Nunavut MLA says short-term work is causing some to lose income assistance
Mary Killiktee says 2 of her constituents say they are waiting up to 3 months for assistance to be restored
A member of Nunavut’s legislative assembly says some people on income assistance who take a casual job for two to three weeks are in danger of being cut off from their assistance for several months.
Uqqummiut MLA Mary Killiktee told her colleagues in the legislative assembly Tuesday that she has heard from two constituents who are in this boat.
“Their situation is even worse when the job is over,” she said.
Killiktee said she has heard some people who find short-term work or casual employment have to wait up to three months before they can receive income assistance again.
Family Services Minister Margaret Nakashuk said a change in someone’s income can lead to their income assistance being revised.
Income assistance is calculated based on the number of people in a home and certain people’s amounts are not affected even if they’ve had short-term employment.
“Their income has to be reviewed, and if there’s not much change in revenue then the income support generally runs,” she said.
“When the income is over the threshold, their allowance is deducted.”
Nakashuk said income support staff try to help and encourage clients to find work and income support is a “last resort.”
Killiktee said she’s concerned to see people being denied income support despite only working a short-term job to replace someone who went on vacation, for example.
“There are people who get hungry and don’t have anywhere else to turn to,” she said.
The Government of Nunavut’s 2023-24 budget increases the territory’s annual spending on income assistance by $7 million to $52.3 million.
Nakashuk said her department is looking at “all options.”
“We don’t want to see anybody go through that hardship, but we’re looking at making improvements on an ongoing basis,” she said.