The Province announced a new plan that will help integrate single parents on welfare back into the workforce this week. The new $24.5-million program will cover tuition, daycare, medical and transportation costs as parents train for and start a new job.
Currently, people on income assistance or disability are required to give up government support payments and take out student loans if they wish to take trades training or post-secondary classes. With the new program, the Province will pay for 12 months of tuition if the program is one of B.C.’s 60 ‘in-demand’ occupations, which include: carpentry, welding, office support work, retail, cooking, social work, early childhood education, heavy equipment operation, security, plumbing, marriage counselling and baking.
The program has been praised by service groups and the opposition NDP as a step toward lifting some families out of poverty. Currently there are approximately 16,000 single parent families on income and disability assistance in B.C. Approximately 90 per cent of these parents are female.
Building on this initiative; to further support lower income residents, the provincial government also announced this week a raise to the minimum wage from $10.20 to $10.45, with future increases aligning to the provincial Consumer Price Index.