MLA Accepts Challenge to Live on Welfare for a Month

Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar has accepted a challenge issued to all MLAs to try living on $610 a month, the welfare rate for a single person in BC. Organized by the Raise the Rates coalition, the MLA will live on welfare for the month of January, spending half of his time in Surrey and the other half inVancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The goal of Raise the Rates is to educate the public and legislators about the inadequacy of welfare rates. The coalition is asking for the following policy changes:

  • Increase income assistance rates to the Market Basket Measure ($1300 a month for a single person inVancouver) and index them to inflation.
  • Remove the arbitrary barriers that keep people in need from receiving income assistance, including the 2-year independence test, the 3-week work search, and restrictions based on citizenship status.
  • Increase the minimum wage to $12/hour and index it to inflation.
  • Build at least 2000 units of affordable non-market housing per year in addition to supportive housing, assisted living units and shelter beds.
  • Increase the tax rate on people who earn over $250,000 a year and reverse the tax cuts to corporations.

Read media coverage and follow the MLA’s time on welfare at

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