Raise the Rates MLA Challenge

Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar has accepted Raise the Rates’ challenge to live on the basic income assistance rate for a single person of $610. He is doing this for the month of January. Mr. Brar will write a daily diary which will be posted on mlaonwelfare.com and there will be regular media coverage.

While his experience differs from most people living on welfare as he is in good health, has adequate clothing and will only live in poverty temporarily he will nonetheless have to endure struggling to make $610 last for one month.

The aim of the challenge is to raise public awareness about BC’s inadequate welfare rates and the income assistance system’s barriers to access. People who need income assistance should not be forced to live in poverty. Raise the Rates hopes to gain public support to encourage the Province to improve the system and raise welfare rates.

In addition to focusing on basis income assistance, Raise the Rates also wants Mr. Brar to hear the experiences of people living on provincial disability benefits. If you are interested in sharing your experience with him about living on disability benefits please come to:

Thursday, Jan 26
Carnegie Centre
401 Main Street, Vancouver
Classroom 2, top floor
10:00am – 12:00pm

 If you would prefer to remain anonymous when you meet Mr. Brar, that’s fine. Raise the Rates will also ensure that any media present will respect your privacy if that is your preference.

If you are going to attend, it would be most helpful if you could let Robin Loxton know by emailing him at povpost.bccpd.bc.ca.


New Year’s Challenge: Group Coaching Program for People Living with HIV

Tired of giving up on your New Year’s resolutions?

Is fear, low energy or lack of motivation preventing you fromSnail achieving goals? If you’re interested in making 2012 different than every other year, consider joining BCCPD’s pilot coaching program.

No, this isn’t another “get rich/successful quick” scheme. It will take commitment and willingness to keep an open mind. We’ll use strategies from positive psychology and narrative/personal storytelling to:

    • challenge assumptions that can limit your options and actions
    • maximize gain by identifying small but powerful actions
    • recognize and access personal strengths and resources
    • realize the potential of re-authoring your personal stories

Weekly sessions will include discussion/exploration of:

    • techniques and research from positive psychology, including happiness, resilience, gratitude, strengths, goal setting and mindfulness
    • life as narrative or story: sharing your short (2 pages maximum) stories on various life themes (Guided Autobiography or GAB). GAB provides new perspectives through the experience of authoring and re-authoring our stories. Stories will be written during the week between sessions.
    • ways to adapt and use these tools while living with chronic illness

Dates & Locations:

Groups are forming now and will run through February and March 2012. They are free for people living with HIV. Each group will meet two hours weekly for six weeks.

Face-to-face groups: held at the BCCPD office in Vancouver and at other locations/organizations by special arrangement. Service providers please contact us to discuss hosting a group.

Teleconference groups: teleconference programs will be offered for participants outside of the Lower Mainland. Contact us for dates & details.


Shelley Hourston is a trained coach with an Appreciative Inquiry/positive psychology focus and a Guided Autobiography Instructor. She is Program Director at the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities’ Wellness & Disability Initiative/AIDS & Disability Action Program. For more information or to register, contact her at wdi@bccpd.bc.ca or phone 604-875-0188 (toll-free 1-877-232-7400). Contact us soon as spaces are limited.



Missing: Violet Puskas

Please take a moment to read the following missing person’s report for Violet Puskas:


Violet is a good friend of the BCCPD and we are all very worried about her. Please share this on your social networks and keep an eye out for Violet. If you think you may have seen her, please notify the police.