DABC Community Update: Budget 2019 - Changes Impacting People with Disabilities

February 2019

Dear Community Partner,

BC’s Budget 2019 was released on February 19, and the provincial government has announced that it will be implementing several changes which will impact many British Columbians with disabilities.

Some of the key changes pertaining to people with disabilities and their families are:

  • Provincial disability (PWD and PPMB) and income assistance rates will be increased by $50 per month, effective April 1, 2019
  • A new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit will be introduced in October 2020; it will allocate families living on low incomes with one child up to $1,600 per year, two children up to $2,600 and three children up to $3,400
  • $26 million will be invested in income and disability assistance enhancements to the B.C. Employment Assistance program, with the aim of lessening barriers to supports
  • $6 million per year will be put toward respite services for parents who provide care for children with disabilities. Waitlists will be reduced and the respite benefit will be increased by 10%.

Disability Alliance BC (DABC) is encouraged by these changes and welcomes any increase to disability and income assistance rates, but acknowledges that the increase is insufficient to meet the needs of many British Columbians living on disability and income supports.

DABC looks forward to learning more about the provincial government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, which will be introduced this spring.

To read more about Budget 2019, please read the provincial government’s press release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019FIN0019-000248. The full strategic plan is also available here: http://tinyurl.com/y26euf3r.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact our Advocacy Access Program by phone at 604-872-1278 or 1-800-663-1278 or by email at feedback@disabilityalliancebc.org to talk to an advocate.

 

DABC Media Release: BC Budget 2019

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEBRUARY 19, 2019

FROM DISABILITY ALLIANCE BC

The BC Budget 2019 is good news for people with disabilities.

There’s a lot for people with disabilities to celebrate in the BC 2019 budget announced February 19, says Disability Alliance BC.

DABC’s Executive Director Justina Loh said, “There are some significant changes that tell us the government is on the right track. The $50 raise to disability and regular income assistance rates will make a big difference in our clients’ lives. And the $26 million investment in the BC Employment and Assistance program to remove barriers to disability assistance and social assistance will mean many more people will be able to take advantage of our social safety net.”

Loh said that continued strong investment in public health care is a huge boost to the quality of life for people with disabilities, including funding for health care providers in training, more supports for parents of children with special needs, PharmaCare, elimination of MSP premiums, hospitals, urgent primary care centres, diagnostic services like MRIs, and mental health addiction services.

“We also applaud the government’s considerable investment in affordable housing,” said Loh. DABC is urging a further change: the creation of a portable rental supplement for people with disabilities as an essential plank in the government’s housing and homelessness prevention program. This rental supplement would give people with disabilities a broader range of housing options, including private market rental units.

Other very positive investments improve access to education, training and employment such as the elimination of all interest from student loans effective immediately, improvements to WorkBC employment training programs and additional funding to the Employment Standards Branch to update employment standards.

“We’re proud that BC has now joined other Canadian provinces with this commitment to poverty reduction. We look forward to hearing more details about Minister Simpson’s poverty reduction plan which will be released in March. Bringing people with disabilities out of poverty will require a significant investment and we anticipate seeing some significant changes in the near future,” said Loh.

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For more information, please contact Justina Loh at jloh@disabilityalliancebc.org or call 604-875-0188.