welcome our new organizer!

We are excited to announce that we found our new organizer!

Welcome to Kell Gerlings, who has slowly been starting with Raise the Rates over the past few weeks. Kell is a queer youth activist, originally from Toronto, living on Unceded poetry againCoast Salish lands for 6 years now. Kell studied political science and social justice at UBC, and has been involved in many different organizing spaces in their time here– from climate justice to gender justice, in the classroom and on the streets. Most recently, Kell has helped launch the Vancouver Tenants Union, and is involved in the struggle for housing justice in the Downtown Eastside. Kell is excited to bring their passion for justice and energy for mobilizing to the Raise the Rates fight.

Over the next few weeks and months, we are going to be brainstorming where we want to go and what we can do, and do differently, as a campaign. This is the perfect time as the government changes hands to strategize and imagine what we want and need to see happen next. Keep an eye out for updates in this space — and save the date for Monday June 26th, for our Thank You//What’s Next? event. More details to come!

You can get in touch with any ideas and plans for Raise the Rates at our new central email address:


Inequality Kills 40,000 Canadians a Year

Low Welfare Rates Cause Early Death

At a mock funeral today people commemorated the shameful 10th anniversary of BC’s frozen welfare rates.

“Welfare cheques don’t come with a health warning,” said Raise the Rates organizer Bill Hopwood.  “But about 100 people every week are killed in BC” because politicians have decided to promote poverty and inequality.

Hopwood was speaking at the event called by Raise the Rates to make the point that low welfare rates contribute to the inequality that causes about 40,000 deaths a year  in Canada.

“Inequality is a political decision,” explained Hopwood.  “The richest 1% in BC got a $41,000 a year tax break.  The government must think it’s harder to be a millionaire than to live on welfare of $610 a month.”

“Wealth is not being fairly distributed,” said Dr. John Millar, former BC Public Health officer.  As a result there is a “loss of hope, feeling of despair, pain and mental illness.”

Carmen Paterson called on the government to raise welfare rates to $1500 or more so people can have a healthy standard of living.

Without higher welfare, disability and minimum wages people living with HIV “are more likely to die in poverty just as they’re winning the war on HIV,” said Neil Self or Positive Living.

Raise the Rates is calling on the province to increase welfare rates to at least $1500 a month, the federal market basket measure, to promote more health better lives for low income people.  The last increase in welfare for single people on basic welfare was on April 1, 2007.



Inequality Kills 40,000 Canadians a year

Friday, March 31, Raise the Rates is holding a funeral walk, for the 40,000 people killed by government policies that create inequality .

April 1 is 10 years since basic welfare was last raised in BC, frozen at $610 a month . Statistics Canada reports that inequality kills 40,000 Canadians a year. BC has the worst inequality in Canada.

Gather at Carnegie (Main & Hastings) at 10 am on Friday March 31, set off about 10:15 to walk to the welfare office at Main & Powell. There we will have eulogies.

You are welcome to join us.

Report in the Toronto Star on Inequality Kills


Organizer for Raise the Rates

Raise the Rates is looking to employ an organizer.

The job description is below.

If you are interested please apply. Also feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested.


Raise the Rates Campaign Organizer
Contract hours: ~ 15 – 20 hours per week
Pay rate: $20/hr. plus 15% in lieu of benefits
Commencing: Ideally during May 2017

Raise the Rates is a coalition of community organizations, faith based groups and unions working to get government to raise welfare rates, build more social housing, eliminate arbitrary barriers to accessing welfare, increase the minimum wage and raise taxes for the wealthy.

Raise the Rates uses a variety of activities and events to raise public awareness of the many reasons to significantly increase the present poverty welfare rates in BC.


  • Organize actions/events involving local residents and community organizations to raise the profile of the campaign
  • Convene, support and report to regular Raise the Rates meetings
  • Act on the decisions of Raise the Rates’ meetings
  • Support Raise the Rates volunteers
  • Create media releases and organize and host press conferences to cover events of campaign
  • Liaise with local community organizations, Raise the Rates coalition partners and supporting organizations about the work and plans of Raise the Rates
  • Ensure ongoing financial stability of Raise the Rates


  • Strong knowledge of poverty issues and issues facing the Downtown Eastside Community
  • Previous experience leading lobbying campaigns or anti poverty campaigns
  • Excellent communication skills – both written and verbal
  • Ability to listen and treat people with respect, and build good working relationships based on trust and cooperation
  • Ability to use e-mail and social media to promote campaign

Email resume plus 2 letters of reference plus a half page essay on the causes of poverty to:

by April 21, 2017.


I, Daniel Blake

blakeThursday, March 2,
Doors open 7 pm and film starts at 7:30,
The Cultch, 1895 Venables St

Admission by donation, suggested $20 with a reasonable income, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Tickets at the box office on the night.

Raise the Rates, with others, is pleased to have a pre-release showing of Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake.

This is a hard-hitting look at the reality of the British welfare system. After the film, there will be a panel discussion on comparisons with BC’s experience.