The Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier kicked off her quality of life tour in Vernon and Kelowna on Monday (Mar. 2).
Fortier said the goal of the tour was to find communities that might be facing certain difficulties and determine how the government can help those communities’ situations.
After starting off in Vernon, Fortier visited the Society of Hope, which provides affordable rental units in Kelowna, Lake Country, West Kelowna and Peachland. The organization offers family, seniors, and short-term housing in their various locations.
“(The Society of Hope) has a model for affordable housing, and I wanted to learn more about that model,” she said after a tour of the residence’s recreation centre.
She added this is because so far on her tour, the main concerns she’s heard were affordable housing options, healthcare, as well as retirement.
She said since 2015, the government has put in measures over the years to help Canada’s middle class, including middle-class tax cuts, child benefits, and reducing the age of eligibility for seniors to be able to access their pension from 67 to 65. But, she said more must be done.
“What should we be doing as a government to support those families who feel the struggle at the end of every month?”
“I’m here to try to understand what else we should be doing in the future to help with affordability and quality of life.”
Fortier added she can’t speculate what will be in the upcoming budget, but she said the government is focusing on strengthening the middle class, fighting climate change, growing the economy in the current environment, ensuring Canadians’ health and well-being, and continuing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“By focusing on these things, our budget in 2020 should support those needs.”