Recently, the Advisory Council on the Status of Women presented a brief on some aspects of the Social Assistance Act as part of the review of this act being done by the Committee on Health, Social Development and Seniors.
The Council’s full submission is now available in PDF: http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/acsw_sa_act.pdf
Here are some recommendations Council made regarding changes needed in the legislation and policy:
- That government review the requirement for parents on social assistance to actively seek employment or training when their child reaches the one-year age limit, with a commitment to extending the exemption on the employment/training requirement until the child reaches kindergarten or age five, whichever comes first, and to maximize supports to recipients with children and to encourage smooth transition to and from work or training.
- That government follow the lead of other provinces and index social assistance rates to ensure that assistance rates are monitored in line with the cost of living and are increased when the consumer price index goes up.
- That government raise shelter allowances, not including electricity and heat, (if heat is not already included as part of the actual rental rate) under the Social Assistance Act to reflect the “25 percent of household monthly income standard” applied to subsidized rental rates.
- That government, when entering into agreements with developers to establish housing units for seniors, individuals in need, or disabled individuals, have binding agreements to protect the rights and security of fixed and subsidized rents for residents in the event of any dispute arising between government and the developer or facility owners.
- That government expands the childcare subsidy program and move towards adopting the Quebec model of universal standardized day care, in which the maximum fee parents pay for the service is $7.00 per day per child for the care of children from six months to school age.
- That a childcare subsidy policy seek to maximize options for all women, whether they be on social assistance, employment insurance benefits, in paid work, under term contract, or seasonally employed, recognizing that respite care and the decision as to whether or when a child ought to be placed in the care of others is most appropriately left to the parent or primary caregiver.