Saskatchewan anti-poverty groups see social assistance cuts as part of austerity agenda

“It appears there is nothing ‘assured’ or ’guaranteed’ when it comes to financial support for the disabled, seniors and vulnerable families.” — Peter Gilmer, spokesperson for Poverty Free Saskatchewan

Regina (18 Aug. 2016) — Peter Gilmer, of Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and spokesperson for Poverty Free Saskatchewan, is urging the Saskatchewan government to abandon its cuts to social expenditures that are injurious to the lowest-income residents of the province.

More Saskatchewanians being driven into poverty

“The reductions in benefits distributed via the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability, the Seniors Income Plan, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Saskatchewan Employment Supplement undoubtedly will drive more low income people into deep poverty,” said Gilmer.

He added that “It appears there is nothing ‘assured’ or ’guaranteed’ when it comes to financial support for the disabled, seniors and vulnerable families.”

Government ignoring it's own report

In 2015 the government held public consultations to develop a comprehensive antipoverty plan. Buy Gilmer says that “the government has now reneged on its promise, even after drafting an anti-poverty framework report.”

Gilmer also pointed out that in Regina 55,000 families with two or more persons earn incomes less than the calculated living wage — $58,245 annually. “The government’s announced cuts foreshadow a grim future of austerity that will lead to higher income inequality, higher poverty rates and lower social mobility,” he said.

Need for an anti-poverty plan and legislation

Poverty Free Saskatchewan’s analysis of the effects of the budget, Budget 2016: Transformation or Austerity? urges the government to abandon its social expenditure roll backs and proceed with the development of an anti-poverty plan supported by antipoverty legislation.

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Poverty Free Saskatchewan

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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