British Columbia government loosens social assistance rules to ease poverty

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government is implementing a series of changes to its social assistance policies that it says will help break the cycle of poverty.

The new rules start July 1 and will allow welfare recipients to keep their vehicles valued at over $10,000 and increase the asset limit to $5,000 for a single person and up to $10,000 for a couple or family.

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The changes include expanding access to social assistance for people with long-term barriers to employment and allowing those with addictions to get help under that category.

The government says it's also making relocation easier by increasing a supplement for moving in B.C. when recipients are transferring to lower-cost housing or are evicted.

It's also increasing access to nutritional supplements, allowing dietitians, doctors and nurse practitioners to submit documents on behalf of their patients for all supplements, including tube-feeding supplements and infant formula.

The provincial government has committed to help reduce the rate of poverty by 25 per cent and cut child poverty in half over the next five years.

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