FREDERICTON (GNB) – Basic social assistance rates in New Brunswick will increase by four per cent on Tuesday, Oct 1. A further increase of three per cent will take effect in April 2014.

"Reducing, preventing and alleviating poverty in New Brunswick is an important focus of our government as we work to rebuild New Brunswick together," said Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé. "Increasing social assistance rates is among the ways we are responding to those experiencing poverty."  

Increasing the basic rate of social assistance is one of several reforms being made to the social assistance system effective Oct. 1. Other reforms include:

●    enhancing the wage exemption policy;
●    adding a new exemption to the Household Income Policy;
●    providing additional supports for families with high shelter costs; and
●    improving assistance for clients with disabilities who live with their parents.

Reforming social assistance is a key part of Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan.

"Implementing the recommendations of the province's poverty reduction plan is a priority of our government," said Dubé. "Reforming the social assistance system, along with our investments in the vision and dental plan for children of low-income families, increasing the disability supplement and the school supplement, show our dedication to enhancing the quality of life of low-income families and those living in poverty."

The Department of Social Development invests more than $238 million in programs and services for social assistance clients, which may include health services, employment training and fuel assistance.