Campbell government's upcoming budget must take immediate steps to increase social assistance rates

HEU joins labour and community groups in signing open letter to BC Liberal government calling for an increase in social assistance rates

The Campbell government's upcoming budget must take immediate steps to increase social assistance rates says Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

"Every day we hear stories about how BC's economy is booming, but the problem is that not everyone is sharing in that growth," Sinclair said. "We're facing a poverty crisis here in British Columbia."

As part of the Raise the Rates Coalition, the B.C. Federation of Labour is joining community advocates in sending an open letter to Premier Campbell calling for an increase to BC's social assistance rates.

"We see the impacts of poverty on our streets with more and more homeless, and in our schools as BC has the sad distinction of leading the country with the highest rate of child poverty in Canada," said Sinclair.

In 2002, the Campbell government made social assistance much harder to access, and eliminated many supplemental benefits.

The Coalition also echoed the Federation's call for an immediate increase of BC's minimum wage to $10.

Five years ago, the government introduced the training wage cutting the minimum wage by 25 percent to $6 for new workers, while freezing the minimum wage at $8 for other workers.

"Just to stay above poverty levels, BC's lowest paid workers need a raise," Sinclair stated.