Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna council advocates for increased provincial social assistance payments

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge tabled the motion, says many people on those payments live below the poverty line

At the request of a Kelowna resident on disability assistance, city council will tender a rare ask to the provincial government.

A motion tabled by Coun. Loyal Wooldridge will see the city send letters to provincial ministries supporting the increase of social assistance payments and that the $300 COVID-19 supplement to those payments is made permanent. The city will send the letters to the ministers of Finance, Social Development & Poverty Reduction, Housing, and Children & Family Development.

Wooldridge drafted the motion after a Kelowna woman who relies on those programs reached out to him, noting the remarkable difference the $300 ‘top up’ made in her life.

With disability and income assistance rates stagnant, Wooldridge says many people on those supplements live below the poverty line.

“Given that the provincial budget is underway, time is really of the essence,” Wooldridge said.

READ MORE: Targeted cash, social supports would be more effective than basic income: UBC panel

While council passed the motion with a 6-3 vote, not all are happy with the approach. Mayor Colin Basran, Coun. Brad Sieben and Coun. Gail Given opposed the motion, and even supporting councillors took note of the unusual process. Many suggested that the proper means for the request would be for residents to contact local MLAs or the ministries involved themselves.

“I’m very concerned we are opening the door to many, many more resolutions coming forward because there are a lot of very worthy causes out there that aren’t the decision of our municipal council,” said Coun. Given, suggesting lobbying higher levels of government should come via the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).

Mayor Basran said he’s unsure that a letter from a single municipality would carry much weight but said he’d support a motion, alongside other municipalities, through a UBCM resolution. Ultimately, Basran voted against the motion, taking issue with making a budgetary ask of the province without knowing what the cost is.

“I really have no idea how I’m supposed to do that,” Basran said. “To say, ‘Hey provincial government, add this to your budget, but, by the way, I have no idea what it costs.’ That, to me, is very concerning.”

Despite his opposition, Mayor Basran will be the one who pens the letters.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsbudgetCity of KelownaDisability

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino’s mayoralty candidates lay out key differences

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Clockwise from top right, chamber executive director Jen Dart moderated a Zoom-based forum last week where Tofino’s mayoralty candidates J.J. Belanger, Andrea McQuade and Dan Law made their pitch to lead their community. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Tofino mayoralty candidates face off at forum

Town to elect new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

A man died in a house fire at the Ahousaht First Nation reserve on Feb. 17, 2021. (BP File Image)
House fire claims life of one man in Ahousaht

Investigation underway as tight-knit community mourns, foul play not suspected

Ucluelet locals Sophia Lounsbury and Charlotte Norman had a blast sliding through the snow at Tugwell Fields during Saturday’s rare winter wonderland on the West Coast. (Andrew Bailey photo)
POLL QUESTION: Did you enjoy the rare snowfall in Tofino-Ucluelet?

The West Coast transformed into a winter wonderland last weekend.

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read