FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government announced today a new Emergency Fuel and Food Benefit to provide financial relief to low income individuals and families, including seniors, confronted with challenges due to the rising cost of living.

“The current economic situation is having a severe impact on New Brunswickers, most particularly low-income individuals, families and seniors,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “It is essential for the provincial government to provide the appropriate relief for those in need.”

The Emergency Fuel and Food Benefit consists of a one-time payment of $225 for low income individuals or $450 for families, including seniors. More than 75,000 people are eligible. The funding will be distributed to existing Social Development clients who are receiving low income or housing benefits.

In addition, the government is contributing an extra $1 million to the food banks through Food Depot Alimentaire, to help them meet the increased demand. This is the second $1 million contribution made to New Brunswick food banks since March.

“The Department of Social Development is pleased to play its role of assisting New Brunswickers in need in this extremely challenging time,” said Social Development Bruce Fitch. “While this is certainly affecting us all, some of the province’s most vulnerable are being impacted significantly. Being able to offer the Emergency Fuel and Food Benefit and extra assistance to food banks ensures we will reach the people who need help immediately.”

These new initiatives are in addition to a number of previously announced measures that will benefit New Brunswickers who are facing increased costs, including:

  • An increase in social assistance rates of 3.8 per cent, which took effect April 1.
  • Increasing the minimum wage by 17 per cent in 2022-23, with a $1per hour increase which took effect April 1 to be followed by a $1 per hour increase on Oct. 1.
  • Increasing the wages of human services sector workers by $2 per hour, mirroring the minimum wage increase.
  • Various reductions in provincial property tax rates.
  • A decrease in out-of-pocket costs for parents of children aged five and under in a designated daycare facility, as of June 1.
  • A one-time rent cap of 3.8 per cent, retroactive to January 2022.
  • Lowering personal income taxes.

Individuals or families who are not currently clients of the Department of Social Development but are struggling with financial challenges, should contact 211 or 1-833-733-7835 to see if they could qualify under other programs, such as the Canada-New Brunswick Housing Benefit. More information is available online.