Dear Editor. I see time and again either one union or another going on strike, demanding more pay, in this province (the BCTF is famous for this year after year). They claim that the salaries that they are receiving are not sufficient to live on in today’s British Columbia.
While I might agree with the sentiment, I have to ask the question: If these unions can’t afford to live, then how in the heck can a person who can’t find a job and is forced to live on welfare afford it?
The BC provincial government has, for years, refused to raise the amount that it pays to those unfortunate souls who are forced onto welfare.
For the past seven years the maximum amount that a single person can receive for housing in BC is $375.00, while the average rent for even a room is $450.00! Seems to me that there’s quite a gap there!
Of course the maximum overall is $610.00 for a single person, but after paying that $450 for rent, and then paying for things that are necessary for a person to look for work, like a phone and basic transportation, there is only $40-60 left for food!
Someone please tell me, where can a person feed him or herself for just $40-60 a month! I’d love to know so I can shop there too!
While those whom have strong unions to back them have at least a position of strength to negotiate from and demand fair rate increases, those marginalized people on welfare have absolutely no power whatsoever and must timidly accept the completely substandard pittance the BC government decides to set as the rate for them.
I don’t begrudge the unions for demanding better pay at all. As a matter of fact, I say, ‘Go for it!’ What I do see as totally wrong, however, is that while unions can (and do) make the assertions that they cannot live on $25+ per hour, those who need help the most are forced by our government to live on what equates to $3.38 per hour!
As our provincial minimum wage is $10.25 per hour (what they have set as the bare minimum a person need to live), the government should be raising the welfare rates to meet that minimum. That would mean a single person would receive (if we deduct what would be the normal taxes) $1328.00 per month. Dare I say a much more manageable figure to live on in this, the most expensive province in Canada.
According to a study done by the Fraser Institute, “The BC government has set welfare benefits so that total social assistance roughly coincides with the basic needs level. And even in situations where social assistance is not quite enough to meet all of the basic needs, it doesn’t mean that these British Columbians are starving or going without adequate shelter.”
Of course this study was paid for by the BC government, so it wouldn’t dare to contradict their own agenda and assertions.
Have the people who completed the study ever been on welfare? No!
Have they talked to any people whom are on welfare and have to wonder how they are going to eat AND pay rent, as they cannot afford to do both? No.
It’s high time that the BC government lived up to its own promises and paid these people what they have already determined what the bare minimum is….minimum wage!
After all, it’s kind of hypocritical to declare an amount as rock bottom and then pay only a third of that to people and claim it’s sufficient.
The way I see it anyway.