Tag: Yvonne

Working Together to Improve Client Services

first_imgNova Scotia’s two-year old Employment Support and IncomeAssistance Act has improved services for people in need, saidCommunity Services Minister David Morse in response to aCommunity Advocates Network report on the act released today,Dec. 16. “We are always interested in receiving feedback on our programs,”said Mr. Morse. “We meet regularly with advocacy groups andorganizations to discuss ways to strengthen programs and improveservices to Nova Scotians. We are also conducting our own reviewof the Employment Support and Income Assistance program to ensurethat it best reflects the needs of our clients.” Introduced in August 2001, the Employment Support and IncomeAssistance Act was the first change to social assistancelegislation in 30 years. One of the distinctions of the new act was an emphasis onemployability. A critical component of the program, employmentsupports move people toward employment and ultimately break thecycle of poverty. “We are investing more in people,” said Mr. Morse. “In additionto providing support for those in need, we are focused on helpingpeople become self-sufficient through the longer term goal ofemployment and an enhanced quality of life.” Following an initial review of the report, Mr. Morse said he waspleased to see that there were some positive comments about thework of the department and recognition of some of the challenges. The report makes recommendations in four key areas: incomeassistance, employment supports, client service and inclusion.Mr. Morse said the Department of Community Services has alreadytaken a number of actions in these areas based on ongoingconsultation with clients, staff and advocates. Those initiatives include: Client Service A comprehensive client handbook on the Employment Support and Income Assistance program is being developed in consultation with clients, staff and community agencies like Community Advocates Network. This plain-language handbook is designed to provide clients with a clear understanding of all supports available. Other initiatives include provincewide training for staff and a review of policies and procedures to ensure that they are being applied consistently. At the same time the new act was introduced, the province alsoended the clawback of the National Child Benefit. This benefitrepresents up to $256 per month — or more than $3,000 per year — for each child and is available to low-income families whetheror not they are receiving income assistance. Inclusion The Department of Community Services is sensitive to issues related to exclusion and provides mandatory diversity training and optional anti-oppressive training to all staff. The department has also embarked on an inclusion initiative in consultation with more than 100 community agencies to develop policies that recognize the range of social and economic barriers faced by our clients. “These are just some of the actions we’re already taking toaddress the issues raised in this report,” said Mr. Morse. “Welook forward to meeting with the members of Community AdvocatesNetwork in the new year to discuss the recommendations in moredetail.” Employment Supports A major goal of the Employment Support and Income Assistance program is to support people in their efforts to become self- sufficient. Staff work one-on-one with clients to develop individualized plans to help them become employed or acquire the skills and training they need to become employable. For example, support is available for up to two years at a community college or other recognized program. Once a person is able to work, they become eligible for assistance with travel expenses, child-care expenses (up to $400 per month) and extended Pharmacare coverage, and they are able to keep a portion of their earnings. These types of supports make it feasible for single parents to participate in employment. Income Assistance Rates became standardized across the province in 2001. The new basic rates provide for shelter and a personal allowance. Special needs funding is also available for prescription medication, transportation and other required items. As a result of the new act, Nova Scotia’s basic rates for income assistance compare favourably with those of other Atlantic Provinces. last_img read more

From Dakar King Mohammed VI Answers Mauritanias Diplomatic Provocation

Washington D.C.- At the end of the day, King Mohammed VI chose the right time and the right place to answer Mauritania’s diplomatic provocation. In delivering a speech from the Senegalese capital, where he is celebrating Morocco’s 41st anniversary of the liberation of the Western Sahara, the Monarch is sending a strong message of displeasure to Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.The Monarch decision to speak from Dakar is a strong indication of underlying disagreements between Rabat and Nouakchott over Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz chummy relations with the Polisario separatist movement and Mauritania’s adherence to the Algerian agenda in Africa.Mauritania’s’ unfriendly and sometime hostile acts toward Morocco in the Western Sahara conflict have exacerbated regional conflict in North Africa pushing the region close to a war. Nouakchott hosting of high-ranking Polisario leaders and the close relations between the ruling party and the Polisario leadership have undermined Mauritania’s “positive neutrality”. King Mohammed VI choice of location will likely add more strains in the relations between the two capitals. After years of Mauritanian provocations, Rabat needs a more assertive posture to counter President Ould Abdel Aziz aggravations.Senegal, Morocco strongest African ally next to Gabon, has been advocating for the return of the Kingdom to the African Union. It is a staging point for Moroccan business ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa and a hub for Moroccan religious and cultural activities in the continent. It is a natural stop for the Monarch in any African visit.Nonetheless, the fact that relations between Senegal and Mauritania have been deteriorating lately over economic and administrative disagreements may add to Nouakchott’s mistrust of Morocco’s “grand plan” in the region.Then again, after repeated provocations, Moroccan officials cannot help but view Mauritania as ostensibly on the side of their archrival Algeria. It has been evident from the high-level visits and exchanges between the Polisario and emissaries of Ould Abdel Aziz that the Islamic Republic is supporting elements hostile to the Kingdom.If the Western Sahara conflict has been a source of contention, Mauritania’s suspicion of the Kingdom’s intention in the region remains the true motivator in Nouakchott unsympathetic postures.Some Mauritanian analysts view the shift in their country’s foreign policy as a reaction to King Mohammed VI repeated snubbing of their President. Several officials have complained that the Moroccan King, who enjoys visiting African countries and believe in South-South cooperation, has never put a foot in their country.Since its independence, Mauritania has tried to keep balanced diplomatic and military relations with its bigger neighbors Morocco and Algeria. However, as the conflict continues in the Western Sahara and Rabat and Algiers remain deadlocked, the role of Nouakchott becomes more important. This fact is not lost on President Ould Abdel Aziz who continues to play regional powers against each other.President Ould Abdel Aziz   obsession with the so-called Dakar-Rabat-Paris axis’s efforts to destabilize his government is pushing the region toward more instability. Rabat disillusioned with his neighbors double game is not attempting to destabilize Mauritania, it is simply looking to rebalance its African foreign policy.American and French officials wish to see Mauritania maintaining close ties to Morocco in order to deal with its security concerns particularly in confronting terror groups active in Mali, not far from its borders, which has been recently attacked. However, President Ould Abdel Aziz grandiose feelings and disillusion about his nations’ regional role could spell more security and economic problem for his people.Observers in Rabat see the two countries share more common interests than divergences. In fact, an independent Sahrawi entity in the Western Sahara with tribal ties to Mauritanian poses a bigger danger for Nouakchott. Yet for General Ould Abdel Aziz, appeasing Algeria comes before the stability if his nation.The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more