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BC Government’s Disability Consultations: make your voice heard!

BC’s provincial government recently announced that they will host the Increasing Accessibility for People with Disabilities Consultations, a series of public sessions to hear from communities about the challenges people with disabilities face, in preparation for issuing a “white paper,” a report that will serve as the basis for a provincial summit on the issue later in the year. Please join us in calling on the government for the following measures:

1. Raise PWD benefits to $1200, index it to inflation, and establish a shelter allowance like the seniors SAFER program.

For more information, check out the report “Overdue: The case for increasing the Person with Disabilities (PWD) Benefit in BC” that the BCCPD published in partnership with SPARC BC, Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), Inclusion BC and Canada Mental Health Association (BC Division).

BC’s current disability benefit rate of $906/month (in red on the graph below) is completely inadequate and falls short of all poverty measures, including the most stringent possible. In comparison, Alberta’s PWD rate is now $1588.

2. End the clawback of child support payments from PWD benefits.

Again, we’re partnering with the BCCPD and BC ACORN on this issue, as well as First Call, WestCoast LEAF, and CLAS (see their letter to government). Currently, child support is taken off dollar for dollar from the income assistance benefit. The provincial government is depriving children of their right to child support by taking that money away from children who live in lone-parent families on assistance – some of the most vulnerable children in the province.

3. Commit to a poverty reduction plan for BC as it would include these important measures and much more.

You can make your voice heard by submitting your comments online or by mail, or attend one of the community consultations running until February 26, 2014. Please check this list of dates and venues to find the one closest to you.
BC PWD benefits comparison
Click here for figure source.