Social assistance evaluation underway

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By The Canadian Press 

Nova Scotia's community services minister says she plans to transform the way social assistance is handed out.

Joanne Bernard says the existing system is "paternalistic'' and does not address the root causes of poverty.

Bernard says a department-wide evaluation of all programs is underway.

She says it includes a review of guidelines that tell income assistance recipients how much they should spend on items, including shelter, electricity, child care and bus passes.

Bernard says she has an intimate understanding of the system, having lived on social assistance for nine years in the 1990s.

As a single mother, she says she relied on the system when she went back to school, where she earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in political science.

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