New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice

News Release

For immediate release- November 30, 2009

Times & Transcript reported, on November 30, 2009, these words from Kelly Lamrock - " I hope at some point (CFSJ) will join some of the other poverty groups who have moved from citing problems to proposing solutions, because I need everyone's help on this."

"We, as Common Front members, are more than open and willing to work with the new Social Development minister to find solutions to the poverty solutions?" says Linda McCaustlin, co-chair of the Common Front for Social Justice.

"Our November 27, 2009 news conference was to highlight some specific cases that had fallen through the cracks. The CFSJ also wanted to make a concrete proposal to work with the Minister on the revision of his Department's policy manual. Such a revision was not included in the Poverty Plan" continues Ms. McCaustlin.

CFSJ's proposal was- The NB government must set up, as soon as possible, a working group, composed of representatives from the CFSJ, of NB citizens who are on social assistance and of high level civil servants from the Department of Social Development. Their mandate should be to completely revise the Social Assistance Policy Manual. Insensitive and unduly restrictive articles should be removed. The certification process to be recognized as a disabled person should be broadened and not exclude people with serious limitations preventing them to function normally for the rest of their lives.

"In January 2009, the Common Front for Social Justice published a document where there were specific solutions to reduce poverty in this province." says Ms. McCaustlin

This document was endorsed by nineteen different organizations(1). Examples of these proposals were:

  • Legislate a living wage and indexed to the cost of living

  • Adopt Pay Equity Legislation for both the private and the public sector

  • Develop of a comprehensive public social housing program which includes cooperative and non-profit community housing

  • Immediate raise social assistance rates to the average of other three Atlantic Provinces and do not claw back other benefits ; index the rates to the cost of living

  • implement a more generous wage exemption policy and allow a $300 flat exemption rate, followed by a 50% variable exemption, with predetermined maximum allowable incomes as a percent of the Low Income Cut-off Measure ; for all other family types, a 50% variable rate would be applied

  • Abolish the Household Income Unit Policy

  • Redefine Disability in such a way that it allows other qualified professionals to make recommendations based on their knowledge of disabled individuals and set up an appeal process.

  • Abolish the Interim Assistance Category and transfer these social assistance recipients in the "Transitional Assistance Program"

  • Request that Social Development Department in contact with social assistance recipients pay close attention to how its personnel deals with these people and treats them with respect and dignity.  

For Information
Linda McCautlin - co-chair 855-7086
Jean-Claude Basque - Provincial Coordinator- 389-1578 or 862-9182
(1) Common Front web site (www.frontnb.ca)



Your questions and comments are welcome.