Controversial Quebec welfare bill passes into law
И от днес:A controversial Quebec bill aimed at encouraging people on social assistance to enlist in programs to find a job or get more training has passed into law.
The new rules, introduced by the Couillard government, first-time welfare recipients deemed capable of working but who refuse to enlist in government-run programs to help them find a job or get more training.
If recipients don't comply, they could see their monthly cheque slashed from $623 down to $399.
The Liberal government and Coalition Avenir Québec voted in favour of the bill on Thursday, while the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire voted against it.
Protesters denounce changes to Quebec's welfare program
В заключение:Anti-poverty groups staged a demonstration on Tuesday against changes to Quebec’s welfare program that will require new recipients to participate in employment training.
The program, called Objectif emploi, aims to help people find work by undergoing job training, learning how to find work and developing social skills. The program took affect on April 1.
But anti-poverty groups say the new law will cut up to $224 from their $648 monthly income if they fail to participate in the program after being on welfare for three months.
Cathy Inouye, a community organizer at Project Genesis, said the new law is introducing more reasons to cut welfare cheques, which she said do not cover living expenses to begin with. “The average rent in Montreal is over $700 and welfare is only $648 (monthly),” she said.
Participants who can’t attend training sessions for a few days because of illness (theirs or their child’s), could be penalized and see their welfare cheques cut, Inouye said.
“The people who are the most vulnerable will be hurt,” she said. “The decision (on whether to cut payments) is at the discretion of the agents and that is why we are very nervous. It is not clearly laid out.”
The new law also allows for financial incentives for first-time welfare recipients who sign up for the employment-integration program. The bonus could go as high as $260 a month if newcomers to social assistance take part in an evaluation session and choose a 12-month course. The courses involve: studying to obtain a professional qualification; researching how to find work; or developing social skills for those who are not ready to return to work or study because of various problems, such as drug abuse.
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