BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. finance committee backs balanced budgets, but calls for social assistance hikes

11/13/2014 07:23 EST | Updated 01/13/2015 05:59 EST
VICTORIA - An all-party legislative committee in B.C. says Christy Clark's Liberal government must remain committed to annual balanced budgets but also fight poverty.

The Finance and Government Services Committee's 58 recommendations include calls for a poverty reduction plan and a review of child-support clawbacks, social assistance rates and the minimum wage.

The report also recommends considering increasing the payments to persons with disabilities to reflect higher costs of living.

The recommendations of the 15-member committee form part of the deliberations the Finance Ministry uses to prepare the government's 2015-2016 budget, which will be tabled in February.

The committee held public hearings in 20 communities, receiving 1,782 submissions.

Penticton Liberal MLA Dan Ashton is the committee chairman, with Victoria-Beacon Hill New Democrat MLA Carole James serving as deputy chairwoman.