Letter to Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

November 24, 2015
Email: carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca 
Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs 
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear Ms. Bennett:
On behalf of 18,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in the Atlantic Region, congratulations on your election as Member of Parliament for Toronto-St. Paul’s and on your appointment as Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. 
I’m writing to you today in your capacity as Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.  We represent members, their families and communities that will be affected by the previous federal government’s proposed cuts to social assistance rates for First Nations that are to become effective in April 2016.
The federal government decided to mirror provincial welfare rates.  We both know that social assistance doesn’t work the same way on reserves.  Bands use a portion of that funding to help pay for social housing, utilities and many other important aspects that affect the day-to-day lives in those communities.  
We are hoping that under your leadership and direction that the reform will be put on hold until meaningful consultation has taken place with the Aboriginal community. We look forward to hearing a positive response on this matter.
Jeannie Baldwin
Regional Executive Vice-President, PSAC Atlantic
UPDATE: ”Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq leaders say they are breathing a sigh of relief after hearing that the federal government has halted forthcoming changes to First Nations social assistance rates.  Aboriginal leaders say Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of indigenous and northern affairs, told them Thursday she doesn’t intend to enforce program changes scheduled to occur April 1.”