Could you live on 610 dollars a month?
That’s the amount people on welfare receive from the government.
In an effort to highlight the inadequacy of welfare rates in the province, people are participating in the Welfare Food Challenge, and participants will try to feed themselves with a budget of just 21 dollars a week.
Jean Swanson is an anti poverty activist with Raise the Rates.
She spoke to Sam Ferris on the weekend show.
Swanson explains how only 21 dollars is left for food.
“We subtracted 450 dollars for rent, 20 dollars for a security deposit because they take that out, 20 dollars a month. I think it was 21 dollars for a book of 10 bus tickets because you have to look for work, then 25 dollars for a phone because you need that to look for work”.
After taking out another 10 dollars for personal hygiene products, Swanson says 21 dollars is what people have to feed themselves a week.
The challenge is to highlight 21 dollars isn’t enough for three good meals a day and to raise welfare rates.
Swanson says it’s difficult.
“It creates a lot of hardship and a lot of stress. People who should be and want to be out looking for work have to be out looking for food. They’re hunting and gathering that goes on and you know binning”.
Swanson says local politicians were invited to participate but only newly minted MP Jenny Kwan agreed.
Swanson is disappointed with government turnout.
The challenge is in its fourth year and starts on November 3rd.
Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world, and BC has the second lowest minimum wage in Canada.