Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC (COSCO) and The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2012

Groups oppose TransLink’s Plan To Eliminate TaxiSaver Program for HandyDART Users

Vancouver: TransLink’s Board has voted to eliminate the Taxi Saver Program which provides people who are registered HandyDART users a 50% subsidy for taxi rides. While timelines have yet to be finalized it appears that TaxiSaver coupons will not be accepted after June 2013 and that registrants after July 2012 will not be able to purchase them.

The Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC (COSCO) and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) are extremely disappointed that the program is slated to end. “This will definitely have a negative impact on seniors living on low income and frail seniors who use taxi savers,” said Lorraine Logan Vice President of COSCO.

BC Transit’s website explains that TaxiSavers “provide registered handyDART clients with greater convenience for spontaneous travel when HandyDART cannot accommodate their travel needs.” But at a meeting this week, TransLink representatives told COSCO, BCCPD and other stakeholders that it wants to eliminate the program and apply the savings to HandyDART so that it can provide more rides. TransLink said savings can be made because its records show that only 13% of TaxiSaver users ride on HandyDART.

Stakeholders pointed out that the decision does not make financial sense: people who use TaxiSavers pay half their taxi fare. By taking away the subsidy many will only use HandyDART which per ride is a more expensive option than taxis.

Lilo Ljubisic, a totally blind Paralympian said, “TaxiSavers are an essential lifeline that bridge the gap when regular transit and HandyDART can’t provide the support I need. I use TaxiSavers as a last resort as part of a blended approach for my transit needs. Eliminating this program will limit my independence and impact my confidence about getting around because knowing I can call a taxi when I need one makes me feel safe.”

“Many people with disabilities and seniors live in poverty,” said the BCCPD’s Jane Dyson. “We’re concerned that they will have less access to the community and that their quality of life will suffer. We are urging TransLink to re-think this cut.”

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For more information please contact:

Jane Dyson – 604-875-0188

New Help Sheet Available: Help Sheet 4 - The Monthly Nutritional Supplement (MNS)

We have produced a new Help Sheet thanks to the support of the Legal Services Society. Our new Help Sheet is on the Monthly Nutritional Supplement (MNS).

To apply for the MNS, applicants must have the Persons with Disabilities designation (PWD) and be in receipt of PWD income assistance. People who qualify for the MNS may receive up to $205 a month for nutritional items and vitamins or mineral supplements.

The application for the MNS has six questions. Our new Help Sheet reviews the questions and uses examples of applicants with various medical conditions to demonstrate how the questions may be answered.

The Help Sheet is accessible from our website at: http://www.bccpd.bc.ca/hs4.htm.

If you would like hard copies of the Help Sheet, we are happy to mail them to you free of charge. Please contact Val at 604-875-0188, 1-800-663-1278 or at feedback@bccpd.bc.ca to place your order.

Help Sheet funded by the Legal Services Society of BC, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: Homelessness Partnering Strategy and Health Sciences Association of British Columbia

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Summer Student Job at the BCCPD

The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) is seeking a student to join our team and provide administrative support for our office in Vancouver during the summer.

Our mission: For over 30 years, the BCCPD has been a provincial, cross-disability voice in British Columbia. Our mission is to support people with all disabilities to live with dignity, independence and as equal and full participants in society.

Duties and Responsibilities
– Providing administrative support to BCCPD’s different programs
– Assisting with basic case management for our Advocacy Access team
– Filing, data entry, faxing and photocopying
– Front desk reception, assisting staff and volunteers to answer the phones
– Responding to basic inquiries and information referral requests
– Greeting clients and providing excellent client service
– Researching funding opportunities and other initiatives

Desired Skills and Experience
– The applicant must work with people with disabilities in a respectful & inclusive manner
– Excellent verbal and written communication skills
– Strong customer service skills, experience answering a busy phone line is an asset
– Sense of humour, positive attitude and a willingness to learn
– Ability to work independently, to work within a team setting and to take direction
– People with all disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply for this position

This job is funded by the Canada Summer Job Program, applicants must:
– Be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment
– Have been registered as full-time students in the previous academic year and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year
– Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or in possession of refugee status/protection
– Be legally entitled to work in Canada

The salary for this position is $10.25 per hour. This position is 30 hours per week for 12 weeks from June 4, 2012 to August 27, 2012. Office hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm, with some flexibility for the successful candidate’s weekly work schedule. We are a dog-friendly office.  

To apply: Please submit your resume and cover letter via email to Nicole Kiyooka at the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities: nicole@bccpd.bc.ca

Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, May 22nd 2012. No phone calls please.