Please contact your elected officials to address the impacts that the Covid-19 epidemic has had on people living in poverty. The Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry sent the letter below to Hon. Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan Minister of Social Services, outlining the many vital actions needed. Please support this effort by emailing, mailing or phoning your own thoughts on the importance of addressing these issues. Contact information for the Minister of Social Services and other MLAs is listed below.
Dear Minister Paul Merriman
Things have changed in our communities since Canada and particularly the province of Saskatchewan has been hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. All people have been impacted by this virus and will for months, if not years, to come. Jobs will not be as accessible, and probably not as plentiful as before the pandemic. We cannot condemn any person, whether working or on social assistance to impoverishment. Now is the time for a compassionate society, in which everyone’s basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, and utilities) are fully met. Therefore the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry (RAPM) is calling upon the Ministry of Social Services and the Government of Saskatchewan to:
1) Immediately increase the basic allowance of people on all income assistance programs (SAP, TEA, SIS, and SAID) by $300.00 per month. For decades the benefit levels have been inadequate to meet the cost of basic needs on the provincial income assistance programs. This increase will still leave people living below the poverty line.
2) During the COVID crisis we are asking that CERB be exempt from claw back on all provincial income assistance programs.
3) People who received the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement (SRHS), and Supplementary Health (SSH) coverage still be allowed to receive these benefits. We also ask that these benefits continue to be provided with no cuts after the pandemic is over.
4) People on income assistance programs be allowed to be eligible for the new federal provincial housing supplement program. This will mean the removal of the restriction that will not allow people on income assistance programs from applying.
5) Social services cover the actual cost of utilities for people on all income assistance programs (SAP, TEA, SIS, and SAID), during and after COVID. People need power, energy (Fuel) and water to survive. People do not have control over the cost of these utilities. In this day and age these utilities are considered essential to the health and wellbeing of all people.
6) Within the next five years the Ministry of Social Services and the Government of Saskatchewan raise the benefit rates of SIS and SAID to cover the actual cost of food, clothing, shelter and utilities in our communities. Once these benefits are at a level that will cover the basic costs of these needs we ask that you index the benefits so no one on income assistance will ever suffer destitution again.
7) The government of Saskatchewan raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $15.00/hr., and then index it to ensure it remains a living wage.
8) Enact an “Act To End Poverty In Saskatchewan” that ensures basic social and economic rights, including adequate income, housing, childcare and a living wage are afforded to all people in Saskatchewan.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFORMATION
ALL REGULAR MAIL CAN BE ADDRESSED TO: 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, S4S 0B3
PREMIER SCOTT MOE: Honourable Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan, 306-787-9433 or email@example.com
NDP LEADER: Honourable Ryan Meili, 306-244-2280 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MINISTER OF SOCIAL SERVICES: Honourable Paul Merriman, 306-787-3661 or email@example.com
MINISTER OF LABOUR: Honourable Don Morgan, 306-787-5353 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MINISTER OF FINANCE: Honourable Donna Harpauer, 306-787-6060 or email@example.com
NDP SOCIAL SERVICES CRITIC: Honourable Nicole Rancourt, 306-763-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org