I was disappointed to read the NDP’s plan to reduce child poverty.
What Income Assistance in B.C. needs is a plan to get people on their feet, not to keep them in the same position with little chance of getting a good head start.
The proposed extra $20 a month is money that could be better spent on helping people on income assistance go to school, find a job, or put their children in daycare.
The second part of the NDP plan is raising family support, but family support already goes to everyone in a certain income bracket, working or on income assistance, and the amount is sufficient.
I would suggest that single parents should receive one year of assistance while spending that critical year with their child.
The second year should be a year to plan and set goals and prepare for work or school, while still spending time with their child.
The third year should be taking action in education or schooling, with daycare paid in full by subsidy or income assistance.
For people who have been in a long-term relationship and have split, there should be a work or school action plan to help them get on their feet and prepare to make it on their own.
As for working while on income assistance — I do think that there should be a cap on how much a person can earn while on income assistance.
Every situation would be different.
I think for the most part there should be gradual decline on the amount a person should be able to earn.
People shouldn’t be put off or scolded for accessing resources.
They should be welcomed and encouraged to make a better life for themselves.
I think that the ministries, including the Ministry of Child and Family Development, need to work together to come up with comprehensive plans and procedures to help people on income assistance, particularly parents and people living with addiction or mental disabilities.
With the proper planning and resources, income assistance could be better designed to help people in need and dramatically reduce the amount of poverty in B.C.