fbpx
Home News America News Legislature hears more complaints about Saskatchewan Income Support

Legislature hears more complaints about Saskatchewan Income Support

The Saskatchewan opposition joined a Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) client Thursday to again call on the provincial government to change the social assistance program and increase its benefit rates.

Frank Francoeur is a father of two who transitioned to SIS from the Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP) last August,

Francouer, who says he went on social assistance after going through a divorce and also suffers from mental health problems, told reporters he has less money to cover basic costs of living at the end of the month on SIS than he did on SAP.

He adds he recently received a notice of eviction at his Regina Housing Authority (RHA) home and says both SIS and RHA practices are to blame.

Read more:

Saskatchewan to raise minimum wage to $13 per hour in October, $15 by 2024

The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, which oversees RHA, typically subsidizes housing for its clients by charging them 30 per cent of their household income.

For clients on welfare, however, this method is not used if that client is receiving more money for shelter through a social assistance program such as SIS or the former SAP program.

In the case of SIS, the Saskatchewan Housing Authority also takes into account “household costs” when setting rent levels.

In the case of Francoeur, who receives a $975 benefit through SIS, this means his rent increased from $761 to $945 when he transitioned from SAP to SIS.

Read more:

A new partnership aims to support those experiencing homelessness in Regina

He says there’s a difference, though, in that SIS clients are expected to pay for utilities out of their shelter benefit whereas SAP provided a specific $40 utilities benefit in addition to the shelter benefit. On top of that, power bills were paid for directly by social services.

While he has $30 left for utilities in his shelter benefit, Francoeur says the power bills for his family can be over $120, forcing him to dip into his $285 basic SIS benefit to cover the cost.

Trending Stories

Passenger with no flying experience lands plane after pilot becomes incapacitated

As inflation surges, Canadians find creative ways to save, cut costs

All things considered, he says that while on SAP he would have $315 a month to spend on other living costs after rent and utilities were paid, he sometimes has less than $200 a month to cover basic living costs on SIS.

He said that, especially when inflation is considered, he often finds himself scraping by.

“I immediately make my rent and electricity payment,” he said.

“My diet is spaghetti and rice. There’s trips to the food bank. Clothing, everything else has to die.”

Read more:

Support for high-needs Saskatchewan Income Support clients increasing

While getting by on SIS has been a struggle, Francoeur said his eviction came because he was never told his rent had to increase by nearly $200 when he transitioned from SAP to SIS.

He said that was revealed to him during an annual rent renewal process in March, and that he was told he’d have to pay the unpaid difference. He said he made an initial payment of $400 on that balance and that he asked if a payment arrangement could be arranged, but that RHA declined.

He said that his rent payment for that month was automatically applied towards those arrears, and that as a result he then defaulted on his next rent payment.

Read more:

Sask. government shoots down opposition paid sick leave bill

Social Services Critic Meara Conway says stories like Francoeur’s are evidence that SIS not only needs higher benefit rates, but that the program needs a distinct utilities benefit on top of the shelter and basic benefits.

“It’s mind-boggling. It’s just cruel,” she said.

“We’re at a point where the rates are just so low that we’re ripping apart the social fabric, like people cannot live on this.”

Social Services Minister Lori Carr was not at the legislature Thursday, but former minister Donna Harpauer fielded reporter questions on the matter.

She defended the SIS program and its rates but declined to comment specifically on Francoeur’s situation.

She said, though, that officials from the government, which oversees the Regina Housing Authority, will meet with Francoeur to discuss his case.

“There’s always clients, I know from being the minister in the past, that have a change in circumstances, and may not understand the change to the program that come forward and that’s why the officials will be meeting with them.”

2:01Support for high-needs Saskatchewan Income Support clients increasing

Support for high-needs Saskatchewan Income Support clients increasing – Nov 12, 2021

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


close






SUBSCRIBE

GET LATEST DAILY NEWS

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

RELATED ARTICLES

Woman charged with trespassing prior to Doug Ford rally at Hamilton airport

Crime By Don Mitchell Global News View image in full screen Premier Doug Ford during an election campaign stop in Hamilton, Ont. on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. THE...

Last-minute deal reached to keep Ucluelet, B.C.’s only clinic open for next 18 months

Residents of the Vancouver Island community of Ucluelet, B.C., will continue to have access to a medical clinic, after an 11th-hour deal.The lease on...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers release receiver due to sexual assault allegation

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers said the move to release wide receiver Jalen Saunders on Wednesday was due to an allegation of sexual assault.In a...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Woman charged with trespassing prior to Doug Ford rally at Hamilton airport

Crime By Don Mitchell Global News View image in full screen Premier Doug Ford during an election campaign stop in Hamilton, Ont. on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. THE...

Last-minute deal reached to keep Ucluelet, B.C.’s only clinic open for next 18 months

Residents of the Vancouver Island community of Ucluelet, B.C., will continue to have access to a medical clinic, after an 11th-hour deal.The lease on...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers release receiver due to sexual assault allegation

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers said the move to release wide receiver Jalen Saunders on Wednesday was due to an allegation of sexual assault.In a...

Edmonton Oilers advance to West Final with OT win over Flames

Connor McDavid scored 5:03 into overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday night.The Oilers win the series...

Recent Comments