P.E.I.’s new Progressive Conservative minority government says it wants to introduce a new social assistance pilot program within the next six months.

Among the many priorities outlined’s in Friday’s Throne Speech was a commitment to implement a Secure Income Program Pilot.

“It’s to provide a basic level of income, if you like, that will be means-tested. But to provide for the essential needs of Islanders right across the board,” said Minister of Social Development and Housing Ernie Hudson.

Homeless people in the Coquitlam area were joined by activists from around the Lower Mainland on Thursday as they staged a march and tried to establish a tent city to protest the treatment of homeless people in the area.

About two dozen people blocked traffic, held signs and banners and chanted, as they made their way from the Port Coquitlam courthouse to a lightly wooded area next to a homeless shelter on Coquitlam’s Gordon Avenue.

They got a few honks of support as they marched, but also some angry shouts and glares from people as they passed.

Local, provincial, and federal politicians in Hastings and Prince Edward counties should expect a a fuller mailbox than usual in the near future.

Around 50 people, most members of the Hastings Prince Edward Poverty Roundtable, held a meeting today (Wednesday) and ended the session with a letter campaign aimed at politicians, the policy makers.

The campaign’s goal is to again remind community leaders just how hard, some would say impossible, it is to lead a decent life on either Ontario Works or Ontario Disability benefits.

The inquiry’s commissioners gathered testimony from more than 2,300 people, survivors of violence and family members of women who were murdered or went missing, across the country for two years. The “inescapable conclusion” is that Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ people have experienced genocide, the final report said.

One of the report’s “calls for justice,” or recommendations, is that Canada establish a guaranteed annual liveable income, sometimes called basic income or minimum income, for everyone in the country.

British Columbia’s government has pledged $6 million to help reduce homelessness in the province.

Minister for Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson said the money will be distributed over the next three years through the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia. One-time grants will be available to frontline organizations addressing the homeless crises.

“We know that this work is going on today in communities around the province,” said Simpson. “We know that there are many communities that have homelessness task forces and homelessness action committees, and this work is to support what they’re doing.”

Recently-announced Rent Assist cuts are just the latest example of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister’s moves to attack supports for low income residents ⁠— despite promising, while campaigning, to treat poverty as a key issue for the province.

According to a provincial break-down by Citizens for Public Justice, Manitoba has the highest poverty rate in Canada, with one-in-five currently living below the poverty line. That translates to 25% of children living in poverty and it’s forced 115,000 Manitobans to rely on the province’s Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) programs.

During the 2016 leadership debate, Pallister called poverty “the number one issue” in his province. But, as premier, many of his cuts, sell offs and policy moves have been bad news for minimum wage workers and support recipients.

Including:
Cut $1 billion from social services across the board
Scrapped Basic Income Pilot Project
Cancelled $1 increase minimum wage
Cut Workplace Safety Insurance Board payments to injured workers by 30 per cent
Killed Bill C-148, which provided part-time workers the same pay as full-time workers, guaranteed 10 days off (2 days paid) and more
Removed rent control for new units
Severed library services funding in half
Ended the Roundtable on Violence Against Women
Slashed $84.5 million funding for children and at-risk youth, including children’s aid societies
Cut $15 million from the Ontario Trillium Foundation