Human Resources, Labour and Employment
April 9, 2009

Income Support Benefits Enhanced as Part of Poverty Reduction Strategy

The Williams Government has increased basic income support benefits by $4.3 million annually. This increase, effective April 1, is part of Budget 2009’s $132.2 million investment in poverty reduction initiatives and is in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In March 2006, the Provincial Government announced it would tie income support rates to the CPI to ensure that cost of living increases are factored into the amount an individual or family receives through basic income support benefits. In doing so, Newfoundland and Labrador became one of only two provinces in Canada at the time to link its income support rates to cost of living increases.

“Enhancing the province’s social safety net is a key component of our Poverty Reduction Strategy,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. “The Consumer Price Index initiative has been a key aspect of our Poverty Reduction Strategy over the last few years. I am pleased to say that this initiative, which is further strengthened through Budget 2009, makes our province a national leader in the fight against poverty.”

For 2009 there will be a 2.9 per cent CPI increase over 2008 benefit levels. Since 2006, the Williams Government has raised basic income support benefits by 11.2 per cent, or approximately $17 million in total. This includes a five per cent base increase in July 2006, and previous CPI increases of 1.8 per cent in 2007 and 1.5 per cent in 2008. As a result, a single parent family that is renting now receives an additional $792 annually.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy was created to reduce, alleviate and prevent poverty throughout the province. The goal of the strategy is to make Newfoundland and Labrador the province with the lowest level of poverty in Canada within a 10 year period. $132.2 million was allocated in Budget 2009 to assist with poverty reduction efforts.

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Media contact:
Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 690-2498
jennifercollingwood@gov.nl.ca

2009 04 09                                 10:55 a.m.
 


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