Living Wage - Salaire-subsistance

 
Today in Canada, more 1.3 million of our children live in poverty.  Low wages remain a significant barrier to all Canadians achieving self sufficiency through work. According to Statscan, more than a million people across the country worked for minimum wages or less last year, the fourth year in a row that this shamefully persistent number has been above the one million mark. While levels of education and experience have increased and productivity has grown, real wages remained stagnant from 1981 to 2004 while median wages have grown at a snail’s pace (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).  Clearly, low wages are a large part of why so many working Canadians remain poor. 
 
Despite the need to address working poverty and the popular support for government action to do so, Canada’s elected leadership has been disturbingly timid on the wage-raising front. No recent increase to the minimum wage or poverty reduction strategy seriously addresses the issue of the sinking wage floor.
 
The need for a grassroots Wages Rising movement in Canada is clearer than ever!
 
ACORN members for the last 10 years have been fighting on a range of wage campaigns. ACORN members and allies won a precedent setting Living Wage Victory in New Westminster, BC. They fought the good fight in Ottawa for a Living wage that built momentum for Minimum Wage campaigns for  $10/hour in 2008 and $14/hour in 2014 in Ontario. 
 
Capacity from each campaign helps build the next and ACORN members from coast to coast are excited to fight!
 
Currently:
·       Living wage campaigns are just getting started in Toronto and Halifax.
 
·       ACORN members are fighting for a federal fair wage of $15/hour for a) workers under federal jurisdiction b) contracted employees and Employees of firms that enter into service contracts with the federal government and c) Employees of firms receiving economic development assistance (grants, tax abatements, low interest loans, etc.) from the federal government.
 
·        BC ACORN and NS ACORN are also fighting for $15 minimum wage campaigns!
 
 

Ottawa: Reverse the Cuts!

Ottawa ACORN members are taking action this Friday! Social Assistance is already inadequate, and after the recent social assistance review, members are concerned that the cuts to the Community Start Up and Maintenance benefit are making a bad situation worse. Members will hold an action in front of 370 Catherine St. (Ministry of Social and Community Services branch) on Friday, November 30th at 12PM.

Everyone is welcome to join us - there's power in numbers, so let's get members, friends, family and supporters on the street!

Check out our new short film by the Ottawa ACORN Social Assistance Committee.

 

social assistance

Royal City Record: 'The situation has become dire'; Disability activist says pension doesn't allow for basic needs

Tom Page, leader of BC ACORN's Disability Rights Group.Royal City resident Tom Page has firsthand knowledge about the financial struggles felt by people with disabilities.

Page, who collects a disability benefits of $906 a month, said some people on disability get just over $700 a month.

"I have fibromyalgia and severe osteoarthritis. I have also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although I am stabilized. I am 75 per cent deaf in both ears. I have a knee that has been operated on three times. It is difficult to walk because all the cartilage is gone, and it is now a bone-on-bone situation," he said. "I was told by an orthopedic surgeon I would be in a wheelchair when I was 55. I am 59 and still walking. I consider myself ahead of the game."

Page has been on a disability pension for five years, having tried to work different jobs and to return to work various times through the years.

"I worked all my life prior to that," he said of his deteriorating health. "My main career, I was a computer systems analyst. I went into business. I had an Internet business. I had a consulting business."

Because of his health issues, Page is unable to do any work that is physical or stressful.

"I am struggling," he said. "I'd like to go back to work if I could find something suitable."

Before his health deteriorated, Page could run five miles a day, work out at the gym and participate in sports like swimming and squash.

"It's difficult for a person who has lived a comfortable middle-class life to not only be disabled, but impoverished," he said. "That's the situation."

Getting by each month is challenging for people on disability pensions, Page said.

"It's extremely difficult, even with the food bank," he said. "It is difficult to eat a healthy diet. The food bank usage has increased. The amount you can get has decreased."

Page recently joined about 35 members of ACORN in a protest outside the Ministry of Social Development office in New Westminster. The New Westminster-based chapter of ACORN Canada tackles issues such as the need for safe and healthy rental housing and the need for increases to disability benefit rates.

Action for Disability Rights in BC

Disability Rights Group in action on October 24, 2012.35 members of BC ACORN's Disabilty Rights Group took action last week. They rallied at an office of the Ministry of Social Development and delivered a letter to minister Moira Stillwell, which is copied below. 

The Disabilty Rights Group will continue to take action until the system that over 100,000 disabled British Colombians depend on is fixed.

 They were joined by John Bail, National Director of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Pacific Region, who brought a message of solidarity. 

PRESS ADVISORY: BC ACORN Disability Rights Group demanding increased income from Ministry of Social Development

BC ACORN Disability Rights Group ACORN’s Disability Rights Group is a growing organized body of disabled British Columbians demanding livable allowances from the Provincial Government. They are holding their second monthly action as a part of the rights-based campaign for livable income.

  • Wednesday Oct 24th at 11:15 AM
  • New Westminster Ministry of Social Development Office – Columbia Square at the 10th St. and Agnes St. entrance. (1015 Columbia St.)

Tom Page, leader of the group states: “The response from the disabled people’s community has been strong. More and more people have been calling the ACORN office asking what they can do to help out the campaign. Disabled people have nothing to lose, it’s hard to imagine falling further behind economically.”

ACORN Disability Rights Group is a large group of determined disabled people committed to justice. They believe it is their human right to receive a livable income.

ACORN is demanding

  1. An immediate increase of PWD rates to $1200, and review of what amount of money is needed for disabled people to meet the cost of living.
  2. Make the benefits accessible for disabled people by cutting needless bureaucratic red tape and automatically getting recipients the benefits they are entitled to.

For more information and reports, or to talk with spokesperson Tom Page, call Scott Nunn at 778 500 2874 - or email bcacornva@acorncanada.org

For more info on ACORN Canada visit www.acorncanada.org

Burnaby Now: Rally in Burnaby demands increase to disability rates

BC ACORN's Disability Rights Group.Roughly a dozen people, mostly with disabilities, gathered outside a Burnaby welfare office Wednesday, demanding the government increase their monthly benefit payments.

"We're fed up being treated like a bunch of beggars. We're angry and we're not going to be silent any longer," said New Westminster resident Tom Page, spokesperson for ACORN, a social justice organization. ACORN's disability rights group was holding the demonstration on Wednesday morning on the corner of Kingsway and McKay Avenue near Metrotown.

According to Page, people receiving disability benefits from the government live in "abject extreme poverty" receiving only $906 a month (which translates to $10,872 annually), while Albertans receive $1,588.

"B.C. has one of the highest costs of living in Canada, but the disability rates have fallen to sixth place," Page told the crowd through a megaphone.

Page also bemoaned the difficulties and wait-times to get on disability and the fact that benefits are not retroactive to the date of application.

ACORN wants the disability rates raised to $1,200 immediately, followed by a study to come up with a livable rate that's indexed for inflation. According to Page, who's on disability, the government hasn't increased the rates since 2007.

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