September 29th 2021 – For Immediate Release
MONCTON – The New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice celebrates significant reforms announced Monday, September 27th, for social assistance programs in New Brunswick. In particular, the Common Front is pleased that the province’s Wage Exemption for social assistance recipients has been raised to $500 with recipients able to keep 50 cents of every dollar earned over $500, a key policy demand of the Common Front this year. The Common Front attributes this victory to the wide-ranging support and broad movement built around our letter-writing campaign, supported by over 40 community organizations, which reached every MLA in the province with a demand for the wage exemption to be raised.
The Common Front also commends the expansion of exemptions for eligibility calculations. Social assistance recipients will no longer have their benefits reduced if they are also receiving child support payments, the Canada-New Brunswick Housing Benefit or compensation related to personal injury. The Common Front also commends the elimination of the shelter deduction which clawed back social assistance for many renters. Ending the deduction for social assistance recipients for living with their parents is also a positive development.
The Common Front also calls for further progress to eliminate poverty in our province, end discimination for disabled people, and mend our social safety net. In particular, the Common Front calls for higher rates, immediately raising the basic rate for single recipients by 16.9% and 8.77% (based on the current cost of living) for all other recipients with subsequent scheduled increases to match inflation. We also support the demands of Ability New Brunswick and the #AxetheHIP campaign to improve access to liveable income for people with disabilities and eliminate the Household Income Policy which discriminates against many social assistance recipients in need.
We continue to work for the elimination of poverty, more justice, better social policies, and greater solidarity in New Brunswick society.
“Currently, the regulation is a hindrance for people who have a job or who want to find a job. This change was one of our proposals and we are pleased that the Minister has responded positively to it.”
-Reverend Steve Bérubé, member of the Provincial Council of the Common Front
“These changes are very positive and will make a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals and families who rely on social assistance. The announcement of the formation of a Task Force to study other changes, including the whole issue of people with disabilities, is a step in the right direction. The Common Front has been fighting for years to have people under the Extended Benefits program placed in an independent program. We will certainly continue our efforts in that direction.”
-Auréa Cormier, Secretary of the Moncton Chapter of the Common Front
Provincial Coordinator, Common Front NB