December 17, 2019
Green Leader tables bill to end government enforced poverty
Fredericton – On December 17, 2019 Green Party Leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon tabled a bill to amend the Family Income Security Act to combat poverty in the province.
“Government must ensure that all New Brunswickers have enough income to meet their needs with dignity. Current rates of social assistance make this impossible, and amount to government enforced poverty,” says Coon. “Social assistance rates have not been raised since 2014. The budget for 2020-2021 must increase social assistance rates to reflect the loss of purchasing power due to inflation over the past decade.”
This bill will:
- Add objectives and purposes to the Act to promote and provide income security, combat poverty in the province, and ensure that applicants and recipients are treated with dignity and respect;
- Mandate that social assistance rates and claw backs are reviewed annually and reported to the Legislature;
- Allow the Minister of Social Development to enter into an agreement with the federal government to provide a basic income guarantee for New Brunswickers; and
- Create an independent appeals system for decisions of the Medical Services Advisory Board regarding the Extended Benefits Program.
“Many of the constituents who visit my office looking for help live in poverty that is perpetuated by current policies and practices. It was their stories and experiences that led me to draft this bill to make life better for them.” says Coon.