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Quebec penalize new welfare applicants~CTV
Quebec anti-poverty group upset about plan that could penalize new welfare applicants

Quote:credit to CTV
CTV Montreal 

Published Monday, April 2, 2018 3:36PM EDT 
Last Updated Tuesday, April 3, 2018 2:52PM EDT

A Quebec anti-poverty group is worried about a provincial program that imposes financial penalties on welfare applicants who fail to look for work.

As of April 1, first-time welfare recipients are losing a portion of their monthly allotment if they do not intensively search for work, undergo job training and develop social skills.
Until this month the basic welfare cheque for one person was $648 per month.

Now, people who are eligible will get an extra $165 per month if they undergo training. If they do not, their payment will be cut by $224, to $424 a month.

Serge Petitclerc, a spokesman for a coalition of 30 Quebec organizations, says helping people find work is a good idea but they should not be forced to participate and be threatened with penalties.

He said current welfare payments don't allow people to live comfortably and that cutting payments will just make the situation worse.

Petitclerc said he is concerned about people who legitimately won't be able to participate because they may be illiterate, or have comprehension or mental health issues, or a criminal record.

“People will be left with about a third of what's considered the minimum necessary to cover basic living expenses -- rent, food, clothing and transportation,” said Petitclerc.

He called it ridiculous that the province is imposing the program now when the number of people receiving welfare is at its lowest level in 20 years.
A spokesperson for Employment Minister Francois Blais said before this program existed, people could be on welfare for 25 years without meeting an agent from Emploi-Quebec, but now they can meet someone who can help them come up with a personalized plan to get back into the work force.
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