Thursday, June 4, 2015


Looking over yesterday's Hansard from Question Period in the House of Assembly it might appear that the Minister of Seniors Wellness and Social Development dodged a fairly straightforward question from the opposition regarding the eligibility of homeless people for income support.

Liberal Tom Osborne had asked the same question last week. The minister answered that he would check with his officials and provide an answer to the House of Assembly at a later date.

The answer did not come, so the Opposition asked again. This time, the minister said he had the answer on paper and would table it - honoring his previous commitment  to report back to the legislature.

It turns out that the note from his officials did not answer the question at all.

Simple question, Simple answer? Why is it so difficult for the government say yes or no? Do people without a fixed address qualify for income support?

It has been my experience, that at least since 1987 or so, that in order to qualify for Income Support folks needed to provide a fixed address. It was always a fundamental part of the process. 

The current application for income assistance, available on-line - states pretty clearly that " All questions MUST be answered by you and your spouse (if applicable) to prevent delays in processing."

It has been my experience that in the case of a disaster like a fire or a flood, displaced people still qualified, but folks who had no fixed address - were out of luck.

What I do not understand, is why what should be a simple, yes, no, or even perhaps, is so difficult to answer.

Surely the minister responsible for delivering Income and Financial Support would know the answer to such a basic question about qualifying for services.

I got the answer fairly quickly by calling the number for completing an application by telephone. 

This is bizarre behavior?  I guess that is why it is called question period not answer period?

No comments: