A group of people gathered outside the Community Services building on Gottingen Street in Halifax this morning to protest freezes to income assistance in the province.
Protestors say instead of receiving a modest increase on July 1st, income assistance rates have been frozen for the past two years in Nova Scotia.
Recipients say with the cost of necessities like power and food going up, they are struggling to survive, and are rallying to demand that welfare rates rise.
“Our message is that income assistance rates are too low and that people are not living in dignity,” says Amy Moonshadow.
The Community Advocates Network, a group that unites people living on low-income, helped to organize the rally. They say government is turning a deaf ear to some of the province’s poorest residents, and they want to see real change.
‘”I’m tired of living this way. I’m not an old person, I’m not a young person, I’m an average person like everybody else on social assistance,” says Cassandra Cary.
Some in the group held up signs showing what a budget for someone on long term disability gets from income assistance. They say at the end of the month, most are in debt by about $97.
“People misunderstand what income assistance is,” says Wayne MacNaughton. “It’s there to be a last resort. The people on income assistance in this province are in fact the poorest people in Nova Scotia right now.”
With files from Global’s Cory McGraw.