Name: Noel Oullette

Occupation: Community Activist

Noёl lives in New Westminster.  He was in a car accident 25 years ago that resulted in a back injury that makes it difficult to work.  He has worked various jobs over the years and held a part-time job last year, but his welfare cheque was reduced dollar for dollar on his earnings.  After rent, he is left with $145 a month for food and bills.  He goes to the food bank and lines up for 2-3 hours a week for food that only lasts about 2-3 days.  He has applied to get on disability, but the process is taking a very long time.

We support raising welfare and disability rates, and making them accessible to those in need. The recent re-introduction of an earnings exemption, which means that people on welfare can keep $200 of what they earn, will make a small difference in allowing people to potentially access $810 per month. However, this amount is still significantly below the poverty line.

“There are no frills on a fixed income, no going to the movies, no spending on anything that isn’t necessary to survive. You have to make every dollar stretch.”