PETITION TO REDUCE POVERTY AND HOMELESSNESS IN MANITOBA
WE PETITION THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA AS FOLLOWS:
We call on the Province of Manitoba to increase the EIA allowances for single adults & for people with disabilities and transform EIA into a Liveable Basic Needs Benefit.
Further, we call on the Province of Manitoba to fully exempt the CERB, CRB and other federal COVID-19 recovery measures from EIA claw backs to ensure EIA benefits are not interrupted or reduced.
THESE ARE THE REASONS FOR THIS PETITION:
There is broad consensus that COVID-19 disproportionately affects people living in poverty as income is a social determinant of health. MPHM is concerned that the Manitoba government is making matters worse by implementing policies that will exacerbate poverty and homelessness, and the spread of COVID-19, as the pandemic surges.
The desperation that led some EIA recipients to apply for the CERB should come as no surprise. EIA rates have been inadequate for too long.
MPHM recommends single adults on EIA receive an increase of $383 per month and people with disabilities an increase of $236 per month to bring their annual incomes to 75% of the poverty line. Thanks to federal benefits, parents on EIA have incomes closer to the poverty line. We also recommend changing the EIA claw back on earned income from 70% to 30% of each dollar earned.
This would reduce the welfare wall and increase the incentive to find employment for those on EIA who are able to find work.
In April 2020, the Province decided to claw back Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) for those who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The same claw back is being applied to CERB’s replacement, the Canada Recovery Benefit. Some CERB recipients were unaware of the claw back and have had their benefits held back or cut. This has left many unable to pay the rent and put food on the table, leaving them at greater risk of homelessness.
Clawing it back serves only to save the Manitoba government money while leaving the most vulnerable at risk.