Working on the root causes of poverty makes a big difference in people’s lives. Here are some examples of the impact of upstream work:

Child_support_clawback.jpgEnding the Child Support Clawback

Single parents on welfare used to get any child support they received from an ex-partner clawed back from their welfare cheque.  We fought hard for the government to let parents keep this money that was always intended for the kids and we won in spring 2016! BC became the first province to end this regulation. 

About 5,400 children throughout BC benefit from this systemic change.

Rebecca had to resort to food banks because of the clawback of her daughter’s child support. Now it’s a different story: "I feel awesome, and my daughter is thriving…With the stroke of a pen, the government does have the power to bring children and families out of poverty."

Increase to Minimum Wage Wage_Mythbusters.jpg

For many years, the minimum wage was frozen at $8 an hour, the lowest in Canada. Over the last few years, the government has made small increases to the minimum wage bringing it up to the current rate of $10.85 an hour and have now indexed it to inflation so it will go up every year. While we continue to Fight for $15, these changes wouldn’t have happened without us and our members putting the pressure on.

120,000 people earn minimum wage and benefit from these increases.

Increase to Disability Benefit raise_the_rates_disability.jpg

For almost a decade, the income assistance rate for Persons with Disabilities was only $906. After working with our disability partners for years in calling for the rates to go up, the government announced an increase of $77 in spring 2017. Unfortunately, at the same time, the government clawed back the annual bus pass of $45 per year and now provides it at $52 per month. This substantial increase in cost forces people with disabilities to choose between food and transportation, an almost impossible choice on such a low income. We continue to work on this issue.

There are currently over 117,000 people receiving disability benefits who've received this increase.

End to Parental Leave Benefits Clawback

The government used to claw back maternity and parental leave benefits from those on disability assistance. While working, people with disabilities paid the mandatory Employment Insurance premiums but when they went on parental leave, the government took their EI benefit back dollar for dollar making families worse off than before with a newborn on the way. After lots of pressure from our members, the government changed this policy in October 2016 so that families can keep the money they have rightly earned.

About 150 people and their families will benefit from this change.