Raise the Rates

The MLA Welfare Challenge is a project of Raise the Rates, a coalition of community groups and organisations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia.

In 2002, the provincial government cut welfare rates and introduced arbitrary barriers that keep people in need from getting help. Since then, homelessness has at least doubled and BC has more people living below the poverty line than any other province in Canada.

Raise the Rates Demands

Raise the Rates is calling for along term Poverty Reduction Strategy for BC. However, in the short term, 5 simple policy changes would lift hundreds of thousands of BC’s poorest residents out of poverty and homeless people off the streets:

1. Increase income assistance rates to the Market Basket Measure ($1300 a month in Vancouver) and index them to inflation.
2. Remove the arbitrary barriers
that keep people in need from receiving income assistance, including the 2-year independence test, the 5-week work search, and restrictions based on citizenship status.
3. Increase the minimum wage to $12/hour
and index it to inflation.
4. Build at least 2000 units of affordable non-market housing per year
in addition to supportive housing, assisted living units and shelter beds.
5. Increase the tax rate on people who earn over $250,000 a year
and reverse the tax cuts to corporations.

7 thoughts on “Raise the Rates

  1. i live on less then the welfare rate,right now i’m on pwd person with disablitys..i get 531 to live on…i couldn’t even live bymyself if i wanted too….i have no idea what has happened to my back…beening going to doc, for a year and in so much pain can’t even wait….so if i had a choice which i feel has been taken away do to no fault of my own,i would rather work then live on 531. a month

  2. Talk about getting a job that’s worse than being on welfare…I got a job to get out of welfare from a temp agency. They told me it was an ongoing temporary job with a not-for-profit organization at $12.00/hour. I thought it was at least a start. I would look for another job after I got on my feet. But the economy is crap and I can’t find anything.

    It’s crazy-crazy-crazy-busy. I have worked in places where I’ve gotten paid much more to do a job a quarter this crazy – that’s how crazy it is. I found out after I took the job if I get sick, I don’t get paid. No benefits. No holidays. Everyone else there gets one day off in accord every two weeks plus holidays. There are two of us in this position and are absolutely swamped in paperwork.

    The big-wigs who get paid pretty well shrug their shoulders, smile and say ‘thanks for your dedication. The therapists in the place are reputed to make $30.00 an hour. 80 staff members and just 3 admin staff to answer phones, file and format letters and do records management (not including accounting.) My husband is disabled. I don’t have the money to do the things that I used to in order to keep us healthy and work like a D O G. at the same time. I’ll need new glasses soon. New shoes? New clothes? I am the receptionist – the voice and face of the organization and the woman who works with me also handles much of the correspondence that goes out there.

    Some Not-for-profits screw admin staff because supporters don’t want to give money to an organization for their administrative costs. Guess what? We have to eat and feed our families too. We need more than well rehearsed smiles and pats on the back. If anyone believes these positions should be volunteer run, well I’m pretty sure any volunteer would not last very long. The work is very complicated and involved. There ought to be a law. Slavery is alive and well under this guise. And doctors who pay their receptionists nothing are also getting away with murder. Who is monitoring these culprits?

  3. The problems of welfare have been pointed out for decades; welfare is not guaranteed, it is not livable, it is not universal (instead it is highly intrusive and bureaucratic because of complex and punishing rules), it is degrading and causes high amounts of stress which has been shown over and over to worsen or cause health problems which also impacts the health care system. The costs of poverty are so high that there is no reason to not immediately implement a guaranteed Livable income that is unconditional and universal. The benefits to society especially when considering impacts of child poverty would be incalculable.
    “A system that is less expensive than welfare and also less debasing to the poor, it seems to me, should not be objectionable to anybody but hardcore sadists.” Robert Anton Wilson
    http://www.whywork.org/rethinking/whywork/rawilson.html
    A garden of links here: http://www.livableincome.org/links.htm

  4. there is a fan page on facebook called raise the rates break free of proverty feel free to come and post your stories and videos anything you may have to raise awairness and push the goverment to get on this like the saying goes do it for today not for tomorrow

  5. Hurray, raise the rates..!
    If money is simply “Fiat Currency” why do governments keep people living below the poverty line.?

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