New Westminster. I am the President of the Hospital Employees Union (HEU). I am a long-time activist, and have spent more than two decades advocating for and defending public health care, workers’ rights, and human rights. I have been foster parenting many amazing children for more than 15 years.
I have witnessed the impacts that poverty has had on some of the kids I’ve fostered, and the disadvantages they begin their lives with as a result. They have come from homes where parents or grandparents tried hard to put food on the table and did the best they could with what they had, but making ends meet on BC’s welfare rates is impossible. The system sets them up for failure.
I’m also acutely aware that a portion of the HEU’s membership are low waged workers, who barely get by on their earnings. They often cannot cover their expenses with their pay cheques, have no savings, and are one paycheque away from having to go on welfare if anything happens to their health or their job.
BC needs a welfare rate that allows people to survive not punish them. $610/month is not enough.