Social Development

Social assistance rates increasing Oct. 1 (08/09/30)

NB 1419

Sept. 30, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) -- Social assistance rates in New Brunswick will increase by three per cent effective Wednesday, Oct. 1.

"Our government is committed to being responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society, while also providing supportive services to help more citizens achieve self-reliance," said Social Development Minister Mary Schryer.

Social assistance rates in New Brunswick have increased eight per cent since October 2006. The latest three-per-cent increase represents a new investment of $2.2 million.

"In Charter for Change our government set a goal of raising rates to the average in Atlantic Canada, and, through this investment, we are much closer to that goal," said Schryer.

She also said she is pleased with the progress the government is making to achieve its goal to lower the social assistance caseload by 2,500 households over the course of its mandate. The caseload has had a net decline of 1,433 households from October 2006 to date.

"Achieving self-sufficiency is, at its heart, about people, about individual New Brunswickers and the quality of life they enjoy," said Schryer. "We believe we can help our citizens become personally self-sufficient by reducing systematic barriers that may prevent some clients from entering the workforce, or getting access to education and training."

One example of a way the province will support clients' transition to the workforce is by offering child-care subsidies to qualifying social assistance recipients. The province will make child-care subsidies available to clients who are recently unemployed, or who have recently completed training and are actively seeking employment. The new subsidies, available starting Nov. 1, are part of new investments totalling $5.7 million announced in the Early Childhood Strategy Action Plan, 2008-09.

"For many families on social assistance, this will ease the transition to the workforce," said Schryer.

As of October 2008, there will be a total of 22,879 households in receipt of social assistance.

08/09/30

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Hagerman, communications, Social Development, 506-444-2416.

08/09/30