare office and 3 different programs in my area would not offer me funding to take this course to get the job. All that was available to me was career / job search training in my area, which in the past has done nothing to aid in getting a job. My question is: Does the welfare system really want to get people connected with employment? From my perspective it is designed to keep people on welfare.

  23. On top of my rent , which is only 375 I have to share in a house with 4 others and have no internet or cable and I can’t afford it. For basic needs I get 275 and I have to buy food and nessicities and it is gone in a week! So bullshit and I can’t even get a one bedroom an I an 18

  24. Some times this world is so cruel that the working people have to put the people on welfare down by calling them Lazy and worthless. I myself have emotional problems along with fibromialgia. I’m also a mother of a 3 year old and depend on my husband for alot of things especially on my painful days. My husband has been out of work for 8 years, he’s gone all over the city looking for work in those 8 years and yet no employer has hired him yet. Now our caseworker is threatening us for being on it so long to close our case, she is getting my husband who has a an attention problem to go to programs to help him, but he’s been through alot of government programs and when the program was over the employer would just lay him off. Alot of people don’t realise that it’s hard to find work for people with disabilities or with no experience cause it’s the employer being too lazy to train people.

  25. I think was an awesome adventure he did Now I wish someone would look into the lives of our seniors who when retired and have had jobs with no pensions can barely survive on the cppp and oap it is nit even up to a minimum wage salary USA is much higher and they dont tax at all old age pension checks Mr Layton did start to address seniors probs I hope it will continue

  26. You should be commended for undergoing this experience – so few of the decision makers and policy makers for this province have any idea about the way so many live. Bravo!

  27. I am on Welfare (I get health insurance and food assistance it is called SNAP here in the United States…) and I understand how hard it is to stretch out the food assistance money to last to the end of the month… But I am glad that I live in the United States because the prices are lower and that makes extreme couponing easier I mangage to stockpile food with coupons so when our food assistance money runs out we live off the stockpile, I use coupons for everything food, household & personal supplies, entertainment, going out… I was reading about the Can You Live On $610 a month we do not get any other assistance but my health insurance and $238 a month for 4 people so making every cent stretch is a challenge but i have managed to do it… I learned how to coupon by learning on my own, asking stores about their coupon policies, watching youtube videos, and reading blogs & articles… My one wish is that people stop looking down on people who recieve welfare there are people out there who are hard working and don’t waste the resources that we get..

  28. i think its great that people are taking a stand against low welfare rates but honestly being on disability myself i would kill to live on 26.00 a are the facts u dont know.our total check each is 908.00.out of that our rent portion is only,in order to get a proper rental like myself,to cover the 688.00 rent,u take the 375.00 and subtract from your 533.00 month support and that depends on the persons situation and for me that leaves me a grand total of 159.00 a month to live on and to pay bills and eat,so who out there would like to live on my monthly budget?work it out i live on less then 2 dollars a day to eat and pay bills

  29. These type of challenges are a farce. They already know what they want the outcome to be, before they even start.In this particular case, he wanted to show how difficult it would be.$100 month is plenty for one person.Maybe what you need is for a ‘frugal’ to teach welfare recipients how it should be done.Not someone who never watches their pennies, or probably even shopped for groceries before in their life.
    If cell phones are required for potential jobs, are the recipients even required to show if they looked for jobs? I doubt it. Do they make sure they are not hired, by arriving at a business dirty and sticky, and greasy hair and unshaven face (if male). :)
    The trouble is, no matter how much money we throw at welfare recipients, they will always say it is not enough.
    Maybe when they start doing away providing welfare to unmarried moms, this problem will decrease.So many are having children, as their live long job. If children were threatened to be removed and put into foster care, I’d bet you’d see more resourceful people. They would be sharing childcare services and possibly sharing a larger apt/house to save expenses. Taking in roommates. Living with their family/friends for awhile.
    Maybe they should be teaching these courses in school.

  30. I previously commented on the MLA’s ‘experiment’ and although he seemed genuine when he committed to the it, I have to wonder what he reaction is to his parties intentions now there is an election. This weekend they offered a $20/month within 2 years to those assistance. Wow. Here is an open letter I sent to many news outlets today and never received 1 reply. Seems those on welfare and disability mean nothing to anyone in this province.
    ***Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I am unsure of what I am expecting but I can no longer say nothing. I read an article by Wendy Cox, The Canadian Press, in your weekend online edition about the NDPs promises of upcoming changes to welfare rates if they win the election. I am confused, outraged and sickened by what they have offered. I believe the offer was $20/month within 2years and being able to make $400/month before deductions. $20 is going to life people out of poverty? Seriously did an living breathing human being just say that? In a province with the one of the most expensive cities to live and in and the shelter rates are $375/month INCLUDING utilities this is a ‘solution’?
    No where in the article did I read any increases for disability rates. I have googled for any information and have found nothing. Was it not the NDP MLA Jagrup Brar who went on to welfare 1 year ago to bring attention to low rates and the difficulties it was to survive on them? Did this MLA not demand that welfare rates be increased and issued a ‘Welfare Challenge’ to the Government for them meet Alberta’s rates of disability assistance from our rate of $906/month to $1,588/month? Was it not this political parties own MLA who bemoaned the impossibility of living on the rates here. Every year(day/week/month) we here of raising rents, food prices and cost of living growing at alarming rates here in BC. Never is there a increase in welfare rates to meet these rising costs. We are forced to do with less and less. The result is a demoralization of the soul, a loss of self respect and the ability to cope. Food banks give less and the food they do give is not healthy enough to sustain anyone long term. In the last couple of months there have been several people conversing on the Nanaimo’s Craigslist Rant and Rave section about the hopelessness and despair they are living in trying to exist on the disability amounts issued. Can you imagine a disabled person with any kind of mobility or mental health issues trying to find a safe place to live for $375/month INCLUDING utilities. Hydro alone will eat up most of that. As I read the posters plights a theme was most evident.-Despair to point of demoralization and thoughts of suicide. Sure they offered up a incentive of being able to keep $750/month of earnings recently if you are on disability but what about those who can not work? It is disability allowance we are speaking of. Many can not find work or are unable to work and those suffer even further. Those who rely on the system wholly are forced into abject poverty with no way of improving their circumstances. Is this what our governments are about? Is this what we do to most vulnerable of our peoples here in BC?
    Churchill said that you measure the degree of civilization of a society by how it treats its weakest members.
    I am also forwarding the link to Jagrup Brar’s Welfare Challenge for you to consider. Thank you, Mara

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