BC Green Party Responses to BCCPD Questions

These questions were sent to the four main parties running in the BC provincial election.

See the Liberal Party responses here.

1. Increase Benefits for PWD:

BC Greens realize that funding for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) has not increased at the same rate as the costs of living (food, shelter, transportation, and clothing) have. In broad, the Green Party of BC advocates increasing the net monthly benefits received by PWDs, and also believes these benefits should be indexed to inflation. Net benefit increases could be achieved, for example, by reducing costs of services rather than increasing payments to recipients. Lacking detailed information on current funding practice and policy, the Green Party of BC cannot commit to the stated recommendation of $1200 per month prior to a detailed review of the provincial budget. The 2013 Green Book policy platform identifies on Page 13 that a Key Goal of the Green Party is “To improve the level of services and supports so people with disabilities can participate actively and productively in our communities, not just deal with their impairments as if those define them as individuals”. The party’s commitments to achieve this outcome include the following:

  • Increase funding to disability benefits, supportive housing and low-cost counselling services
  • Request that the Auditor General review services to persons with disabilities with particular attention to structural barriers
  • Take a partnership approach to developing a strategy supporting people with impairments as full citizens, within a framework that:
o provides a comprehensive continuum of ongoing services (as well as appropriate capital and one-time investments)
o supports inclusion in the social fabric of BC, and
o promotes economic participation in the province
  • Implement an Access and Ability Strategy with a commitment to fund its components. Initial actions must address improvements in accessible transportation, health and support services, and income supports
  • Establish services to ensure fair access to programs:
appoint an Advocate for Persons with Disabilities as an independent officer of the Legislature,
  require an annual report be tabled in the Legislative Assembly, and
 enter into a formal agreement with the federal government to ensure full coverage for those who have some form of fiduciary relationship with the Government of Canada

Further, the Green Party has also included in it Consolidated Policies published in 2012, article 4.3.5, regarding Adequate housing for the mentally and physically disabled and persons with mental health problems (2004-13): Earmark one-half of one per cent of the annual provincial budget to be invested in affordable housing for providing adequate and appropriate housing for British Columbians with disabilities and/or mental health problems.

2. ICBC Accident Benefits

The Green Party of BC believes that ICBC policies can be improved. By adjusting premiums to reflect the actual risks and costs of vehicle use, additional revenues will become available, enabling greater financial assistance to be paid out to people injured in car accidents. The following are extracts from the Green Party’s Consolidated Policies ratified in 2012:

  • The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) should sell insurance in a way that is directly linked to distance driven over a period.
  • ICBC should adjust insurance rates to strongly reflect the differing levels of damage imposed in accidents by different types and masses of vehicles.
  • These ICBC policies also apply to all private auto insurers within BC.

The Green Party of BC advocates strongly for the benefits of home care. From the 2012 Consolidated Policies, the Green Party of BC would:

  • Increase Home Care and Home Support and expand Long-Term, Palliative, and Convalescent Community-based Care Centres.
  • Allocate more than 10% of the healthcare budget to home care, including visiting nurses, dieticians, homemakers, and occupational and recreational therapists.

3. Woodlands School Survivors

The Green Party of BC has not articulated a clear position on the question of compensation being denied for events that occurred prior to August 1 1974 at the Woodlands School. In general, the Green Party believes that all people are entitled to fair compensation for harm suffered in public institutions, regardless of when the events which caused harm took place. We do not have enough information on the ruling to make a concise statement at this time.

4. Equipment and Assistive Technology Initiative (EATI)

The Green Party of BC would promote legislation that enables PWDs to obtain or return to work as quickly and productively as possible. The GPBC’s Consolidated Policies 2012 indicate the party will adopt “A partnership approach to developing the details of a strategy which supports Persons With Disabilities to be full citizens, within a framework that provides a comprehensive continuum of ongoing services, as well as appropriate capital and one-time investments”. In particular, the Green Party:

  • Supports their inclusion in the social fabric of BC.
  • Promotes their full economic participation in the province.

The Green Party also supports:

  • The implementation of an Access and Ability Strategy, with a commitment to fully fund its components.
  • Initial actions must address improvements in accessible transportation, health and assistive services, and income supports. 

5. New Guide and Assistance Dog Legislation

The Green Party of BC supports legislation that enables Persons With Disabilities to live their lives as independently as possible. Guide dogs, being vital companions for people with severe visual impairments, enable independence. The Green Party of BC is prepared to review and contribute to legislation that supports protects access rights to people with visual disabilities dependent on guide dogs for accessibility.

6. Poverty Reduction Plan

The Green Party of BC has developed a comprehensive set of policies to identify and remedy the root causes of poverty in society, rather than merely treat the symptoms of poverty. We beleive that the growing disparity between the rich and the poor presents a serious threat to the fabric of our society. As outlined on page 15 of the Green Book 2013, BC Greens will promote and support legislation to:

  • Unify all current income support programs into one comprehensive Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI)
  • Protect children by securing universal, safe, and affordable childcare
  • Create tax benefits for companies that provide on-site childcare, flex-hours, and job sharing
  • Reinstate and improve funding for women’s emergency shelters and transition houses
  • Provide employment assistance for individuals, businesses and community organizations
  • Modernize services for people with disabilities based on a social model of ability rather than a medical model

Recognizing that disabilities and poverty are so tightly coupled, the Green Party states in its Consolidated Policies 2012 that it will:

  • Initiate policies and increase spending on education and programs to reduce the root causes of health problems: poverty, environmental degradation and unhealthy lifestyles.
  • Adopt a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy that will include low-cost housing and increased employment opportunities.