New premier announces funding relief for low income and vulnerable

Denise Titian, July 21, 2017

NDP leader John Horgan was formally sworn in as B.C.'s premier on July 19. (BC NDP photo)

Victoria, B.C. — 

Just one day after Premier John Horgan’s July 19 swearing-in ceremony, the premier and his new cabinet went to work delivering on campaign promises made during the spring provincial election.

On July 20 Premier Horgan announced a $100 rate increase to income assistance and disability rates, taking effect in September 2017.

“Lifting families out of poverty starts with raising income assistance rates and assistance for people with disabilities. We’re raising the rates to support people and help them live in dignity,” said Premier Horgan.

Under the previous government, income assistance rates were frozen for the past decade, placing British Columbia at the top of the list with the highest poverty rate in the country, according to the premier.

The new rates will not apply to those receiving income assistance on reserve because programs on reserve are federally funded.

According to Clicklaw (funded by Law Foundation BC), social assistance for people living on reserve comes from the Government of Canada through Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Income assistance for people living off reserve in B.C. comes from the provincial government through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI).

Still, the news is welcome to those living in poverty and their advocates. And Premier Horgan has more good news.

In their efforts to bring relief for families on hydro rates, auto insurance and housing affordability, Premier Horgan announced four high-profile appointments.

  • Kenneth G. Peterson was appointed chair of BC Hydro
  • Cassie J. Doyle was appointed chair of the BC Housing Management Commission
  • Joy MacPhail was appointed chair of ICBC
  • Cathy McLay was appointed director of ICBC

“These new executives are ready to get to work for British Columbians…each of them will face significant challenges because of the choices made by the previous government. All will play a role in making life more affordable for British Columbians,” said Premier Horgan.