Saskatchewan saw the largest increase in consumer prices, compared to all other Canadian provinces between December 2016 and December 2017. A major factor in the increase is thought to be the tax changes implemented with the last provincial budget. This article by the CBC highlights some of the ways that low-income residents in the province have been impacted e.g. a large jump in emergency food basket usage at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.
Link to the article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/sask-inflation-rate-high-1.4506386
In 2015 over 100,000 seniors in Sask received Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Assistance. 118,000 families received the Child Benefit. 52,000 received Employment Assistance and 50,000 Social Assistance.
Government transfers are very important to the economic well being of Sask. residents. Our economy would plummet if they were taken away as is happening in the U.S.
We need to protect them.
From CBC Saskatchewan:
It is expensive to be low-income. Many low-income families turn to payday loans when unexpected circumstances pop up–which can end up charging them effective annual interest rates of up to 600%. The social justice organization ACORN has been calling for governments to force payday loan companies to lower the rates they charge.
Some promising developments:
- In February 2018, Saskatchewan is going to be setting the maximum borrowing charge on payday loans at 17% (down from 23%).
- Affinity Credit Union in Saskatchewan has started making “microloans” (small loans which can be paid back over a period of to 2 years) available to customers who would normally turn to payday loans.
Link to article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/payday-loans-saskatchewan-acorn-1.4433838
In this article in the Toronto Star, physicians advocate for changes to their province’s income security system to improve health and reduce the cost to society.
From the article from CBC Saskatchewan: families are being impacted by the recent elimination of the standardized 3,000-calorie diet benefit in the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program and Saskatchewan Assistance Program. The story of Alan Hall and Marianne Hollman-Hall is presented; the Halls both have disabilities and relied on that additional $75 benefit to help them afford the healthy food they need. The diet benefit change is expected to affect 760 people on Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program, and 600 people on the Saskatchewan Assistance Program. Alan Hall now only receives $125 per month for food under the SAID program and is calling for that benefit to be increased to at least $300 per month; Hall says the benefit has not been increased in 32 years despite a dramatic rise in food costs over the decades.
Link to article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/special-diet-cuts-1.4389386
Rally at the Saskatchewan Legislature: October 17th at noon
October 17 is the International Day for Eradication of Poverty! Let’s send a strong message to the SK government and let them know what they have to do to eradicate poverty in our province.
From CBC Saskatchewan:
As part of the nation-wide ‘Chew on This’ campaign, anti-poverty advocates in Regina (including Peter Gilmer from the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and Poverty Free Saskatchewan) handed out apples and information to passersby to raise awareness and discussion.
From the CBC: the P.E.I. Legislature voted this week to support a basic-income pilot project in the province, done in partnership with the federal government. All MLAs voted in favour of the motion, citing the potential benefits to health, education, crime rates, and human potential.
URL for article:
From the CBC: the ‘living wage’ movement continues to grow in Saskatoon. Four more companies in the city are now pledging to offer a wage that would support a family of four ($16.68 or higher).
The Living Wage YXE group is encouraging more companies to offer living wages, as it can help in the fight against poverty. Offering a living wage can also have benefits for businesses, for example, “lower employee turnover and better customer service.”
The article can be found here: http://thestarphoenix.com/storyline/four-saskatoon-companies-have-pledged-to-pay-employees-a-living-wage
What do we know about the state of homelessness in Canada today? The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness aimed to find out in their new research paper titled ‘The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016.’
Canada experienced a rise in homelessness after federal investments in affordable housing declined and providing emergency services has not proven to be effective in dealing with our homelessness crisis. The face of homelessness in Canada is also changing, e.g. a much higher proportion of the homeless population are women or youth.
Promising initiatives have emerged e.g., the spread of the Housing First model across Canada, ambitious housing efforts in Medicine Hat and Hamilton, federal interest and investment in housing and homelessness, and the revitalization of a National Housing Strategy. We know that upstream approaches are needed, and ending homelessness in Canada requires partnerships across public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. The report includes a set of 8 recommendations, including a call for a national housing benefit and to review and expand investment in affordable housing for Indigenous peoples. The authors estimate that eliminating homelessness in Canada would only require an additional investment of $1/week per Canadian.
The report and supplementary documents can be found here: http://homelesshub.ca/SOHC2016