BCAHL Policies – Income Security

Sufficient income allows access to adequate housing, nutritious foods, safe communities and participation in recreational, educational and cultural opportunities as well as other essentials for a healthy life.

Inadequate income limits the security of these basic living conditions for individuals and families and that can create tremendous stress which also contributes to ill health. It also takes a substantial toll on the health of children and can establish a negative trajectory for life-long health outcomes.

British Columbians employed full time should earn enough to afford healthy basic needs including decent housing, healthy food, household amenities, childcare, clothing, transportation and recreation. BC can build a stronger system of support for families, seniors and disadvantaged groups by ensuring that income assistance rates are based on and keep pace with the actual cost of living.

BCAHL recommends the following policy options:

  • Establish a Poverty Reduction Strategy.
  • Raise the minimum wage to a level that allows British Columbian families to purchase healthy foods, secure decent housing and pursue recreational opportunities.
  • Increase the National Child Tax Benefit and Supplement provided by the Federal Government to $5100 per child. Ensure that this benefit is delivered in addition to income assistance and that for low income families, other benefits are not reduced to off-set this increase.
  • Structure marginal tax rates and benefits so that low wage earners are not penalized for working rather than relying on income assistance.
  • Index income assistance rates and the minimum wage to the rate of inflation annually.
  • Adjust the Income Assistance shelter rates so they are based on reasonable market rental costs.
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