The rules for some Quebec welfare recipients are about to get tougher under the Parti Québécois government.
As it stands, a single-person household gets $604 a month on social assistance.
For households with young children, or for individuals 55 years old and up, an extra $129 is normally tacked on.
As of June 1, the bonus will jump to $195.
However, couples with children under the age of five will have to register with Emploi Quebec for job-finding activities in order to qualify for a bonus.
Additionally, the age of eligibility will be pushed to 58 from 55.
No change is expected for single-parent homes.
The changes aren't retroactive and will only affect new applicants.
Agnès Maltais, the PQ’s minister of labour and employment, told Radio-Canada that this isn’t a matter of budget cuts, but rather, an attempt to stimulate the work force.
"There is no big reform of social assistance right now, and there is no tightening of social assistance," she said.
"We have to break the cycle of poverty, and that starts with employment."
The changes were not announced by the PQ; rather, they were quietly mentioned in the Gazette Officielle, a provincial government publication.
But some are concerned about what those changes really mean for Quebecers living on welfare.
"We have regular phone calls from people that didn’t eat for days -- they just drink broth," said Amélie Châteauneuf of Le Front commun des personnes assistées sociales du Québec, an advocacy group for people on social assistance.
"The amounts they receive each month are already so low. It's not possible for them to have a dwelling and eat at the same time. They have to make a choice," she said.