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

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read