$100 Increase in BC Assistance Rates Just the Beginning
The new BC premier, John Horgan, has asked the BC Ministry of Social Development to make several major and immediate changes to the BC disability assistance program:
- Raise all income assistance and disability rates by $100 per month–this change begins on September 20th 2017 (October benefits).
- Allow an additional $200 a month in earnings exemptions to income assistance and disability recipients (expected in a few months).
- Restore the BC Bus Pass program, an effective $52/month increase in assistance (expected in a few months).
He has also asked the minister to:
- Develop a basic income pilot in some areas of BC to test if giving people a basic income is effective in reducing poverty, improving health, housing and employment in BC.
- Design and administer a BC-wide poverty-reducing plan with targets and reasonable timelines.
- Work to develop a homelessness action plan to reduce the homeless population through housing and social services.
The coming changes were announced (July 18 2017) in Premier Horgan’s mandate letter to the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Shane Simpson. Horgan congratulated Simpson on being newly appointed and summarized BC’s new goals for social development and poverty issues. Three broad commitments were decided for the government to meet for BC:
- Make life in BC more affordable for everyone.
- Make all services available and accessible for everyone, such as children getting quality public education, families receiving timely medical attention, and senior citizens being able to live their final years comfortable and happy.
- Build a strong and sustainable economy that works for everyone, create good-paying jobs all over the province, and reduce poverty and inequality
Horgan stated that there was a general consensus that we need to address several issues in BC such as health care, overcrowded and understaffed classrooms in schools, climate change, handling the current opioid crisis rampaging in BC and getting safe and affordable childcare for families in BC.
Horgan acknowledged that meeting all those goals would involve dedication, hard work and commitment but he felt confident that it will happen.