Let me say from the outset that I may be missing something with the analysis and conclusions I’m making in this short blog.  I watched the live-streamed news conference announcing the PEI Liberal government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and given all the emotion over what sounded like tremendous news, especially Minister Mundy, I hope I’m wrong, and I stand to be corrected.

How can a person not celebrate news  that social assistance recipients will soon be receiving some much-needed increases in their monthly allowances for basic living needs such as food and housing? After all,  food and shelter are basic human rights.

What I’m wondering – and perhaps someone from the poverty reduction advisory council or government can answer this question – is: “Are the increases announced today keeping pace with the increases in the cost of these basic necessities?”

I haven’t crunched all the numbers, but I did take a quick look at the announced increase in the rent allowance (commencing January 1, 2019) of 6%, which, according to the Guardian News Report on the announcement, this is the first social assistance rent increase since 2013. 

My calculations show that IRAC gave Landlords permission to increase rents since by the following percentages January 1, 2013.

Totals Allowable Rent Increasres from IRAC

You can do the calculations yourself from this chart I found on IRAC’s website:

Allowable Rent Increases

So yes, there was some good news this morning for our poorest Islanders  – but should there really have been such an outpouring of emotional joy through choked-up speeches when the 6% increase in rent allowances starting in January, 2019 apparently falls far shy of matching the increases the same Liberal government allowed Landlords during the same 6-year period?