End of fund means $25 per month less for some Manitoba welfare recipients
|Toronto Star 15 Apr 2019 at 15:07|
WINNIPEG‚ÄĒManitoba‚Äôs Progressive Conservative government is cutting benefits for some welfare recipients by $25 a month as part of a medium-term overhaul of social assistance.
Starting next month, the province is ending a job-seeking allowance for recipients who are not disabled and who do not have children.
The allowance was set up a decade ago by the former NDP government and Families Minister Heather Stefanson said it has been given out with no strings attached.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs more of a handout than a hand up,‚ÄĚ Stefanson said Monday.
‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt actually have to be actively seeking employment, so we believe that there‚Äôs a better way ... to provide incentives for people to move them from dependency to independency in the community.‚ÄĚ
Other departments, such as Education and Training, already have specific funding that people can apply for to help cover the cost of job-hunting, she added.
A poverty-rights group said the cut will hurt.
‚ÄúThere are travel costs. There is resume-printing. There is having a hair cut. Those are costs that are borne by people on social assistance when they‚Äôre looking for work,‚ÄĚ Josh Brandon with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg said.
‚ÄúTo take that ($25) away is really a step backward for poverty reduction in this province.‚ÄĚ
Two years ago the province reduced rental subsidies for low-income earners in both public housing and the private market.
The Tory government announced in its throne speech last November that it would move more employable people from welfare into the workforce. It said the array of current programs is inconsistent and nonstandardized.
‚ÄúWe found various programming over the years incentivizes people to stay on (welfare), and we know that people really want to be active and leading independent lives in the community,‚ÄĚ Stefanson said Monday.
‚ÄúThis is sort of an ongoing thing to the extent that we can find programs like this that aren‚Äôt really achieving the intended results and look toward other ways to make improvements.‚ÄĚ