Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Transit pass a ticket out of welfare

with 5 comments

Jessey Basi

Jessey Basi is a graduate of the master’s degree program in public policy at Simon Fraser University.

The piece he has written describes his research. Which like most social science restates the blindingly obvious. In BC welfare rates are well blow the poverty line. They do not allow anyone enough to find shelter and food. In other words, they cannot afford a transit pass. So all the programs and the requiremnts for welfare recipeints to find work cannot be effective.

If the beneficiary purchases a two-zone round-trip fare to attend a single job interview, that costs $7.50, nearly the entire day’s support allowance. How can anyone manage to live when spending almost 100 per cent of their daily finances on transportation alone?

BC is deliberately ignoring the evidence – and has been for years – that is punitive attitude to welfare recipients is self defeating. The poverty is used as a club to beat the poor – not a system to help people get back opn their feet. The biggest barriers that welfare recipients face to finding a job are not the opportunities, but simple things like daycare and a transit pass. And there are many other places that have abandoned this Victorian attitude and have found more effective and effcient ways of helping people find their place in society again.

This is nothing to do with the transit provider. They should not be expected to deliver social policies. They are simply not equipoped to do that. They have a hard enough job fighting theoir way through the car traffic. This problem should land squarely on the desk of the architect of the problem. Gordon Campbell.

I do not fault Jessey Basi either. But this sort of research should not be necessary. It should have been made redundant by a government willing to acknowledge when its poicies have failed. Yes, you are right Jessey, it DID need to be done. Becuase this is BC. “The Best Place on Earth”. If you are not poor, unemployed, mentally or physically ill or disabled.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

5 Responses

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  1. … or just plain old middle-class. I moved to Toronto last year to start grad school. I would hardly call myself poor. It may be taboo to admit, but my quality of life is noticeably higher here than it was in Vancouver. There are just many more opportunities for those on a budget. Businesses cater to a range of incomes. I am convinced that the poor, the left, and the lower middle classes are better mobilized here than they are in BC. The other difference, though, is that the government listens.

    MD

    June 23, 2008 at 8:43 pm

  2. Basi is right about this being unfair to assistance recipients who have to look for work. I’ve long thought that the ministry should cover transit as part of a job search — and pay for the next month’s bus pass after someone gets a job if they need to use transit to get to work. The ministry already covers former welfare recipients’ MSP premiums for six months — and what’s a $99 bus pass compared to the costs of keeping someone on welfare? It’s a no-brainer.

    Here’s the thing: Don’t blame Gordon Campbell for this situation. Blame the New Democrats, who happily slashed welfare rates, eliminated earnings exemptions and severely tightened the rules in the mid-90s. They made documenting job searches mandatory but never made any attempt to help people cover the cost of a job search aside from the odd ticket to go to job club. The Liberals kept things as they are, but let’s not forget who did the dirty work.

    Ian King

    June 24, 2008 at 12:26 am

  3. “This problem should land squarely on the desk of the architect of the problem. Gordon Campbell.”

    I don’t remember the NDP ever giving away bus passes. This article could’ve been so much more had it avoided the political slate.
    The transit pass idea would be much better in times of hardship though, as it stands right now there is work withing walking distance of anyone living in the lower mainland. A place to drop of your child while doing the interview would be a much better idea and would be applicable in good times and bad. How you could set up that system so it isn’t abused by some would be more of a challenge.

    Joe just Jos

    June 24, 2008 at 11:26 am

  4. I see the problem and it is us! The 90’s NDP government was completely inept, but had a massive arrogance that “they knew better”. The result, they got turfed. But the Campbell Liberals are not only inept, they are dangerous, close to the borderline of evil. They make the 90’s NDP look good.

    The only difference is that the media has ‘gone to sleep’, in the Liberal era, a dangerous thing when our very form of democracy is hanging in the balance.

    Until we have a provincial government that works for the people and not treat the taxpayers as gormless rubes, ready to have their pockets picked, BC will become a morass of the hopeless poor and the get rich quick flim-flam men.

    Malcolm J.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:00 pm

  5. I repeat myself often, but at this stage of the game so to speak,

    Gordon Campbell and his Mafiosa buddies are not going to make

    any changes. Knowing this, and as you know it’s getting worse, now

    people facing developmental issues will be hurt by the changes he made

    without good judgement, taking more and more services away from

    those that need help, it’s a pattern with him and his Mafiosa buddies.

    I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE NOT JUST TO SPEAK OUT ANYMORE, BUT

    TO DEMAND CHANGES AND PETITIONS DON’T WORK.

    WHAT WILL WORK IS A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT WITH PERSONNEL

    THAT UNDERSTAND MENTAL ISSUES, POVERTY ISSUES, DEVELOPMENTAL

    ISSUES, QUALIFIED PERSON WHO UNDERSTAND ILLNESSES, AND ONCE

    MORE POVERTY AND THE NEED FOR ALL WELFARE RATES TO BE INCREASED

    TO REFLECT THE COST OF LIVING WITH THE LAST 12 YEARS, PLUS

    ANNUAL COST OF LIVING INCREASE, TO CHANGE THE IQ IN REGARDS

    TO INTELLIGENCE BACK TO WHAT IT WAS, TO HIRE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

    WHO UNDERSTAND MENTAL ISSUES WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT, NOT

    UNQUALIFIED ADJUDICATORS.

    TO HELP SENIORS AND PWD WITH SERVICES SUCH AS LIGHT HOUSEWORK,

    GROCERY SHOPPING, MEDIDICATION ASSISTANCE IF REQUIRED. TO

    PROVIDE THESE SERVICES THROUGH THE MSP PLAN. THIS IS AFFORDABLE

    IN THIS WEALTHY PROVINCE OF BC.

    IT IS THE PEOPLE THAT COME FIRST, NOT THE OLYMPICS AT 20 MILLION

    DOLLARS.

    ALL PEOPLE IN BC HAVE THE RIGHT TO A GOOD LIFE AND BE PROVIDED

    WITH THE SERVICES NEEDED. THIS GOVERNMENT IS NOT DOING ITS

    JOB.

    THE ONLY THINK THEY HAVE PROVIDED ARE GRAB BARS, AND MORE

    TYPES OF BARS IN SENIOR HOMES.

    THEY GIVE OUT NOT LARGE SUMS HERE AND THERE WHICH MAKES A

    VERY SMALL DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLES LIVES.

    PEOPLE NEED MORE MONEY TO LIVE, THEY ARE ALWAYS RELUCTANT

    TO DO SO.

    WHAT MOTIVATES THEM I WONDER TO ACT THIS WAY TOWARDS PEOPLE

    WHO ARE HURTING FROM NOT ENOUGH FOOD, NOT ENOUGH MONEY

    FOR SHELTER, DISABILITY NEEDS. THEY ARE NOT IN THEIR SHOES

    NOR DO THEY CARE. THEY NEVER DID….PEOPLE ARE NUMBERS….

    IT IS ALL A SHOW!!!

    VOTE FOR ANOTHER GOVERNMENT IT IS THE ONLY WAY THINGS WILL

    CHANGE HERE IN BC. AFTER 9 YEARS OF RESIDENCE I SEE IT

    FOR WHAT IT IS.

    THIS IS FAR FROM BEING THE ONLY COUNTRY IF THE WORLD.

    BC IS BEAUTIFUL, BUT SO IS GREECE, AND ITALY!!!

    Case Cllosed.

    tina lagrotteria

    August 5, 2008 at 9:39 pm


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