Raise the Rates

Inequality Kills 40,000 Canadians a year

Friday, March 31, Raise the Rates is holding a funeral walk, for the 40,000 people killed by government policies that create inequality .

April 1 is 10 years since basic welfare was last raised in BC, frozen at $610 a month . Statistics Canada reports that inequality kills 40,000 Canadians a year. BC has the worst inequality in Canada.

Gather at Carnegie (Main & Hastings) at 10 am on Friday March 31, set off about 10:15 to walk to the welfare office at Main & Powell. There we will have eulogies.

You are welcome to join us.

Report in the Toronto Star on Inequality Kills

I, Daniel Blake

blakeThursday, March 2,
Doors open 7 pm and film starts at 7:30,
The Cultch, 1895 Venables St

Admission by donation, suggested $20 with a reasonable income, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Tickets at the box office on the night.

Raise the Rates, with others, is pleased to have a pre-release showing of Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake.

This is a hard-hitting look at the reality of the British welfare system. After the film, there will be a panel discussion on comparisons with BC’s experience.

Picket Christy Clark’s $1,000 a plate dinner

cclark17poster5 pm, Tuesday,

February 7

1015 Burrard Street, Vancouver


Raise the Rates launches new Campaign – We Can’t Afford Poverty

wcapWe Can’t Afford Poverty is a community art-driven campaign to eradicate poverty from British Columbia, starting with raising social assistance rates.



Poverty Free BC: March and Rally Saturday, March 4

povertyfreebcRaise the Rates has joined the BC Federation of Labour,  the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and many other groups for a Poverty Free BC week of Action from Saturday February 25 to Saturday, March 4.

The week will end with a March and Rally on March 4. Join us!

Why We Still Need Food Banks in BC? Poverty is a Political Decision.

Bill Hopwood | Raise The Rates Coalition | http://www.raisetherates.org
Harold Lavender | Carnegie Community Action Project | www.carnegieaction.org
Joanne Shaw | Anti-Poverty Activist and Writer

were guests on FoodLine Radio on Monday, December 12, 2016.
Foodline is on Mondays 8–9pm on CFRO 100.5 FM Vancouver

Justice Not Charity March and Poor People’s Radio on Fri, Dec 2nd

Join us on Friday, December 2nd!
11 am at Carnegie Commuity Centre or
come to the CBC Building (700 Hamilton) at noon


This will be Raise the Rates’ fifth annual march and Poor People’s Radio show to tell the CBC and the world that we need HIGHER WELFARE RATES, not more charity! For 5 years the CBC has refused to discuss the root cause of so much poverty in BC on its annual Food Bank Day. So once again, Raise the Rates will march up to their event to tell them that we want JUSTICE, NOT CHARITY.

Meet between 11 and 11:15 am outside the Carnegie Community Centre at Main and Hastings, Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories. We will march to the CBC building at 700 Hamilton Street at West Georgia Street to arrive around noon, or feel free to meet us there! A ride will be available if you need it from the Carnegie to the CBC.

Our Poor People’s Radio program outside the CBC will feature music and real-life stories about how horrible it is to have to rely on food banks to survive. There will be some free snacks!

Come on out to let the world know that it’s not okay that 100,000 people in BC are forced to go to food banks to avoid starving! JUSTICE, NOT CHARITY!

Here is the letter from Raise the Rates to the CBC. You can also download a copy.

Anne Penman
700 Hamilton Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2R5

November 15, 2016

Dear Anne Penman,

Raise the Rates notes that this is the 30th year of CBC Food Bank Day. It must be heartening to know that you have helped to feed so many people. But is it not a bit disheartening to know that 34 years after Food Banks were established in BC as a ‘temporary’ measure, the need is growing and shows no sign of ending?

If after 30 years of treatment for an illness it was getting worse rather than better, would you not seek a different treatment? The best that Food Banks can do is give temporary relief from hunger but it does nothing to tackle the underlying causes. In addition, some would argue that concentrating on Food Banks distracts from looking at these root causes and seeking solutions.

Surely this year after 30 years of one approach, the CBC will consider a different approach on Food Bank Day. Yes, raise money for Food Banks, as people are hungry now. But as an integral part of the day’s programs ask the deep questions that good journalism does.

Also, please, can the CBC stop having such a celebratory tone on the day? This quote from Johnny Michel, in 2015 is deeply offensive to people living in poverty, “It is one of the most enjoyable days of the year at CBC Vancouver.” Imagine if you were raising money for victims of a natural disaster such as an earthquake. You would make every effort to raise funds but no one would say that day was “enjoyable”. The funds are not going to deal with a natural disaster far away; they are being raised for an entirely avoidable human-made disaster here at home. The cost of ending poverty in BC is around $4 billion a year while the costs of poverty are around $8 – 9 billion (https://www.policyalternatives.ca/costofpovertybc).

Raise the Rates and friends will be happy to provide speakers during the day to talk about the causes of poverty and the actions to tackle poverty so that we no longer need Food Banks. If we didn’t need Food Banks then the efforts of fund raising could be used to meet unavoidable tragedies. We will be outside the CBC from noon to 1 pm holding our ‘Poor People’s Radio’ to highlight the need for actions to tackle the causes of hunger, to tackle poverty.


Bill Hopwood
Organizer, Raise the Rates
604 738-1653, bill50@vcn.bc.ca