Here are ideas for things you can do to encourage politicians to act to raise welfare rates and tackle poverty in BC.
This fact sheet has some of the key facts about the reality of welfare in BC. These will help you write letters to the editor, you MLAs, John Horgan, or draft a resolution.
Write to Provincial Politicians
Write to the Premier, John Horgan [firstname.lastname@example.org],email@example.com and Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Shane Simpson [shane.simpson.MLA@leg.bc.ca], or your provincial MLA. Find their contact information here: http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm.
Here’s a sample letter to your MLA:
Download a copy of the sample letter. (Word doc)
Dear [MLA Name],
I am a member of your constituency and I recently completed the Welfare Food Challenge. For one week I had $19 for food. This is what a single person on basic welfare has every week. I want you to know that I support the work of the Raise the Rates campaign. Here are some things which I would like to see the British Columbia Legislature take action on:
- Increase Income Assistance Rates to the Market Basket Measure. This is approximately $1,600 a month in Vancouver, for a single person. Once welfare has been raised to the poverty line, I want to see the rates indexed to inflation.
- Raise the rate for people with disabilities to $1,800 a month as they have extra living costs due to disability.
- Remove arbitrary barriers that prevent people in need from receiving assistance. Tthe 2-year independence test, the 5-week work search and restrictions based on citizenship status are unfair and prevent people from receiving the help they need.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and index it to inflation.
- Build at least 10,000 units of affordable non-market housing per year in addition to increases in supportive housing, assistive living units and shelter beds.
- Provide affordable high quality public childcare.
- Increase the tax rate on people who earn more than $250,000 per year and reverse the tax cuts to corporations and the richest 1%.
These measures will ensure that everyone in British Columbia is able to participate in our economies and communities. These measures will help to end poverty in our province. There is no reason why anyone in Canada should have to live in poverty.
By implementing the solutions brought forward by the Raise the Rates campaign, this government can show the people they care about the well being of British Columbians, will save money in the medium term, and are willing to fulfill their responsibilities to their constituents.
Write to the Local Media
Local newspapers are usually happy to carry local stories, why not contact them or write a letter to the editor. If you want any help, do contact Raise the Rates [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Invite a Speaker to your Organization
Raise the Rates would be happy to provide a speaker to your group or organization (Faith community, union local, community group, etc). Just contact us: email@example.com
Propose a Resolution
You could put forward a resolution to your organization – union, community group, etc in support of raising welfare and an anti-poverty program. Raise the Rates is happy to help.
Useful Information and Resources