Federal budget initiatives praised by anti-poverty group

A group that fights poverty in New Brunswick is applauding some of the initiatives in the new federal budget, which it says will help low-salary workers and those living in poverty.

Common Front for Social Justice says retirement age of 65, EI changes, social housing funding will help

A group that fights poverty in New Brunswick is applauding some of the initiatives in the new federal budget, which it says will help low-salary workers and those living in poverty.

Chantal Landry, of the Common Front for Social Justice, says about 6,000 New Brunswickers are on a wait list for social housing. (CBC)
The Common Front for Social Justice says returning the retirement age back to 65, for example, is a huge relief for social assistance recipients because they'll spend fewer years living in poverty.

"If you look at what they're receiving per year, prior to 65, it's only a little over $6,000 per year," said provincial secretary Chantal Landry.

"If that person has to wait till 67, that's another two years of living in extreme poverty, versus now that they can at 65, if they're receiving it, that means their income is significantly increasing up to about a little over $18,000 a year," she said.

Seasonal workers to benefit

A shorter wait period for Employment Insurance benefits and a reduction in the number of hours needed to qualify will also mean better protection for seasonal workers and will help young people and women who want to enter the labour market, said Landry.

The Common Front is also hopeful that funding set aside for social housing will "trickle down" to New Brunswick, where nearly 6,000 people are waiting for subsidized units, she said.

"We don't know how much the province will be getting, or what exactly it looks like, how will they allocate that money, who's getting it, you know, what will be the process."

But housing can eat up more than 30 per cent of a low-income individual's revenue, said Landry.

"Any increase in the number or quality of social housing units will certainly help a lot," she said.

The group is also pleased with the funds allocated for homeless people, increased amounts for scholarships for low-income students and the new Canada Child Benefit, she added.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.