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Welfare rates in Canada the lowest in decades

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Issue: 39 Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada

September 7, 2006

Welfare rates in Canada the lowest in decades

by Hillary Bain Lindsay

The amount of money Canadians on welfare received in 2005 wasis at its lowest point in 19 years, according to a report released by the National Council of Welfare in August.

The two worste provinces are were New Brunswick and Canada's richest province, Alberta, reports the Globe and Mail.

In 1986, a single person on welfare in Alberta received roughly $10,000 a year. By 2005, that amount had dropped to $5,050 per year.

Critics say the Alberta government, which is on track to run 13 straight years of surplus budgets, should be ashamed.

"We've got people sleeping in our parking lots. We've got people sleeping in dumpsters," Edmonton social aid worker Ellie Gibson told the CBC.

Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom quotes the study in his column, asserting that politicians are not the only ones to blame for poverty in Canada:

"Most Canadians would find it impossible to cope with the substantial income losses that welfare households have experienced," the council writes. "Coping is even harder for those who are already at the bottom of the income scale, given their already meagre incomes. Yet there appears to be little concern ...

"Have both governments and the Canadian public turned their backs on the poorest of the poor?"

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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